Professional News

Martin School professor appointed US Department of Education senior advisor

Rajeev Darolia, Ph.D., the Wendell H. Ford Professor of Public Policy and Economics
Rajeev Darolia, Ph.D., the Wendell H. Ford Professor of Public Policy and Economics

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 16, 2023) — Rajeev Darolia, Ph.D., the Wendell H. Ford Professor of Public Policy and Economics at the University of Kentucky’s Martin School of Public Policy and Administration, has joined the U.S. Department of Education as a senior advisor in the Office of the Chief Economist for one year.

According to the department, the chief economist’s office was created last year to “provide the best-possible analysis and advice to guide real-time policymaking; conduct rigorous research to further key elements of the department’s learning agenda; build a culture of experimentation, including partnerships with leading social science researchers to pilot-test new ways to serve students and borrowers; and serve as a liaison to the research community so that leading researchers’ insights and evidence inform our agenda and we can work together to build the evidence and research base on how best to strengthen education.”

“The appointment reflects Darolia’s growing reputation as one of the country’s leading academic experts on higher education regulation and finance,“ said Ron Zimmer, director of the Martin School. “He has extensive experience evaluating public programs and providing economic analysis of policy solutions.“

Darolia‘s service at the Department of Education follows an appointment as economic advisor for a rule-making committee tasked with reforming federal regulations related to affordability and student loans in 2021.

Darolia is the Martin School’s Wendell H. Ford Professor of Public Policy, and before going on leave, served as the associate director of the UK Center for Poverty Research, and associate dean of UK’s Graduate School. His research focuses on how public policy affects economic mobility and financial security, especially with respect to education policy.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to apply my research expertise to critical education issues facing our country, and I am honored to have the opportunity to serve,” said Darolia.

The Martin School of Public Policy and Administration offers an undergraduate degree in public policy, master’s degrees in public policy, public administration and public financial management, and a doctorate in public policy and administration.  

“Opportunities such as this also bring positive attention to the Martin School and the quality of both our faculty and curriculum,” Zimmer added. “We want our program to be nationally recognized as a leader in highlighting the role that academia can play in analyzing and developing fact-based public policy recommendations."

About the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration
The Martin School is committed to diversity through our classes, programs, and by creating a general culture of inclusiveness, where a wide array of viewpoints and lived experiences are heard and respected. Diversity, equity, and inclusiveness are particularly important for a school of public policy and administration as we must educate future public servants who understand the value of diversity and have the tools to confront inequity in its many forms.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.