Verlin and Howard Kruse ’52 Founders Professor
Phone: (979) 458-8030
Dr. Kalena E. Cortes, Verlin and Howard Kruse ’52 Founders Professor in the Department of Public Service and Administration, earned a PhD in economics from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Cortes is the inaugural Director of the Bush School’s Program in Education Policy. She is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in the Economics of Education program, a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), and a Scholar in the Mindset Scholars Network. Most recently, she was named Texas A&M’s 2020 Presidential Impact Fellow and 2021 Chancellor Enhancing Development and Generating Excellence in Scholarship (EDGES) Fellow. Dr. Cortes has also been a visiting scholar at both Stanford and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, the National Bureau of Economic Research, and Princeton University.
Dr. Cortes' research interest is in the area of the economics of education. Her research focuses on issues of equity and access, in particular, identifying educational policies that help disadvantaged students at the PreK-12 and postsecondary levels. She has worked on three key areas: improving academic performance of urban students, increasing access to postsecondary education, and raising educational attainment of immigrant students. Her recent work includes the effects of double-dose algebra and course scheduling policies on student achievement, affirmative action policies in higher education, and the effect of legal status on college enrollment of immigrant youth. Her research has been published in The Review of Economics and Statistics, The Journal of Human Resources, Economics of Education Review, Education Finance and Policy, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and the National Tax Journal.
Dr. Cortes has been involved in a variety of major service activities, both on campus and in her profession. She is currently on the editorial board of the Economics of Education Review journal and is an Associate Editor of AERA Open, and also served on the editorial board of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. She is currently serving on the American Economic Association’s Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economics Profession (CSMGEP). She served a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP) and was a Fellow at the Greater Texas Foundation.
Dr. Cortes has been the recipient of several grants and fellowships. Her research has been funded by Spencer Foundation; American Educational Research Association; Greater Texas Foundation; W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research; National Institutes of Health; the US Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences; and the National Science Foundation.
More information can be found on her professional website kalenacortes.com.