Assistant Professor of Public Policy

Dr. Hemelt’s fields of interest include education policy, economics of education, labor economics, and program evaluation. His work largely uses quantitative research methods to answer cause and effect questions that have policy implications.

Before joining the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hemelt was an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. During this fellowship, he led the creation of a student-level longitudinal data system capable of tracking students’ progression from kindergarten into college. Such state data systems are rich resources for answering causal questions about the effects of different policies, programs, or other factors on students’ learning, performance, and educational attainment. Prior to his time in Michigan, Hemelt was an Assistant Professor at Cornell College, a selective liberal arts college, where he created an undergraduate program in public policy. Hemelt also worked as a high school teacher in Baltimore before pursuing graduate study.

Prof. Hemelt’s research has appeared in leading journals such as the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and Economics of Education Review.

In one strand of current research, Hemelt is examining the effects of different policies or programs on students’ performance in high school, transition into college, and longer-run college outcomes (e.g., persistence, credit accumulation, and graduation). In a second line of work, he is exploring the impacts of K-12 accountability structures, consequences, and supports on a variety of student outcomes. In the past, Hemelt has studied the impacts of failure to make “adequate yearly progress” (AYP) under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) on subsequent student achievement, the effects of additional learning time on student performance, and the usefulness of college double majors in the labor market.

Hemelt earned his Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). He holds Master’s and undergraduate degrees in Economics and a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish.