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About Dr. Patterson
History and Accomplishments
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Staff Biographies
FDPRI utilizes a network of consultants and partnerships to expand its overall staff capacity.

Brian K. Bridges, Ph.D.
Brian K. Bridges serves as Vice President, Research and Member Engagement, and leads UNCF's Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute (FDPRI).  In this role Dr. Bridges serves as UNCF's chief research officer, principal editor and contributor for FDPRI's publications and the manager of internal and external projects involving capacity building, evaluation and assessment. 

Immediately prior to joining UNCF, Brian served as Vice Provost for Diversity, Access and Equity at Ohio University.  Brian has also served as the Associate Director for the Center for Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity (CAREE) at the American Council on education (ACE) and held various roles at the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), including Associate Director.  While at NSEE, Brian managed a million-dollar subcontract for the Building Engagement and Attainment of Minority Students (BEAMS) project, a national initiative funded by Lumina Foundation to assist minority-serving institutions' use of NSSE results for institutional improvement.  In addition, he has served on numerous panels and advisory committees on issues related to HBCUs, learning environments at minority-serving institutions and success factors for African American college students at predominately white institutions.

Brian earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Indiana University Bloomington, a Masters in Public Administration from UNC-Charlotte and a Bachelor of Arts from Francis Marion University.

Janet T. Awokoya, Ph.D
Janet T. Awokoya is a Senior Research Associate at the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute at UNCF.  In this role, Dr. Awokoya conducts research on the effectiveness of programs and initiatives at historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions.  She also evaluates UNCF's scholarship and internship programs and researches policy-related issues of relevance to UNCF's mission.

Dr. Awokoya also works as an independent consultant to various school systems and non-profit organizations where she provides training on the migration patterns and adjustment experiences of African and Caribbean immigrants and refugees.

Prior to joining FDPRI, Dr. Awokoya taught at the University of Maryland and spearheaded research symposia and conferences in the College of Education on issues related to teacher professional development and African American and Latino education.  She has written and conducted presentations to national and international audiences on issues of education, immigration, identity and culture among contemporary immigrants and minority populations.  Dr. Awokoya earned both her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction and her Master's degree in International Education at the University of Maryland, College Park.  She earned her Bachelor's degree from Middle Tennessee State University.

David Richards, Ph.D.
David Richards is a Senior Research Associate of the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute at UNCF, where he brings quantitative and methodological skills to bear on the Institute's research program.  Dr. Richards' responsibilities include collecting, analyzing, interpreting and presenting research on historically black colleges and universities and comparable institutions, the academic and educational success and opportunities of African American and other minority student populations, the effectiveness of UNCF programs and interventions and the predictors of these outcomes, in the interest of informing institutional strategies and public policy. 

Dr. Richards earned his B.S. in Psychology at the University of South Florida and both his M.S. and Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Florida, where his social psychological research focused on issues related to stereotyping, prejudice and stigma.  His undergraduate and graduate years of psychological study involved extensive experience conducting research and analyses and he has presented and authored findings in research reports on such topics as intergroup emotions, associative stigma and the links between prejudice and attitudes toward public policy.

Caroline Harper, Ph.D.
Caroline is a Policy Analyst and American Council of Learned Societies Fellow at the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute. Caroline has extensive training and experience in qualitative research methods including ethnography, case studies and content analysis.   She specializes in survey design, data analysis, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping, needs assessment, and qualitative data collection methods including face-to-face interviews, focus groups and community forums.  Caroline has conducted research that explores the intersection of civic engagement, political behavior, race, social inequalities, and public opinion within the context of urban areas.  Prior to joining FDPRI, Caroline has held administrative positions in higher education with responsibilities including classroom instruction, community relations, curriculum development, issues management, student development, and building cultural competence.

Caroline earned her Ph.D. in Political Science with concentrations in urban politics and international relations from Howard University and her M.A. in communication from University of Houston.

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