Professional News

Ron Zimmer honored as a 2023-24 University Research Professor

UK President Eli Capilouto and Prof. Ron Zimmer, Ph.D.
Professor Ron Zimmer, Ph.D.
Professor Ron Zimmer, Ph.D.

UKNow is highlighting the University of Kentucky’s 2023-24 University Research Professors. Established by the Board of Trustees in 1976, the professorship program recognizes excellence across the full spectrum of research at UK and is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research. 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 2, 2023) Professor Ron Zimmer, Ph.D., director of the University of Kentucky Martin School of Public Policy and Administration, is one of 16 University Research Professors for 2023-24. The University Research Professorships honor faculty members who have demonstrated excellence that addresses scientific, social, cultural and economic challenges in our region and around the world.

College leadership develop criteria for excellence within their area of expertise and then nominate faculty who excelled at these criteria. Each University Research Professor receives a one-year award of $10,000. 

“It was really humbling to be recognized with the other research professors doing incredibly important and interesting research. It really makes you realize what an honor this recognition is,” said Zimmer.

Zimmer’s most well-known research examines the impact on student outcomes of school choice policies such as charter schools and voucher programs. 

His research has been funded by an array of foundations, state governments and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). His research findings have been highlighted in major media outlets including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Education Week, ABC News, U.S. News and World Report, and CNN. Currently, Zimmer is co-leading a study funded by the Walton Family Foundation to examine how workforce-aligned educational programs affect economic outcomes, as well as geographic mobility of individuals. Zimmer’s research has allowed him to provide new information for policymakers to develop and refine school choice policies.

Prior to coming to UK, Zimmer was a faculty member at Vanderbilt University and also worked at the RAND Corporation. Zimmer is currently the co-editor of the Journal Policy Analysis and Management and previously was the co-editor of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis and Economics of Education Review. He is currently a board member of both journals.

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.