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Leslie Daugherty, EdD

Head of Design Programs

Dr. Leslie Daugherty is the Lab’s Head of Design Programs. She comes to the Lab after 15 years working in traditional higher education and began her career as an admissions counselor where she served mostly rural student populations.

After transitioning to the Assistant Director of Admissions for Transfer Student Services, she quickly saw a need to create pathways that were easier to understand and navigate for students transitioning from two-year to four-year institutions. This work took her to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where she served as the Transfer Coordinator before making her way to the Lab to co-lead and design the Seamless Transfer Pathways Design Project. 

Since coming to the Lab, Leslie has led multiple projects, including early work with micro-pathways, state ecosystem alignment, and most recently the BRIDGES Rural design project. In her current role, she is able to build upon her passion for co-designing approaches that continue to focus on learner + earner needs by serving as a lead, advisor, and thought partner for all of the Lab’s design projects. 

She also works directly with institutions and practitioners who are interested in implementing human-centered design methodology within their organizations. 

Leslie earned a doctorate in Higher Education Leadership from Maryville University, focusing her research on student perception to reverse transfer initiatives, specifically community college transfer students who left the four-year institution before earning a degree. When she is not reading college catalogs, Leslie enjoys watching her daughters perform in musical theater productions all throughout the St. Louis area.