Join our team

Supporting rigorous research and training the next generation of education scholars
Meet our team

The University of Michigan seeks candidates to become active members of the Education Policy Initiative. Our research group brings together a diverse set of scholars focused on the generation and dissemination of high-quality education policy research. The initiative disseminates best practices in education reform to local, state, and national policymakers and trains graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to conduct cutting-edge research in education. We work with education agencies and nonprofits to answer questions about the students, teachers, and families they serve, the problems they seek to address and the effectiveness of their programs.

Training program application process

  • We are not currently taking applications for this program at this time. The application window for this predoctoral fellowship program is typically open during the winter of each year. However, for more information please email edpolicyford@umich.edu. Please contact us with questions about your interest in the program, fit with your current studies, and other opportunities to get involved.

    Admissions

    We are actively seeking doctoral students with diverse backgrounds and life experiences who are interested in answering questions related to education policy using data and quantitative tools. Doctoral students across the social sciences at U-M are welcome to apply. The program seeks to build a community of fellows that honors and learns from the unique experiences and perspectives brought by each of its students, including those from educationally-disadvantaged backgrounds, underrepresented cultural and ethnic groups as well as students with disabilities.

    Eligibility

    Students must be enrolled full-time in a U-M doctoral program in the social sciences. Fellows must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States to receive funding through the training program. Fellows must conduct independent research as well as dissertation research related to education. Renewal of funding in subsequent years is conditional on meeting annual training program requirements.

    Selection Criteria

    The critical criteria for selection is a passion for education policy and an interest in learning the methods of quantitative policy evaluation. Admissions decisions will be based on the candidates' demonstrated interest in the content of the training program, academic performance, and faculty recommendations. Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to attend CIERS to evaluate their personal interest in the training program and, if interested, demonstrate this interest to program staff. While successful candidates generally have a basic familiarity with statistics and data analysis, prospective fellows need not already be experts; the purpose of the fellowship is to train students in these skills. A fellowship committee will review applications and select the fellows.

    Offers of fellowships will typically be made in the spring of candidates' first or second year of doctoral studies. Students typically enter the training program in their second or third year of doctoral studies.

    Benefits

    Fellows supported by the program receive an annual stipend of $34,000, full tuition support, fringe benefits, and a research allowance to support further professional development activities.

    Graduates of the predoctoral fellowship program have gone on to successful careers in academia and other research organizations; some now serve in leadership positions within local and state education agencies.

    Courses

    Required coursework will provide formal training in quantitative methods and contextual knowledge about education policy, institutions and practice. Students will select courses based on their research interests and in consultation with the program director; many courses will satisfy both degree and training program requirements. The sequence of required courses includes:

    Five courses in Quantitative Methods:

    • Two (2) foundational courses in statistics, covering topics up to multiple regression analysis.
    • Three (3) additional courses in advanced quantitative methods.

    Two courses in Causal Inference in Education Policy Research:

    ​This year-long causal inference course sequence introduces students to education research that employs causal methods, and provides institutional, historical and theoretical context for the questions addressed in this research. Each course will focus, not just on identifying average causal effects, but also on determining the mechanisms by which effects were obtained, measuring intervention fidelity, and detecting heterogeneity in treatment effects.
    One course in Education Policy, Institutions or Practice

    Apprenticeships

    Research apprenticeships enable fellows to learn all phases of the research process, gain hands-on experience working with student-level, longitudinal, administrative datasets, develop expertise in coding and statistical analysis, and cultivate their professional skills. Fellows spend at least one year on a project that is conducted in partnership with an education practitioner or policymaker.

    Examples of projects to which fellows may contribute:

    • What is the effect of Boston’s universal pre-kindergarten program on children’s academic and schooling outcomes? How do these effects vary across schools? What are the malleable factors that promote sustained pre-kindergarten impacts?
    • What is the effect of Michigan’s policy to retain third-graders who do not meet reading proficiency standards?
    • Does career and technical education improve a student’s likelihood of graduating from high school, enrolling in postsecondary education, and their labor market outcomes?
    • How does serving as a mentor for preservice teachers affect the performance of Tennessee’s teachers?
    • At what critical points do Michigan’s college students fall off the track to degree completion? What academic and financial stand in the way? How does this vary by higher education institution, student demographics, and socioeconomic status?
    • What are the effects of state scholarship loss for Black students, and how do these effects differ for low- versus high-income students?

    For more information, please email edpolicyford@umich.edu. Please contact us with questions about your interest in the program, fit with your current studies, and other opportunities to get involved.

    We are not currently taking applications for this program at this time. The application window for this postdoctoral fellowship program is typically open during the fall of each year. However, for more information please email edpolicyford@umich.edu. Please contact us with questions about your interest in the program, fit with your current studies, and other opportunities to get involved.

    Admissions

    Full description of position

    EPI seeks candidates interested in deepening their knowledge of rigorous, applied quantitative education policy research for a two-year postdoctoral fellowship. Fellows will be trained to estimate the causal effects of education policies and practices on student outcomes, emphasizing the use of state and district longitudinal data. They will collect, compile and analyze data; design surveys; participate in research planning; write papers; present results at seminars and professional meetings; and supervise research assistants. The fellows will learn how to develop a research partnership with practitioners or public agencies and to communicate results to non-technical audiences, including policymakers. Finally, fellows will also have the opportunity to develop and lead new education research projects.

    Fellows will receive close mentorship from professors Brian Jacob, Kevin Stange, and Christina Weiland, and also have the opportunity to work with cross-disciplinary faculty. Because U-M is home to a dynamic community of researchers, there is ample opportunity for fellows to experience professional development – via participation in seminars and trainings, as well as through exposure to and the opportunity to network with eminent education policy scholars.

    Originally established in 2011, the Postdoctoral Training Program in Quantitative Methods for Education Policy Research at the University of Michigan is supported by grant R305B170015 from the United States Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences.

    Eligibility

    Applicants will have completed their PhD in a relevant social science discipline prior to beginning the fellowship and have academic research experience in public policy, economics, education, quantitative methodology, or other similar fields.

    Application process

    Applications include A) a completed application form; B) 2-3 page statement of interest, CV and writing samples (job market paper or recent publication authored/co-authored by the applicant) need to be attached to the application; C) three confidential letters of recommendation sent directly from references should be emailed to edpolicyford@umich.edu with POSTDOC2022 marked with applicant's LastName_FirstName in the subject field.

    Research projects

    Most of our projects involve working with education partners in evaluations that make use of administrative datasets. Examples of research questions to which fellows may contribute:

    • What is the effect of Boston’s universal pre-kindergarten program on children’s academic and schooling outcomes? How do these effects vary across schools? What are the malleable factors that promote sustained pre-kindergarten impacts?
    • What is the effect of Michigan’s policy to retain third-graders who do not meet reading proficiency standards?
    • Does career and technical education improve a student’s likelihood of graduating from high school, enrolling in postsecondary education, and their labor market outcomes?
    • At what critical points do Michigan’s college students fall off the track to degree completion? What academic and financial hurdles stand in the way? How does this vary by higher education institution, student demographics, and socioeconomic status?

Current employment opportunities

Please visit the Careers page at the University of Michigan for all current job openings.