Allison Atteberry and Derek Wu to Join Batten School Faculty


Photos of Allison Atteberry and Derek Wu
Allison Atteberry and Derek Wu will bring their unique portfolios to the Batten School during the 2022-23 academic year. (Graphic by Michelle Tran.)

The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy brings a community of scholars, practitioners and students together to define a new model of public policy and leadership education. Derek Wu and Allison Atteberry will join the faculty for the 2022-23 academic year, bringing their diverse academic interests to Batten’s dynamic research and teaching environment.

Wu received his PhD in 2021 from the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy, an A.B. in 2013 from Princeton University's School of Public and International Affairs, and was named honorable mention for the National Academy of Social Insurance’s 2022 John Heinz Dissertation Award. His research interests lie in labor and public economics, focusing on poverty and inequality, the effects of government programs and the economics of education.

“[Batten has a culture where] we are in service to each other, as well as to the nation and the world more broadly,” Wu said when asked about his start at Batten.

Atteberry’s areas of specialization include teacher labor markets, education policy analysis, summer learning loss and production of social inequality.

“I am excited to join the Batten School,” Atteberry said, “because I look forward to being part of this intellectual community. I'm excited to teach and learn alongside other faculty who think about policy issues day-in and day-out. Like the rest of the Batten faculty, I find it fascinating – and also an important responsibility – to analyze how public agencies' efforts to design policies to systematically improve the quality of our lives do or don't work as intended.”

Atteberry received her PhD in 2011 from the Stanford School of Education in educational policy analysis, with a minor in statistics, and completed post-doctoral work at the University of Virginia in 2014. She then was an assistant professor at CU-Boulder's School of Education before returning to the University of Virginia. Atteberry shared that the cross-disciplinary EdPolicyWorks, a collaboration between UVA’s School of Education and Human Development and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, was a large draw.

Wu also spoke about Batten’s collaborative and holistic approach to public policy, stating he found it relatively unique among policy schools. “I care deeply about understanding research projects with actionable policy implications,” said Wu, “and I think the folks at Batten really care about research and translating that research into making policy and communicating the work to policy makers.”

Atteberry and Wu will conduct research, engage the public, and teach core classes in the BA and MPP programs. Jay Shimshack, Batten’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, notes, “I am thrilled to welcome Professors Atteberry and Wu to the Batten School. Allison is a world-class student mentor and a star teacher of quantitative methods courses. Allison’s research is making frontier contributions to education policymaking and the related literature. Derek is quickly building a national reputation as a productive scholar working to understand the effectiveness and efficiency of our nation’s social safety net policies. He will bring a wealth of experiences to the classroom, including service to the White House Council of Economic Advisors and several NGOs. We are truly delighted that Allison and Derek have chosen to join UVA and the Batten School.”

Outside of academia, Wu and Atteberry bring their notable enthusiasm to a range of interests. Atteberry will join a west coast swing dance community while Wu, who studied classical piano for 16 years, will continue to play.

Garrett Hall at Sunset

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