Department of Education Policy & Leadership


Denisa Gandara

Assistant Professor

Ph.D., University of Georgia
3101 University Blvd Ste. 345
Box 750114
Dallas, TX 75275
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Denisa Gandara is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education and a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia. She is the recipient of the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, the American Educational Research Association's Dissertation Travel Award, and the Zell and Shirley Miller Graduate Fellowship. Denisa was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas. She earned 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.