The Team


Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail
Founder and Chief Strategy Officer


Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail
President and Chief Executive Officer


Irving Pressley McPhail is founder and chief strategy officer at the McPhail Group LLC. A senior executive in higher education, urban public-school administration, and the nonprofit sector, Dr. McPhail was previously the sixth president and CEO at the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME), founding chancellor at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), president at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, and president at Lemoyne-Owen College. He also served as university provost at Pace University, vice president and dean of academic affairs at Delaware State University, and chief operating officer at the Baltimore City Public Schools.

Under his leadership, NACME was awarded the 2012 Claire Flinger Award for Diversity from ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). CCBC was named one of twelve Vanguard Learning Colleges in the United States and Canada in 2000 by the League for Innovation in the Community College; won the Bellwether Award in the category of Planning, Finance, and Governance in 2000; and was awarded the PBS O'Banion Prize for Leading the Way to Change in Teaching and Learning in 2003. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognized CCBC for its accomplishments and leadership with its Award for Institutional Progress in Student Learning Outcomes in 2006.

Dr. McPhail has held tenured full professorships at Delaware State University, Lemoyne-Owen College, and Pace University and served as an affiliate or visiting professor at the University of Maryland at College Park, the University of Pennsylvania, Morgan State University, and National American University. He is presently professor of practice at the Dr. John E. Roueche Community College Leadership Center at Kansas State University. Working at the nexus of practice, policy, and research in language, literacy, and culture; postsecondary student success; underrepresented minorities in STEM education and careers; and community college leadership, Dr. McPhail is coeditor of Teaching African American Learners to Read: Perspectives and Practices (International Reading Association), coauthor of Success Factors for Minorities in Engineering (Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group), and author of more than fifty journal articles, chapters, monographs, and technical reports.

Raised in Harlem, Dr. McPhail was educated in New York City public schools and is a graduate of the renowned Stuyvesant High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in development sociology at Cornell University and a master's degree in reading at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He earned a doctorate in reading/language arts at the University of Pennsylvania as a National Fellowships Fund Fellow. He was awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters Honoris Causa by the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 2015 and the Doctor of Engineering Honoris Causa by the Polytechnic Institute of New York University in 2010. Dr. McPhail was an American Council on Education Fellow in Academic Administration at Johns Hopkins University, and he completed the Presidents Academy Summer Institute at the American Association of Community Colleges and the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University. He is an Emergenetics Certified Associate.

His many awards include the Polytechnic Medal and the 2014 Vision Award from the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering, the Educator of the Year Award from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (2012), the Ira D. and Rubye Hibler Hall Endowed Heritage Lecture Series Award from Langston University (2008), the Management Recognition Award from the National Community College Council for Research and Planning (2004–2005), the Alumni of Color Achievement Award from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (2004), and the Pioneer Award from the National Council on Black American Affairs of the American Association of Community Colleges (2000).

Dr. McPhail serves on the board of directors of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation, the 50K Coalition Advisory Board, and the University of Michigan School of Engineering Diversity/Equity/Inclusion Advisory Council. He is an at-large member of Cornell Mosaic and founding chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee at the historic Shiloh Baptist Church in Harlem, New York.


Christine Johnson McPhail is president and CEO of the McPhail Group LLC and a nationally recognized thought leader in higher education. She is the founding professor and director of the Community College Leadership Doctoral Program at Morgan State University. Dr. McPhail is the former president of Cypress College in California. She currently serves as a professor of practice at Kansas State University in the John E. Roueche Center for Community College Leadership Development. She is a Certified Associate for Emergenetics International, which helps organizations, ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, achieve desired results including increased efficiency and improved communication through solutions centered on the Emergenetics Profile and tools.

After multiple decades in higher education, Dr. McPhail served as a leadership coach with Achieving the Dream (2004–2018) with a mission to help leaders shape the teaching and learning environment by engaging, aligning, and inspiring people to act. She has developed proven coaching and consulting methodologies and leadership programs that are now used by numerous institutions to help their leaders drive results.

Dr. McPhail is the recipient of the 2018 Diverse Champions Award from Diverse Issues in Higher Education, the 2010 AACC National Leadership Award, and the 2008 League of Innovation's Terry O'Banion Leadership Award. She served on the Advisory Council for the Community College Survey of Student Engagement and the National Center for Postsecondary Research at the Community College Research Center.

She served on the board of directors for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and the Council for the Study of Community Colleges. Dr. McPhail has also served as the affirmative action officer for Division J of the American Education Research Association and on the editorial board for the Community College Journal of Research and Practice.

She is the editor for one of AACC's best-selling publications, Establishing and Sustaining Learning Centered Community Colleges, the coauthor of the best-selling Practical Leadership in Community Colleges with Dr. George Boggs, and the author of Leadership Tune-Up: Twelve Steps to Becoming a More Successful and Innovative Leader. Upcoming publications include Team Leadership in Community Colleges, edited by George R. Boggs and Christine J. McPhail, which will be published in September 2019 (Stylus Publishing), and Transformational Change: Becoming an Equity-Centered Higher Education Institution, edited by Kimberly Beatty and Christine J. McPhail, which is slated for publication in Spring 2020 (Stylus Publishing).

Dr. McPhail's research interests lie in the intersection of three fields of higher education: leadership, governance, and learning.