Afi Y. Wiggins, Ph.D.
Interim Managing Director
Dana Center Role
As the Dana Center interim managing director, Afi oversees the Center’s work, ensuring that our vision and mission continue to be at the heart of all that we do. She establishes long-term strategic goals and priorities in programmatic and partnership development. Afi directs the day-to-day mobilization of the Center’s personnel and programs to achieve the strategic goals.
Afi supervises and supports directors who leads teams enacting the portfolio of projects and activities supported by the Center. In addition, Afi leads the Center’s resource development efforts, including overseeing proposal preparation and serving as the primary contact to prospective funders to sustain the Center’s annual operating budget.
Prior to serving as the interim managing director, Afi was the director of evaluation and research and, most recently, the director of strategy and impact. In her role as the director of strategy and impact, Afi managed the Center’s evaluation initiatives, oversaw resource development, and supported the project management team. As the director of evaluation and research, she led the development of comprehensive and coherent strategies for research and evaluation initiatives. Assessing the quality, efficacy, and impact of the Center’s work, Afi implemented evaluation and research designs that promote equity.
FUNDED RESEARCH | PRESENTATIONS | ASSOCIATIONS | MEMBERSHIPS
Before Joining the Dana Center
As senior research analyst at Texas State University, Afi created and maintained longitudinally linked data sets for use in statistical analyses and developed procedures to validate data integrity. She also collaborated with faculty to develop quantitative research, evaluation, and/or data analyses design and methodology.
Previously, Afi worked for Austin Independent School District, leading research, evaluation, and statistical analyses projects in the areas of college readiness, postsecondary enrollment and persistence, and career and technical education. While at University of Virginia Curry School of Education and University of Virginia Women’s Center, she conducted program evaluations of various aspects of a mentoring program pairing college women with middle school girls. Before that, Afi was a research analyst at Piedmont Virginia Community College, developing surveys and performing data analysis to assess the effectiveness of educational and administrative programs.
In addition, Afi has taught first and third grades, served as an assistant principal, and taught research, evaluation, and statistics at the undergraduate and graduate school levels. She worked in national education policy, serving as a writing group member on the 2011 Council of Chief State School Officers’ Interstate Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Model Core Teaching Standards revision committee. She is an alumna of the Strategic Data Project Institute for Leadership in Analytics (SDP Institute) at Harvard University Center for Education Policy Research.
Ph.D., Research Statistics and Evaluation, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Ed.S., Educational Leadership & Research and Evaluation Methodology, University of Alabama at Birmingham
M.Ed., Educational Administration, University of Montevallo, Alabama
B.S., Early Childhood and Elementary Education, University of Montevallo, Alabama
Current Research and Evaluation Projects
Accelerating Math Pathways Alignment in Central Texas
Accelerating Mathematics Pathways in Deep East Texas
Accelerating Mathematics Pathways in West Texas
Advancing Equity and Student Success in Mathematics Education at the Junior-to-Junior Level
College-Ready Math Initiative for Washington state
Launch Years: Redefining High School and College Readiness in Mathematics
Moving Mathematics Pathways to Normative Practice in Arkansas
Moving Mathematics Pathways to Normative Practice in Missouri
Selected Committee Membership
Catalyst:Ed Higher Education Equity Network (HEEN) member
Advancing Culturally-responsive and Equitable (ACE) Evaluation Network member
Data Collective Advisory Committee for Postsecondary Data Partnership (PDP) with Student Success Initiatives, National Student Clearinghouse
Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) Data Advisory Committee and Knowledge Development Committee
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Catalyst:Ed Equitable Research and Evaluation Expert
Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) Research and Learning Agenda Development Committee
Van Overschelde, J. P., & Wiggins, A. Y. (2019, September). Teacher preparation pathways: Differences in program selection and teacher retention. Action in Teacher Education.
Paulson, E. J., Van Overschelde, J. P., & Wiggins, A. Y. (2018). Policy brief: Accelerated developmental reading and writing coursework and student preparedness for college-level reading-intensive and writing-intensive courses in Texas community colleges. Austin, TX: The University of Texas at Austin Education Research Center.
Deringer, S. A., & Wiggins, A. Y. (2018). Lasting impacts of outdoor orientation programming: A preliminary study using longitudinal data. Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership, 10(2), 139–152.
Van Overschelde, J. P., & Wiggins, A. Y. (2017, June). Planting seeds in fertile soil: Assessing teacher employment environments in Texas. The Journal of the Consortium of State Organizations for Texas Teacher Education: Texas Educator Preparation, 1, 7–20.
Deutsch, N. L., Wiggins, A. Y., Henneberger, A., Lawrence, E. (2012, September). Combining Mentoring with Structured Group Activities: A Potential After-School Context for Fostering Relationships between Girls and Mentors. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 33, 44-
Council of Chief State School Officers. (2011, May). Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Model Core Teaching Standards: A Resource for State Dialogue. Washington, DC: Author.
Teacher preparation pathways: Differences in program selection and teacher retention. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting, Toronto, Canada (April 2019).
Accelerated developmental reading and writing coursework and student preparedness for college-level reading-intensive and writing-intensive courses in Texas community colleges. Paper presented at the AERA annual meeting, New York, NY (April 2018).
American Educational Research Association
American Evaluation Association
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness