Holly Zanville

Portrait Photo of Holly Zanville

Holly Zanville

Research Professor


805 21st Street NW, Sixth Floor Washington DC 20052

Dr. Holly Zanville joined the GW Institute of Public Policy in January 2021 as a Research Professor and Co-Director of the Program on Skills, Credentials & Workforce Policy. She is also Co-Lead of the national initiative, Credential As You Go; and lead of the prototype Learn & Work Ecosystem Library initiative. She serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the International Council on Badges and Credentials (ICoBC).

Holly is a former strategy director at Lumina Foundation, where she focused on the work-and-learn ecosystem, including the future of work; networks and partnerships; collective action initiatives; and research to increase awareness of and solutions related to workforce-education alignment, credentialing, and quality assurance. In her  near-15 year tenure at Lumina, Holly focused especially on adult students and non-degree, workforce-relevant credentials, leading national initiatives such as Connecting CredentialsCredential Engine, and Credit When It’s Due. She also led research on how industry certifications are embedded in college programs, and was the architect of the Learn-and-Work Ecosystem Guide. Holly has a substantial history of speaking and writing about the meaning and value of credentials beyond high school. Her publications include a book chapter (Credentials for a New era of Work and Learning, Wiley, 2020), and many blogs, interviews, white papers, reports, and research briefs.

Prior to joining Lumina in 2006, Holly served as senior administrator/chief academic officer for the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs in the Oregon University System, state coordinator for Oregon Joint Boards K-20 Redesign Initiative, and director of economic development and regional internship programs for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). She has held academic appointments in teaching, assessment of prior learning, grants management, and higher education policy and practice at colleges and universities in Iowa, Minnesota, Texas, and Oregon.

Holly holds a BA from Lindenwood University (Missouri), MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and PhD from the University of Minnesota.  She received the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development for “bold efforts across the educational spectrum to modernize and optimize the structures, systems, and processes that impact student success.” She has also served on the Board of Directors for the Humane Society for Hamilton County, Indiana.