Dr. James Applegate is a Senior Academic Advisor with Navitas North America. Applegate has spent his career focused on developing policies to increase college access and success particularly for underserved groups. He currently is a visiting professor in the Center for Education Policy at Illinois State University and previously served as the Executive Director for the Illinois Board of Higher Education. In that role, Applegate led a $2 billion higher education enterprise designed to dramatically increase college attainment, improve college affordability and close opportunity gaps in Illinois. He also served as Vice President and head of grant-making for the Lumina Foundation where he developed new approaches to support increased degree production, fairness, and productivity in higher education. He received his doctorate from the University of Illinois. Additionally, he served as President of the National Communication Association, the world’s largest association of communication scholars.