Increasing College and Career Readiness through Dual Enrollment: Research, Policies, and Effective Practices

Increasing College and Career Readiness through Dual Enrollment: Research, Policies, and Effective Practices
Increasing College and Career Readiness through Dual Enrollment: Research, Policies, and Effective Practices


Policymakers and practitioners continue to seek ways to help more students graduate from high school ready to successfully transition into and complete postsecondary education prepared for careers. Acceleration mechanisms, such as dual enrollment and Early College High Schools, are one strategy that can address these challenges simultaneously and that are demonstrating positive impacts on youth, particularly at-risk student populations.

This forum provided information on different types of dual enrollment programs, what the research says about their effectiveness, and showcased a unique public-private sector Early College High School model, supported by DeVry University, that allows students to earn a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in four years in a field that leads directly into a career and employment. Presenters also discussed the federal and state policies that support or hinder these types of models from expanding.

Presenters included: Lieutenant Governor Case Cagle of Georgia; Scarlett Howery, President, DeVry University Columbus Metro; Melinda Mechur Karp, Senior Research Associate, Community College Research Center, Teachers College; and Irene Munn, Legislative Counsel/Policy Director, Office of Lt. Governor, State of Georgia
Representative of DeVry University Advantage Academy, Columbus, Ohio.

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Sharon Thomas Parrott came to DeVry Inc. in 1982 to establish student financial aid compliance programs. She was appointed Vice President of Government Relations and Student Finance in 1989 and Chief Compliance Officer in 2004. She is responsible for the design, implementation, enforcement, and monitoring of the organization’s comprehensive regulatory compliance programs. In addition, she directs government and community relations as well global communications. In October 2010, Thomas Parrott was appointed President of the DeVry Foundation. The private, not-for-profit organization supports K-12 education initiatives as well as promoting workforce development.

Prior to DeVry, Thomas Parrott worked at the U.S Department of Education where she began her work in the area of student financial aid and later directed national training programs in Washington D.C. Thomas Parrott has also held positions at the Loyola University of Chicago as director of the academic support program and faculty and held administrative positions at Harlan High School in Chicago (her alma mater), Dominican University, Northeastern University and George Williams College in Illinois.

She currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Urban Students Empowered Foundation, a college access and success network; is a member of the Board of Directors of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce; is an informed source on college pricing for The College Board; and is an inaugural member of the 100 Wise Women, a program designed to provide networking and mentoring opportunities for women leaders in Chicago.

Additionally, Thomas Parrott serves the state of Illinois as a member of the P-20 Council, on the steering committee of the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative, and as a member of the National Research Council’s Panel on Quality Improvement in Student Financial Aid Programs. In 2000, Crain’s Chicago Business named Thomas Parrott to the 100 Women Making a Difference in Chicago listing.

Thomas Parrott received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from the University of Illinois and pursued doctoral coursework in higher education policy and leadership. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and daughter.

Scarlett Howery is President at DeVry University’s Columbus Metro.

Ms. Howery joined DeVry University in 2004 as an admissions advisor for the Cleveland South Campus and was promoted to Associate Director in 2006 where she was responsible for Enrollment Management.  She was named Campus Director in 2009. During her tenure Ms. Howery doubled enrollment while placing an emphasis on academic outcomes.

Preceding DeVry, Ms. Howery was a Major Accounts Representative for SBC Yellow Pages.  In addition, her previous experience includes serving as Branch Manager for Enterprise Rent a Car in Ferndale, MI.  Prior to this, Ms. Howery served as Research Assistant for Dr. Cornelius Pratt and credited with co-authoring several research projects in the Journal of Public Relations Research.

Ms. Howery is a member of the Cleveland and Parma chapters of Business Networking and Referrals (BNI) and Black MBA Association.   She serves a Big Sister for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Northeast Ohio. She  graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in Advertising and she earned her MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management.

Melinda Mechur Karp, PhD, is a Senior Research Associate at the Community College Research Center (CCRC), Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research focuses on the transition from high school to college and work, particularly for underserved and disadvantaged students. Dr. Karp is a leading expert on dual enrollment and other credit-based transition programs, support services in the community college, and College 101 courses. Her work has been published in journals such as New Directions for Community Colleges, Community College Review, and the Journal of College Student Retention. Dr. Karp is a frequent presenter at educator- and policy-oriented conferences, and her work has been cited in news outlets around the country. Dr. Karp’s current studies focus on the implementation of College 101 courses and evaluating advising and counseling in the community college.

Dr. Karp holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell University, an MA in Sociology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a PhD in Sociology and Education from Columbia University.

In her role as legislative counsel, Irene Munn serves as the legal advisor to the Lt. Governor, ethics officer, and provides valuable expertise during the legislative session.  As Policy Director she oversees the advocacy of legislation championed by the Lt. Governor and assists with the implementation of the Lt. Governor’s initiatives throughout state agencies.  Her main policy areas are education, healthcare, public safety, and the courts.

Irene has worked for Lt. Governor Cagle for five years and came to the office with 18 years of political and legal experience.  She served as an Assistant District Attorney for Douglas Judicial Circuit, Douglas County Georgia.  In that role she also served as legislative advisor to the Georgia District Attorneys’ Association.  Prior to the completion of law school, she served as Director of Public Affairs for the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association.
Irene is a graduate of the University of Georgia and Georgia State University College of Law.

A successful entrepreneur and respected former State Senator, Casey Cagle made history in 2006 by becoming the first Republican ever elected to Georgia’s second highest office.  In November of 2010, in recognition of his outstanding efforts on behalf of the state his family has called home for seven generations, Georgia voters overwhelmingly re-elected him, returning Lieutenant Governor Cagle to office for another term.

Born and raised in Hall County, Casey is the son of a single mother.   A talented athlete, Casey graduated from Johnson High School and attended Gainesville College and Georgia Southern University.  When a sports injury ended his dreams of playing college football, Casey returned home to Hall County to start his first business venture – a small tuxedo shop.  He later grew to be a leader in the banking and real estate industry in northeast Georgia. His fellow citizens quickly recognized Casey as an able leader they could always trust to do the right thing.  In 1994, at twenty-eight years old, the people of Hall County chose him to be their representative in the Georgia State Senate.  Casey faithfully served the in the Senate for twelve years until his ascension to the Office of Lieutenant Governor in 2006.

As Lieutenant Governor, Casey works tirelessly to ensure all children in Georgia have access to a personalized educational environment suited for their individual talents and needs.  Thanks to his Charter System Initiative, entire school systems can now convert to charter system status and focus their efforts on educating students instead of complying with burdensome mandates.

Additionally, he launched the Georgia College and Career Academy Network, a partnership between local community leaders, school systems, and Georgia’s technical colleges.  The college and career academies provide a relevant and rigorous curriculum aimed at preparing students for a highly skilled, 21st-Century workforce upon graduation.  Thanks to Casey’s leadership, Georgia has 23 college and career academies today with additional academies planned every year.

Casey is frequently honored for his efforts on behalf of the people of Georgia.  Recently, James Magazine named Casey one of the most influential Georgians.  He was one of only four public servants nationwide to receive the 2007 Champion for Charters Award and has been repeatedly recognized by various national and state groups for his support of small businesses.  Lieutenant Governor Cagle also serves as Vice Chairman of the One Georgia Authority, as Vice Chairman of the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission, and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association.  He has also been named a member of the Aspen-Rodell Fellowship for Public Leadership.

Notwithstanding his many accomplishments in private and public life, Casey is most proud to be a husband and a father.  He has been married to Nita, his high school sweetheart, for 24 years and they are the proud parents of three sons- Jared, Grant, and Carter.


Click here to see Sharon Thomas Parrott’s Powerpoint presentation

Click here to see Melinda Mechur Karp’s Powerpoint presentation

Click here to see Scarlett Howery’s Powerpoint presentation

Click here to see Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s/Irene Munn’s Powerpoint presentation


Presenter Information

Sharon Thomas Parrott

Senior Vice President, External Relations

DeVry, Inc.

3005 Highland Parkway

Downers Grove, IL 60515-5799

(630) 515-7700

Melinda Mechur Karp

Senior Research Associate


Box 174, 525 West 120th Street

New York, NY 10027

(212) 678-3091

Scarlett Howery


DeVry University, Columbus

1350 Alum Creek Drive

Columbus, OH 43209-2705

(614) 253-7291

Irene Munn

Policy Director

Office of Lt. Governor, State of Georgia

240 State Capitol

Atlanta, GA 30334

(404) 656-5030

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle

Lieutenant Governor

State of Georgia

240 State Capitol

Atlanta, GA 30334

(404) 656-5030





The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.