Education Policy and Leadership Projects

The SMU Simmons Education Policy & Leadership department conducts research that focuses on policies and systems in education which leads to a direct impact on leaders and policy makers in K12 and Higher Education. These research projects take place in the context of the Dallas community but impact institutions worldwide.


EPL Experts, Dr. Alexandra Pavlakis and Dr. Meredith Richards, along with their postdoctoral fellow Kessa Roberts, sit around a laptop and smile at the content they are viewing.

How Education Policy and Leadership Affects Student Homelessness

EPL Experts: Dr. Alexandra Pavlakis and Dr. Meredith Richards

Dr. Pavlakis and Dr. Richards examine the effects Covid-19, Hurricane Harvey, and student homelessness have on the Houston Independent School District population.

Five "LAW CASES" books sit on a shelf with their spines facing outward.

Legal and Ethical Issues in Education Policy and Leadership

EPL Expert: Dr. Watt Lesley Black, Jr. 

Dr. Black examines First Amendment expression rights of both students and teachers, analyzes Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection, and studies affirmative action and diversity in public schools.
SMU's Dallas Hall has students on the stairs on a blue-skied day.

Examining University Presidents and Their Policies

EPL Experts: Dr. Sondra Barringer and Dr. Michael Harris

Dr. Barringer and Dr. Harris examine presidential turnover and board characteristics to better understand an increased instability of the presidential role and the resulting ramifications.

One Dollar Bill

Narratives Surrounding Student Loan Debt

EPL Expert: Dr. Dominique Baker

Dr. Baker investigates student financial aid and student debt, examining the influence on the ability to foster an inclusive and equitable campus climate.

Blue line graph plotted on generic X and Y axis.

Developing Oral Reading Fluency Assessments

EPL Expert: Dr. Akihito Kamata

Dr. Kamata studies psychometric model development for oral reading fluency (ORF) assessment data.