As the Vice President for Civic Engagement at the University of Chicago, Derek Douglas leads the University's local, national and international urban development and civic engagement efforts. He 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. He also is Senior Fellow and Lecturer at the University's Harris School of Public Policy.
From 2009 through 2011, Douglas 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 his White House service, Douglas worked as Washington Counsel to New York Governor David A. Paterson and Director of Paterson's Washington, D.C. Office. In this capacity, Douglas acted 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.
Douglas also has 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. Prior to joining the Center, Douglas was a Counsel at O'Melveny & Myers LLP and an Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Douglas serves as a Board Member for the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF); Metropolitan Planning Council; Openlands; Urban Land Institute (ULI); Skills for Chicagoland's Future; University of Chicago Laboratory School; University of Chicago Urban Education Institute Governing Committee; University of Chicago Urban Education Institute Impact Committee and Court Theatre. In addition, Douglas serves as Co-Chair for CASE (Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy), is a Fellow at the Penn Institute on Urban Research and Nonresident Senior Fellow for the Brookings Institute's Metropolitan Policy Program.
Douglas graduated from the University of Michigan with Highest Honors in Economics and from the Yale Law School.