Education Fellows

Education Fellows

SIF137 School of Education and Human Development Fellows

Project Manager: Justin Thompson

This award is intended to enhance the recruitment and retention of high-caliber doctoral candidates at the School of Education and Human Development.

BoV Approved: March 2018

Project Dates: 7/09/2018 – 7/08/2022

Total Funding: $2,508,894

Executive Summary

The School of Education and Human Development has tested “small‐bet” innovations to increase research productivity and teaching effectiveness among faculty and graduate students that have contributed to the school’s rise in several influential rankings (e.g., moving from 31st to 18th in US News and World Report Ranking of Graduate Schools of Education; 13th worldwide in the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities). Innovations have enabled the school to increase the number and amount of research awards, even as available federal funding has receded. This SIF award proposes to pilot a school‐wide adoption of five innovations that will further enable the School’s research success and impacts. These innovations include:

  1. Enhanced recruitment of extraordinarily talented doctoral student applicants, including larger funding packages for top candidates in fall, spring and summer terms; 
  2. Career planning assistance for academic and non‐academic job markets;
  3. Grant‐writing instruction for graduate students, especially in pursuit of prestigious fellowships;
  4. Enhanced presence of doctoral students and national research conferences; and
  5. Enhanced mentorship of students.

This five‐pronged approach will allow the School of Education and Human Development to attract the highest‐achieving doctoral students, continue to improve its standing in national and global rankings, and create a best practice for start‐to‐finish support for graduate students. Ultimately, the school’s goal is to make an even greater contribution to the scholarly productivity of the University and its impact of research on large social challenges, using teams of faculty and highly qualified graduate students, which would serve as a model for other schools across Grounds.

Current Status: Completed


The School of Education and Human Development (EHD) conducted a three-year test of doctoral applicant aid elasticity. Tests support the school’s hypotheses: key indicators of program quality such as GRE scores and applicant diversity may be increased by offering competitive financial aid; fewer applicants turned down admission offers due to inadequate financial aid; and time-to-degree decreased as the school provided additional supports to doctoral students. Our success has been enabled, in part, by an enhanced marketing and communications effort. Despite minor adjustments, the project budget was administered mostly as planned. We requested and received a no-cost extension for one additional project year. The Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) investment made by UVA has demonstrated that we can diversify and elevate our applicant pool and student body by offering competitive aid packages.