Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig

Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Planning, Ph.D.

Cooperative Superintendency Program, Educational Policy & Planning Program, Public School Executive Leadership


Office & Hours

Office: SZB 374D
By appointment

512 475 8586

512 471 5975

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Courses of Instruction
EDA 381P: Quantitative Research Design and Analysis
Investigates the fundamental concepts and principles of quantitative research design and analysis.
EDA381Q: Qualitative Research Design
Provides exposure to the methods, theoretical foundations, and conceptual frameworks utilized in qualitative methods.
EDA f387Q: Introduction to Systems of Human Inquiry
Introduces the range of different epistemological perspectives that are used in the conduct of social science research.
EDA f388E: Education Economics & Finance Policy
Examines the application of economic analysis to PK-12 educational policy.
EDA 388L: School Law & Policy
Considers key federal and state education-related court rulings— particularly those that impact on the functions of school leaders.
EDA 395F/MAS 392: Foundations of Educational Policy
Presents the history of school reform across several eras in the U.S. educational system.
EDA 395: Policy Issues in Research
Designed to assist students’ progress on proposing their dissertations and advance their skills in academic scholarship.
EDA 395M: Critical Policy Analysis
Focuses on the analysis of policy, including both traditional and critical approaches to policy analysis.

Mailing Address
The University of Texas at Austin
Department of Educational Administration
1912 Speedway D5400
Austin, TX 78712-1604
UT Mail Code: D5400

Full Vita
download vita (pdf)


Julian Vasquez Heilig is an award-winning researcher and teacher. He is currently an Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Planning and African and African Diaspora Studies (by courtesy) at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also a Faculty Affiliate of the Center for Mexican American Studies and the Warfield Center for African and African American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Since 2007, he has served as an Associate Director for the University Council of Education Administration (UCEA).

In addition to educational accomplishments, Julian Vasquez Heilig has held a variety of research and practitioner positions in organizations from Boston to Beijing. These experiences have provided formative professional perspectives to bridge research, theory, and practice.

His current research includes quantitatively examining how high-stakes testing and accountability-based reforms and incentive systems impact urban minority students. Additionally, his qualitative work considers the mechanisms by which student achievement and progress occur in relation to specific NCLB-inspired accountability policies in districts and schools for students of different kinds. Julian's research interests also include issues of access, diversity and equity in higher education.

His work has been cited by the New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, Education Week, and other print and electronic media outlets. He has also appeared on local and national radio and TV including PBS, NBCLatino, NPR, and MSNBC.

He obtained his Ph.D. in Education Administration and Policy Analysis and a Masters in Sociology from Stanford University. He also holds a Masters of Higher Education and a Bachelor's of History and Psychology from the University of Michigan.


Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Ph.D. Educational Administration and Policy Analysis, School of Education, 2006

M.A. Sociology, School of Humanities and Sciences, 2004

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

M.A. Education, Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education, 1999

B.A. History and Psychology, College of Literature, Science & Arts, 1997

Representative Publications


Vasquez Heilig, J., Brown, K. & Brown, A. (in press). The illusion of inclusion: Race and standards. Harvard Educational Review.*

Vasquez Heilig, J., Young, M. & Williams, A. (2012). At-risk student averse: Risk management and accountability. Journal of Educational Administration, 50(5).*

Vasquez Heilig, J. (2011). As good as advertised?: Tracking urban student progress through high school in an environment of accountabilityAmerican Secondary Education, 39(3), 17-41.*

Vasquez Heilig, J. (2011). Understanding the interaction between high-stakes graduation tests and English language learnersTeachers College Record, 113(12).*

Vasquez Heilig, J., Cole, H. & Springel, M. (2011). Alternative certification and Teach For America: The search for high quality teachers. Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy, 20(3), 388-412.

Vasquez Heilig, J., Dietz, L. & Volonnino, M. (2011). From Jim Crow to the Top 10% Plan: A historical analysis of Latina/o access to a selective flagship university. Enrollment Management Journal: Student Access, Finance, and Success in Higher Education, 5(3), 83-109.*

Vasquez Heilig, J., Reddick, R., Hamilton, C. & Dietz, L. (2011). Actuating equity?: Historical and contemporary analyses of African American access to selective higher education from Sweatt to the Top 10% LawHarvard Journal of African American Public Policy27(1), 11-27.*

Vasquez Heilig, J., Rodriguez, C., & Somers, P. (2011). Immigrant DREAMs: The Texas 10% admissions plan, ELL student college choice and academic successJournal of Latinos and Education, 10(2), 106-126.*

Vasquez Heilig, J., Williams, A., McNeil, L & Lee, C. (2011). Is choice a panacea? An analysis of black secondary student attrition from KIPP, other private charters and urban districts. Berkeley Review of Education, 2(2), 153-178.*

Vasquez Heilig, J., Cole, H. & Aguilar, A. (2010). From Dewey to No Child Left Behind: The evolution and devolution of public arts educationArts Education Policy Review, 111(4), 136-145.*

Vasquez Heilig, J., Williams, A. & Jez, S. (2010). Inputs and student achievement: An analysis of Latina/o-serving urban elementary schoolsAssociation of Mexican American Educators Journal10(1), 48-58.*

Vasquez Heilig, J. & Darling-Hammond, L. (2008). Accountability Texas-style: The progress and learning of urban minority students in a high-stakes testing contextEducational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. 30(2), 75-110.*


Holme, J. & Vasquez Heilig, J. (in press). High stakes decisions: The legal landscape of gatekeeping exit exams and the implications for schools and leaders. Journal of School Leadership.*

López, F., Vasquez Heilig, J. & Schram, J. (in press).Considering validity in the examination of the relationship between aspects of Culturally Responsive Schooling and American Indian and Alaskan Native reading achievement. American Journal of Education.*

Reddick, R. & Vasquez Heilig, J. (2012). The current and dire state of African American male crime and education in the Central Southwest: Are mentoring constellations a promising strategy? Journal of African American Males in Education, 3(1), 29-46.*

Richards, M., Stroub, K., Vasquez Heilig, J. & Volonnino, M. (2012). Achieving diversity in the Parents Involved era: Evidence for geographic integration plans in metropolitan school districtsBerkeley Journal of African-American Law & Policy, 14(1), 65-94.

Cole, H. & Vasquez Heilig, J. (2011). Developing a school-based youth court: A potential alternative to the school to prison pipeline. Journal of Law and Education4(2) 1-17.

Gururaj, S., Vasquez Heilig, J., & Somers, P. (2010). Graduate student persistence: A meta-analysis of evidence from three decades. Journal of Student Financial Aid, 40(1), 31-46.*

McNeil, L. M., Coppola, E., Radigan, J., & Vasquez Heilig, J. (2008). Avoidable losses: High-stakes accountability and the dropout crisisEducation Policy Analysis Archives, 16(3). Retrieve from http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v16n3/*

Valenzuela, A., Fuller, E., & Vasquez Heilig, J. (2006). The disappearance of high school English language learners from Texas high schoolsWilliams Review, 1(1), 166-200.* 

Darling-Hammond, L., Holtzman, D. J., Gatlin, S. J., & Vasquez Heilig, J. (2005). Does teacher preparation matter? Evidence about teacher certification, Teach for America, and teacher effectiveness. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 13(42). Retrieve from http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v13n42/*

Recent Awards

  • University Council for Educational Administration Jack Culbertson Early Career Award, 2011
  • University of Texas Diversity & Community Engagement Faculty Fellowship, 2011
  • University of Texas John L. Warfield Faculty Teaching Award, 2010
  • University of Texas Co-op Hamilton Award for Best Research Paper, 2009
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Young Researcher, 2007-2008
  • University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, declined, 2006
  • David L. Clark Education Administration and Policy Research Award, 2005
  • Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 2004
  • U.S. Department of Education Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar, declined, 2003
  • Stanford University Andrea Neves Fellowship, 2001-2004
  • American Association of Higher Education Hispanic Caucus Fellowship, 1999
  • University of Michigan Rackham Merit Fellowship, 1997-1998
  • University of Michigan cum laude, 1997
  • National Institutes of Health Fogarty Fellowship, 1996
  • Committee on Institutional Cooperation Fellowship, 1995
  • University of Michigan Scholar Recognition Award, 1993-1997

Current Research Projects and Grants

Vasquez Heilig J. & Holme, J. (in preparation). Nearly 50 Years Post-Jim Crow: Persisting and Expansive School Segregation for African American, Latina/o and ELL students in Texas.

Pazey, B., Vasquez Heilig, J. & Sumbera, M. (in preparation). The More Things Change, The More the Stay the Same: A Comparative Analysis of Urban Special Population Students’ Schooling Experiences in an Environment of Longstanding Accountability.

Vasquez Heilig, J., Khalifa, M., & Tillman, L. (in preparation). Context matters: Post-Colonial theory and nouvea educational policy solutions. Handbook of Urban Education.

Jez, S. & Vasquez Heilig, J. (in preparation). Does money matter?: A study of majority-minority urban schools, financial inputs and student outcomes.

Research Interests and Expertise

Educational Policy, Access and Equity; High-Stakes Testing and Assessment Policies; Minority Issues in Education; Statistical Methods and Applications in Educational Policy Analysis; Sociology of Education; Urban Education.