Derek Douglas joined the University of Chicago in January 2012. As the Vice President for Civic Engagement and External Affairs, he leads the University's local, national, and international urban development and civic engagement efforts. He also spearheads the University's efforts to work in partnership with the surrounding South Side neighborhoods, city, region, nation, and globe to advance urban economic development, enhance the quality of life for residents, and enrich the work of University faculty and students through research, education, and direct engagement.
From 2009 to 2011, Derek served on the White House Domestic Policy Council (DPC) as Special Assistant to President Barack Obama, where he led the DPC's work on urban and metropolitan policy issues. Prior to working in the White House, he served as Washington Counsel to New York Governor David A Paterson and Director of Governor Paterson's Washington DC office. In this capacity, he served as the Governor's chief architect for federal policy and oversaw federal policy development and advocacy on domestic, economic, and urban policy issues for the State of New York.
Derek also served as Associate Director of Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress, where he founded and served as Director of the Economic Mobility Program. Before joining the Center, Douglas was a Counsel at O'Melveny & Myers LLP and an Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Derek graduated from the University of Michigan with Highest Honors in Economics and from the Yale Law School.