The Office of the Secretary
The Office of the Secretary
Dr. Gail O. Mellow has served as President of LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens since 2000. A member of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, LaGuardia is a recognized leader among community colleges for conceptualizing and launching programs and teaching methods that have become pilots for the nation. An expert on the history, development and future of the American community college, Dr. Mellow co- authored Minding the Dream: The Process and Practice of the American Community College (Rowman & Littlefield, 2nd ed. 2014) and has written numerous articles and editorials about higher education in America.
With over 30 years of experience in the field, Dr. Mellow is frequently sought as a commentator on the changing landscape of higher education, strategies for improving the nation’s graduation rate and the important role community colleges play in growing America’s middle class and strengthening the economy. She has been extensively quoted in a range of publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek and The Washington Post and has appeared on national radio and television broadcasts on NPR, MSNBC and PBS.
A community college graduate, Dr. Mellow is ardent in her work to raise the profile of community colleges. Since she joined LaGuardia, the College has gained increasing recognition, named one of the Top Three Large Community Colleges by the Community College Survey of Student Engagement in 2003 and winning numerous awards, including the prestigious 2006 MetLife Foundation Community College Excellence Award for Service to Underserved Students and was awarded a highly competitive First in the World grant by the U.S. Department of Education in 2014. Most recently, Dr. Mellow was presented the 2016 NASPA President’s Award for advancing the quality of student life on campus.
Under Dr. Mellow’s leadership, over $20 million in external funding through grants and contracts is secured each year for workforce development programs and initiatives that support at-risk students. LaGuardia was invited to be the anchor college for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, which provides entrepreneurs and small businesses with education and resources designed to help them grow and thrive. The College has also received numerous federal and foundation grants to help other colleges incorporate student-developed electronic portfolios (e-Portfolio) into their curriculum as tools to assess learning over time. Non- credit programs at LaGuardia, ranging from high school equivalency preparation to English language programs, have both garnered funding support and become national models.
Dr. Mellow is pioneering work in developmental instruction methods as co-creator of Taking College Teaching Seriously. With current support from the Kresge Foundation and initial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this project seeks to increase college completion rates by helping faculty improve their teaching through online collaborative professional development as a way for faculty to both think about what they do in their classrooms and describe it to their colleagues. Dr. Mellow was invited to join President Obama at the 2014 White House College Opportunity Day of Action, where she presented her work to a breakout session on college completion.
Dr. Mellow currently serves on the boards of The American Council on Education, Jobs for the Future, Comprehensive Development, Inc. and Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning. In demand as a speaker both here and abroad, Dr. Mellow has shared her expertise with educators and public officials in several countries, including Chile, Greece, France and China.
Dr. Mellow received an A. A. from Jamestown Community College, a B.A. from SUNY Albany, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from George Washington University.
To learn more about Dr. Mellow, visit: www.laguardia.edu/gailmellow.