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Richard Welsh

Professor, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations

Richard O. Welsh is Professor of Education and Public Policy in the Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Dr. Welsh’s research focuses on understanding and transforming inequality in K-12 education, and his scholarship interests include urban education, the economics of education, school discipline, student mobility, the politics of education and research-practice partnerships. He employs a combination of quantitative and mixed methods and leverages frameworks from economics, political science, and sociology to better understand the mechanisms of inequality such as suspensions and the policies, practices, and processes intended to enhance educational equity such as coalitions and their influence in educational policymaking. Professor Welsh’s work has appeared in several journals, including Review of Education ResearchEducational Evaluation and Policy AnalysisEducational Researcher, Education Finance and Policy, Teachers College Record, and Urban Education

Before joining Vanderbilt, Dr. Welsh served as Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at New York University (2019-2022) and an Assistant Professor of Educational Administration and Policy at University of Georgia (2015-2019). He also served as district-wide professor in residence for Clarke County School District. He received his Ph.D. in urban education policy and M.A. in economics from the University of Southern California in 2015 and 2013, respectively. He also holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies and a B.A. in economics from Stanford University.

Research Expertise 

Education Policy
Economics of Education 

Focus Areas 

School discipline
Student mobility
School finance
Research-practice partnerships


Policy analyses 
Longitudinal designs
Mixed methods