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Denisa Gándara

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
PhD, 2016

Denisa Gándara is assistant professor of higher education at the University of Texas at Austin. She had been at Southern Methodist University in Dallas prior to the move.

Gándara was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas. She earned her bachelor’s degrees (in Philosophy and Spanish) from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was selected as one of 12 Dean’s Distinguished Graduates in the College of Liberal Arts. Prior to pursuing graduate studies, she served as coordinator for the UT Chapter of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, worked for college readiness programs, and interned in the office of a U.S. Congressman and in the Texas Senate Higher Education Committee.

Currently, her research agenda explores state-level higher education policy formulation processes and impacts, especially on populations traditionally underserved in higher education. Her current work on the development of higher education finance policies focuses on: (1) social networks within policy development processes and what they suggest about (under)representation in higher education policymaking and (2) the types, quality, sources, and flows of information acquired and used in policy formulation.

Gándara was awarded the the Zell and Shirley Miller Graduate Fellowship. She also received two prestigious honors while writing her dissertation. She was one of 33 students nationally awarded a 2015 Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, and she was also one of nine students receiving support from a minority dissertation fellowship program of the American Educational Research Association.

The Ford Foundation fellowships are given to individuals who have demonstrated superior academic achievement, are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level, show promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers, and are well prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.

News Featuring Denisa Gándara
Thursday, June 1, 2023 - 11:50am

by Jewel Caruso

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) recently released the book, Volatility in State Spending for Higher Education edited by Jennifer A. Delaney.

Monday, March 20, 2023 - 12:46pm

Graduates of the Louise McBee Institute of Higher Education excel in many different areas of our field. Below are the alumnae that we are aware of who are currently teaching in higher education classrooms across the United States.

Karley Riffe, PhD 2018…

Friday, October 28, 2022 - 2:11pm

by Jewel Caruso

On October 27th, President Joe Biden announced 14 key appointments to the…

Wednesday, September 28, 2022 - 8:42am

by Jewel Caruso

Three McBee Institute graduates and a postdoctoral associate combined forces to research funding trends during the pandemic, Paul Rubin (PhD 2017), Meredith Billings (Postdoc Research and Teaching Associate 2017-2019), Lindsey Hammond (…

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 - 8:53am

by Jewel Caruso

Denisa Gándara (PhD 2016) released her first op-ed in Newsweek amid the large student loan forgiveness debate.

Thursday, April 21, 2022 - 12:07pm

by Larissa Lozano

Denisa Gándara (PhD 2016) and Stijn Daenekindt, (Ghent University), take a unique approach to researching performance-based funding (PBF). While previous research focused narrowly on states that have implemented, their study also…

Wednesday, April 20, 2022 - 2:52pm

A large number of MIHE students, faculty, alumni, and former postdoctoral associates are participating in the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Cultivating Equitable Education Systems for the 21st Century. The…

Thursday, September 9, 2021 - 2:40pm

Denisa Gándara (PhD 2016) joined the University of Texas as an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy.

Monday, May 3, 2021 - 1:42pm

Dr. Denisa Gándara (IHE PhD) has been selected for the William T. Grant Scholar class of 2026. The Scholars Program supports the development of early-career researchers whose work can inform future policy development for US higher education institutions.

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