Dr. Bracken has a Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in American History from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. His undergraduate degree is in Government and International Relations from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.
Dr. Bracken has served on several state commissions including the Colorado Commission on Higher Education which he chaired from 1996-2000, the Colorado Achievement Commission, the Colorado Math, Science and Technology Commission, the Colorado Space Business Roundtable, and the Space Awareness Alliance. Dr. Bracken served on the Boulder Community Hospital Board of Directors from 2001-2010, and as its Chair from 2006-2009. He currently serves on the Imagine! Foundation Board as its Chair, The Community Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Advisory Boards for the CU-Boulder Presidents Leadership Class, the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Global Studies Residential Academic Program and Program on International Affairs.