Dominique Baker recognized with Early Career Award for outstanding research in education policy

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU’s Dominique Baker received the 2021 Early Career Award from the Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP). 


Baker is an assistant professor of education policy in SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.


Each year, AEFP, a non-profit academic and professional organization, gives its Early Career Award to a junior scholar who shows an exemplary early career trajectory and whose research substantially contributes to the field of education finance and policy.


Baker received the award in March at the association’s annual conference. She also received a $1,000 award for the promise and contributions she’s shown to the field.


Baker joined SMU (Southern Methodist University) in 2016. Her research focuses on how education policy affects and shapes the access and success of minoritized students in higher education. She primarily investigates student financial aid, affirmative action and admissions policies, as well as policies that influence the ability to create an inclusive and equitable campus climate.


Baker’s research has been published in a variety of journals, including the American Educational Research Journal, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Journal of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, and Teachers College Record. Her work and expertise have also been highlighted by The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, The Chronicle of Higher Educationand Inside Higher Ed, amongst others.


“I’m delighted to have my work recognized by AEFP,” Baker says. “Education policy has the ability to transform lives, but only if thoughtfully constructed based on evidence that includes the experiences of the folks directly impacted. I look forward to continuing to promote justice by focusing on the ways that policies distribute power and resources.” 


For more on her research, see the following:

Baker, D. J. (2020). “Name and shame:” An effective strategy for college tuition accountability? Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 42(3), 393-416.


Baker, D. J., Skinner, B. T., & Redding, C. H. (2020). Affirmative intervention to reduce stereotype threat bias: Experimental evidence from a community college. Journal of Higher Education, 91(5), 722-754.


Baker, D. J. (2019). Pathways to racial equity in higher education: Modeling the antecedents of state affirmative action bans. American Educational Research Journal, 56(5), 1861-1895.



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About Simmons School of Education & Human Development

The Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at SMU (Southern Methodist University) reflects the University's vision of serving the most important educational needs of our city, region and nation, graduating students for successful careers in a variety of fields and providing educational opportunities beyond traditional degree programs. Recognized as a unique and transformative leader in education research, practice and policy, the School is committed to rigorous, research-driven programs that promote evidence-based, effective practices in education and human development.