Skip to main content

Denise Cumberland, PhD

Senior Researcher, Yum!CGFE
Back to All Faculty/Staff


Dr. Cumberland is a tenured Associate Professor at the University of Louisville in the College of Education and Human Development and has a joint appointment in the College of Business, serving as the research expert of the YUM! Center for Global Franchise Excellence. She co-created the franchise management certificate and has taught franchising courses in the MBA program.

Denise has 20 years of experience in franchising, focused on marketing and the consumer experience both at KFC and LJS/A&W. She also worked for an advertising agency focused on the McDonald’s account. She left the corporate world of franchising to enter academia in 2012, though her research has kept her close to the franchising pulse – she has published extensively in franchising. Her dissertation, which won a prestigious award, was focused on franchise associations and the relationships that can help or hinder a franchise system.


  • PhD (Educational Leadership and Organizational Development ) University of Louisville
  • MA (Speech Communication) University of Maryland
  • BA (Political Science) University of Maryland