Denisa Gándara

Assistant Professor

Denisa Gándara, Assistant Professor

Education Policy and Leadership


Ph.D., University of Georgia


3101 University Blvd Ste. 345
Box 750114
Dallas, TX 75275


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Dr. Denisa Gandara is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education. She earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education at the University of Georgia. Her research agenda broadly explores higher education policy formulation processes and impacts, especially on populations traditionally underserved in higher education. Her work appears in The Journal of Higher EducationResearch in Higher Education, and Review of Higher Education, and she is a co-author of the book Outcomes Based Funding and Race in Higher Education: Can Equity be Bought? Dr. Gándara is the recipient of an AERA Research Grant and a dissertation fellowship from the Ford Foundation and the National Academies of Sciences. 

Recent Publications:

Gándara, D. (2019, Online First). How the Sausage is Made: An Examination of a State Funding Model Design Process. The Journal of Higher Education, 1-30.

Gándara, D. (2019). Does Evidence Matter? An Analysis of Evidence Use in Performance-Funding Policy Design. The Review of Higher Education, 42(3), 991-1022.

Gándara, D. & Ness, E.C. (2019, Online First). Ideological Think Tanks and the Politics of College Affordability in the States. The Journal of Higher Education, 1-27.

Gándara, D. & Hearn, J.C. (2019). College Completion, the Texas Way: An Examination of the Development of College Completion Policy in a Distinctive Political Culture. Teachers College Record, 121(2).

Gándara, D., & Rutherford, A. (2018) Mitigating Unintended Impacts? The Effects of Premiums for Underserved Populations in Performance-Funding Policies for Higher Education. Research in Higher Education, 59(6), 681-703.

Li, A. Y., Gándara, D., & Assalone, A. (2018). Equity or Disparity: Do Performance Funding Policies Disadvantage 2-Year Minority-Serving Institutions? Community College Review, 46(3), 288–315.

Gándara, D., & Toutkoushian, R. K. (2017). Updated Estimates of the Average Financial Return on Master's Degree Programs in the United States. Journal of Education Finance, 43(1), 21-44.

Gándara, D., Rippner, J. A., & Ness, E. C. (2017). Exploring the ‘How’ in Policy Diffusion: National Intermediary Organizations’ Roles in Facilitating the Spread of Performance-Based Funding Policies in the States. The Journal of Higher Education, 88(5), 701-725. 

Jones, T., Jones, S., Elliott, K. C., Owens, L. R., Assalone, A. E., & Gándara, D. (2017). Outcomes Based Funding and Race in Higher Education: Can Equity be Bought? Palgrave Macmillan.