Ed Policy Student Wins Bankard Fellowship to Study Principal Effectiveness


By Leslie M. Booren

Aliza Husain, a rising 5th year in the Ed Policy MPP/Ph.D program, received a $15,000 pre-doctoral fellowship to continue her research on principal effectiveness and how principals affect teacher quality.

Aliza Husain, a doctoral candidate in the Curry School of Education’s education policy doctoral program, has been awarded a $15,000 pre-doctoral fellowship from the Bankard Fund at the University of Virginia.

Husain, Aliza 220(1).jpgThese funds will support Husain during the coming academic year as she continues her dissertation research that focuses on principal effectiveness, specifically how principals affect teacher quality.

“Decades of research have documented that principals are integral to improving student outcomes, especially through the teachers at their schools,” explained Husain. “However, very little work tests these hypotheses using large-scale datasets.”

Working with her mentor Jim Wyckoff, a professor and director of EdPolicyWorks, Husain will be exploring the different pathways through which principals can affect teacher hiring, retention, development and satisfaction, with the goal to improve student outcomes.

“Understanding principal effectiveness at improving teacher quality could help shape policy around principal training and evaluation,” said Husain.

This work will also identify methods to model and evaluate principal quality.

“Evaluating principal quality can help districts and states improve the quality of leadership at their schools through helping principals improve and differentially retaining more effective principals,” explained Husain.

The Bankard Fund for Political Economy was established with gifts by Merrill H. Bankard and his wife, Georgia S. Bankard, to support scholarly enrichment. These grants are used exclusively to support research programs at UVA that will have the greatest possible influence upon the development and continuation of the public policy necessary for a healthy private business system and a healthy national economy.

“We are grateful to the Bankard Fund for supporting Aliza’s research,” said Wyckoff. “This work is novel, leveraging newly available data and will likely have an impact on the field.”


Husain is also an IES pre-doctoral fellow in the Virginia Educational Sciences Training (VEST) program and a researcher at EdPolicyWorks.

EdPolicyWorks is a joint collaboration between the Curry School of Education and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. EdPolicyWorks brings together researchers from across the University of Virginia and the State to focus on important questions of educational policy and implications for the workforce.