Carroll Joynes co-founded the Cultural Policy Center and served as executive director for its first 10 years. He received his doctorate at UChicago in 1981, taught at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York and at New York University, and returned to UChicago as Associate Dean of Humanities in 1994. In addition to establishing the CPC in 1999 and overseeing its development as co-director, he has served on the majority of its research projects, helping produce a comprehensive map of minority participation in Chicago cultural institutions, and contributing to Entering Cultural Communities: Diversity and Change in Nonprofit Arts.
With Norman Bradburn, he is co-principal investigator of Set in Stone, a large-scale study of cultural building in the United States. He also has served as a trustee of several cultural organizations in Chicago.