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Paul D. Umbach serves as Professor of Higher Education and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis in the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Human Development at North Carolina State University . He is also a principal at Percontor , a consulting firm that specializes in educational research and training. He teaches classes on finance and higher education, organizational theory and higher education, policy analysis, college faculty, survey methods, and multi-level modeling.

Prior to joining the faculty at NC State, he spent four years as an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of Iowa . Before joining the faculty at Iowa, he served as a research associate with the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research. At the Center, he was a research team member working on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and a project manager of the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE). His professional background includes several years working in institutional research at Tidewater Community College, Old Dominion University, and the University of Maryland. He earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Maryland , College Park.

His research focuses on policies and organizational structures that affect college student access and success and the careers of college faculty. Central to much of his work are issues of equity and diversity. His work applies quantitative methods, and he has extensive survey research experience. In 2007, the Association for the Study of Higher Education awarded him the Promising Scholar/Early Career Achievement Award.

He has twice been a member of both the and the ASHE program committees, and he served as the 2013 AERA Division J conference committee chair. He currently is or has been an editorial board member of Research in Higher Education , the Review of Higher Education , and the Journal of College Student Development . In addition to serving on multiple journal editorial boards, he was the editor-in-chief of New Directions for Institutional Research , and he is currently the Senior Associate Editor of the Journal of Higher Education .