Dr. Donnell Butler is the founder and president of Opportunity College. In partnership with public high schools, career pathway programs and innovative universities, Opportunity College is piloting two programs beginning summer 2021 to evaluate an affordable, career-connected, student-centered, online, postsecondary model that seeks to accelerate first-generation, low-income students into purpose-filled lives and upward mobility.
Donnell has over 15 years of research and practice experience in identifying and enhancing individual capabilities and institutional actions that improve college student access and success. Most recently, he co-led the Next Generation Initiative, as the senior associate dean for planning and analysis of student outcomes at Franklin & Marshall College (F&M). He is a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow and member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Before F&M, he directed research and development of background survey questionnaires for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) at Educational Testing Service (ETS). Previously, he served as a joint American Education Research Association (AERA) and ETS postdoctoral fellow working primarily on the NSF-ITEST funded College Ambition Program at Michigan State University, project director in Princeton University’s Office of Population Research for the Ford Foundation-supported Campus Life in America Student Survey, evaluation specialist for the Princeton University Preparatory Program, coordinator of the Goldman Sachs Foundation-supported Opening Doors and Paving the Way Forum for increasing college access and success for talented low-income students, senior policy research analyst at APPRISE Incorporated, senior business advisory services professional at Ernst & Young, and intern with the White House’s Office of Communications Research.
He earned his B.A. in business administration and sociology from F&M and his Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University.