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Sylvia-PhotoDr. Sylvia W. Crowder retired from 15 years of federal service on June 30, 2013. Immediately prior to retirement, she served as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary and Senior Director of International and Foreign Language Education (IFEL), Office of Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education. In this capacity, she oversaw and managed national and international grant programs and contracts under Title VI and Title VII legislation of the U.S. Higher Education Act of 1965 (as amended) and the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961. The programs and contracts that she administered were designed to strengthen U.S. capacity in international education, international and area studies, and foreign language learning; the programs involved collaborative programs with numerous countries around the world as well as outreach activities to assist students, faculty, K-12 teachers, and other educators throughout the U.S.


Dr. Crowder’s U.S. federal government career also has included work with the Fund for Improvement in Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). With FIPSE, she was Coordinator for the Program for North American Mobility in Higher Education, Coordinator for the U.S.-Brazil Higher Education Consortia Program, and Coordinator of the United States-Russia Program: Improving Research and Educational Activities in Higher Education. She also served on the European Union – U.S. ATLANTIS and Comprehensive Program teams for FIPSE. Dr. Crowder began working with the federal government in January 1999.

Before coming to the federal government, she served for six years as Director of the Private Colleges and Universities Program for the Association of Governing Boards for Universities and Colleges where she led leadership programs for college and university trustees and presidents. She also has served as Executive Director of the National Primary Care Institute where she, in cooperation with faculty and administrators from college and university public health departments, was responsible for the development of a national program for the training of community health care managers and physicians. For fourteen years, Dr. Crowder was program director for several programs at the American Council on Education, including a national collaborative program between the college and business sectors. Her first position of employment was as an instructor in English and French at Towson State University.

Dr. Crowder has served in leadership roles on a variety of boards at U.S. colleges and non-profit management organizations, including the Board of Trustees at Montgomery College, a multi-campus community college in Montgomery County, Maryland, where she served for eleven years - two of which were as Chairwoman of the Board; and, on the Board of Trustees at Olivet College, a four-year private liberal arts institution in Olivet, Michigan. Dr. Crowder served for six years on the Board of Directors of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, where she also was President for two years and Chair of the Grants Committee. She is a member of the 2003 class of Montgomery County Maryland’s Leadership Montgomery.

She holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and Adult Education Policy from the University of Maryland; a Master of Science in French Linguistics from the School of Languages and Linguistics at Georgetown University; and a Bachelor of Arts with a major concentration in French and minor concentration in Russian from Howard University.

She enjoys reading, attending jazz concerts, choral singing, and playing piano, which she studied for 12 years. She served for 11 years as piano accompanist for the Men’s Chorus at Colesville United Methodist Church, Silver Spring, MD and currently serves as occasional church pianist for special services. As retirees, she and her husband, John, joined Encore Creativity for Older Adults in September 2016 where they sing with the Schweinhaut Encore Chorale.

In retirement, she also is taking pipe organ lessons; serves as co-vice president of the Program Committee for the Kensington-Rockville Branch of the American Association of University Women; and secretary of the Staff Pastor Parish Relations Committee of the Colesville United Methodist Church (CUMC).

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About Encore

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Encore is dedicated to providing an excellent and accessible artistic environment for older adults, 55 and over, regardless of experience or ability, who seek arts education and performance opportunities under a professional artist. Encore is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax exempt organization.

All Encore programs are conducted by professional artists who will know how to get the most from their members. So come join the excitement, either as a beginner or at an advanced level. This is an excellent way to learn how to develop or improve your musical abilities, meet new friends, and look forward to an exciting performance schedule.

You’re never too old to try something new—and have the time of your life!

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind." William James (1842 - 1910)