Faculty Member Denisa Gándara Appointed by President Biden to the National Board for Education Sciences

The College of Education congratulates Denisa Gándara, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, on her appointment by President Biden to the National Board for Education Sciences.

Gándara’s research and expertise is in higher education finance and policy, with a focus on equity in policymaking processes and the effects of policies. She also serves as an associate editor for The Journal of Higher Education and was named a William T. Grant Scholar, one of the most prestigious awards for early-career scientists.

Gándara has been quoted in numerous media outlets including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, Bloomberg Government, Inside Higher Ed, and The Texas Tribune. Her scholarship has been funded by the U.S. Department of Educations’ Institute of Education Sciences, Ford Foundation, William T. Grant Foundation, Spencer Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Kresge Foundation and the American Educational Research Association. 

We sat down with Gándara to learn more about her interest in educational policy, what she hopes to address as a member of the board and what advice she has for students.

How did you first become interested in educational policy?

As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, I have experienced the structural barriers that limit educational opportunities for children in this country, but also the possibilities for educational access and success produced by policies, programs and community support. My research on educational policy is fueled by a desire to understand structural hindrances to educational opportunities and identify effective interventions to ensure everyone has access to quality education.

By being on the National Board for Education Sciences, what key issues do you hope to address? 

By shaping the priorities for educational research supported by the U.S. Department of Education, this advisory role is a tremendous opportunity to bridge science with policy formulation and implementation.  

What advice would you give to students who are interested in this area of education?

Research is both more enjoyable and more meaningful when you pursue issues that matter to you, and find ways to connect your scholarship to policy or practice. 

About the National Board for Education Sciences

The National Board for Education Sciences consists of 15 voting members appointed by the President. The board’s duties include advising the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences and serving as a “board of directors” for the institute by approving or disapproving the Institute’s priorities as proposed by the Director. The board ensures that the priorities of the Institute and the National Education Centers are consistent with the organization’s mission.