Faculty & Staff Directory

Edgar Olsen

Edgar
O.
Olsen

Professor Emeritus of Economics
Monroe Hall 250

Ed Olsen is a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Virginia, where he has served as chairman of the economics department and was heavily involved in the creation and development of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Olsen's teaching and research has focused on public policy issues, especially concerning the welfare system. Within this broad area, his research specialty is low-income housing policy.

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Claire Oto

Claire
Oto

NSPC Senior Policy Analyst

Claire Oto is a policy researcher and writer at the NSPC. She also coordinates the Center’s internship program. Prior to joining Batten, she was a communications specialist at the U.S. Department of Energy.  Claire earned an M.P.P in Space and National Security from George Washington University and holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California San Diego.

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Mark Outten

Mark
Outten

Director of Information Technology and School Systems
Garrett Hall L015

Mark was most recently the Director of Technology for the Orange County Public Schools in Orange, VA, has over 20 years of education-related technology leadership and management experience, worked in private industry for a Hewitt Associates, and is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He brings a wealth of strategic and practical education technology experience to Batten.

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Jay Pence

Jay
T.
Pence

Assistant Director of Facilities and Operations

Jay Pence is the Assistant Director of Facilities and Operations at the Batten School, where he manages the execution and planning of the school's event portfolio, facility and space planning, and day-to-day operations. Prior to his current role Jay has worked in various roles related to student services, campus recreation and law enforcement.

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Andy Pennock

Andrew
S.
Pennock

Associate Professor of Public Policy

Andy Pennock is an associate professor of public policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. He serves UVA as the faculty director of Batten’s MPP orientation program, on Batten’s curriculum committee, and as an elected member of the Executive Council of the Faculty Senate. Pennock’s academic research examines public policy in the global economy as well as the scholarship of teaching and learning

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John Pepper

John
Pepper

Professor of Economics and Public Policy

John V. Pepper is a professor of economics and public policy at the Batten School and a professor of economics in the Department of Economics at the University of Virginia. His work examines identification problems that arise when evaluating a wide range of public policy questions including such subjects as health and disability programs, welfare policies (e.g., SNAP), and drug and crime policies.

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Daniel Player

Daniel
W.
Player

Associate Professor of Public Policy
Garrett Hall L046

Dan Player is an associate professor of public policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. His research focuses on issues in education policy. His work has examined questions such as how teacher ability is recognized and rewarded in schools, whether teacher performance predicts turnover, and how teachers respond to working conditions.

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Philip Potter

Philip
Potter

Professor of Politics and Public Policy; Founding Director of the National Security Policy Center
S183 Gibson Hall and NSPC, 134 10th St NW

Philip Potter is a professor of politics and Founding Director of the National Security Policy Center at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. He is also a University Expert with the National Ground Intelligence Center, US Army INSCOM. He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Politics and the Journal of Global Security Studies and is an Associate Principal Investigator for Time-Sharing Experiments in the Social Sciences (TESS). 

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Margaret Foster Riley

Margaret Foster
Riley

Professor of Law and Public Policy
580 Massie Road, Room WB347

Margaret Foster Riley is a professor of law and public policy at the Batten School, a professor of law at UVA's School of Law and has a secondary appointment in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Riley has written and presented extensively about biomedical research, genetics, reproductive technologies, stem cell research, animal biotechnology, health disparities and chronic disease. She serves as chair of UVA’s Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee and as legal advisor to the Health Sciences Institutional Review Board, which is responsible for reviewing all human subject research at UVA involving medically invasive procedures.

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Kimberly Jenkins Robinson

Kimberly Jenkins
Robinson

Professor of Law, Education and Public Policy

Kimberly Jenkins Robinson is a professor of law, education and public policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Robinson is a national expert who speaks domestically and internationally about educational equity, equal educational opportunity, civil rights and the federal role in education. Her work proposes innovative legal and policy solutions to ensure that all children receive equal access to an excellent education.

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Gerard Robinson

Gerard
Robinson

Professor of Practice in Public Policy and Law
Garrett Hall L031

As of fall 2023, Gerard Robinson is a professor of practice in public policy and law at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the School of Law at the University of Virginia. As a Fellow of Practice at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, Robinson has written about K-12 and higher education, public policy, economic mobility, after-school programs, and race. Robinson will teach on education, prisons, and public policy.

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john robinson

John
Robinson

NSPC Director of Academic Programs

John Robinson is the NSPC’s Director of Academic Programs. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses focused on national security, including Innovating for Defense, an experiential course that pairs student teams with sponsors from the Department of Defense (DoD) to solve real-world national security problems. His research interests include international security and naval affairs.

John holds a Ph.D. in Politics from the University of Virginia, and a M.A. from the U.S. Naval War College.   

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Jill Rockwell

Jill
Rockwell

Senior Assistant Dean for Student and Career Services

Jill oversees the administrative units of student affairs, and career services, working with the other members of the student services team to strengthen students’ co-curricular and career-related experiences at the Batten School.

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Christopher Ruhm

Christopher
J.
Ruhm

Professor of Public Policy and Economics

Christopher J. Ruhm is a professor of public policy and economics at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Ruhm’s recent research has focused on the role of government policies in helping parents with young children balance the competing needs of work and family life, and on examining how various aspects of health are produced – including the growth and sources of drug poisoning deaths in the United States, the rise in obesity and the relationship between macroeconomic conditions and health.

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James Savage

James
Savage

Professor of Politics and Public Policy

James D. Savage is a professor of politics and public policy at the Batten School and a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. His research and teaching focus on comparative budgetary, fiscal, and macroeconomic policy, with an emphasis on the United States, the European Union, Iraq and Japan. He is particularly interested in the development of macrobudgetary rules, procedures, and institutions in these countries, and how they influence fiscal outcomes.

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Abigail Scholer

Abigail
Scholer

Batten Family Bicentennial Distinguished Leadership Professor of Public Policy
Garrett Hall 107

As of Fall 2023, Abigail Scholer is Batten Family Bicentennial Distinguished Leadership Professor of Public Policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. Broadly, she researches the dynamic, complex, and often confounding world of human motivation and self-regulation: What makes us reach for the stars, huddle in a corner, get out of bed, help others, break our diets, save for retirement, follow rules, and color outside the lines? Scholer studies fundamental and basic processes related to goal pursuit, decision-making, social regulation, motivated social cognition, and behavior change, with an aim for understanding how these basic processes can be leveraged to address societal challenges and improve people’s lives.

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Beth Schueler

Beth
Schueler

Assistant Professor of Education and Public Policy
Ruffner Hall 268

Beth Schueler is an assistant professor of education and public policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Schueler studies education policy, politics, and inequality with a focus on efforts to improve low-performing K-12 schools and districts.

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Todd Sechser

Todd
S.
Sechser

Professor of Politics and Public Policy
S182 Gibson Hall

Todd S. Sechser is a professor of politics and public policy at the Batten School and the Pamela Feinour Edmonds and Franklin S. Edmonds Jr. Discovery Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. Sechser is also a Senior Fellow at UVA's Miller Center. His research interests include coercive diplomacy, emerging technologies, nuclear security and political violence

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Lauren Shepherd

Lauren
Shepherd

Chief of Staff to the Dean

Lauren Shepherd joined Batten in 2022, coming from Teach For America where she served as Managing Director, Chief of Staff to the Vice President of Executive Director Learning. Prior to that, she served as the Chief of Staff to the TFA Bay Area Executive Director and as Managing Director of Teacher Onboarding Strategy. Originally trained as a journalist, she has professional experience as a writer and reporter as well as many years involved in strategic and operational planning, project management, partnerships, and talent development. 

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Linda Sherck

Linda
Sherck

Associate Director of Development

Linda has been working in higher education advancement since she moved to the Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina area in 1992 to earn her master’s degree in public relations from UNC-Chapel Hill.  She spent many years in alumni engagement at UNC and then as a fundraiser at Duke.  A number of circumstances coincided to bring her to Charlottesville in 2021 where she is thrilled to be working to secure resources to advance Batten’s mission and support the School’s amazing students and faculty. Originally from Michigan, she is now an empty-nester and is enjoying exploring all the beauty and fun activities that comes with living in wonderful Charlottesville.

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Jay Shimshack

Jay
Shimshack

Professor of Public Policy and Economics

Jay Shimshack is a professor of public policy and economics at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Shimshack's research focuses on environmental regulation, environmental economics, corporate social behavior, and applied microeconomics for public policy. 

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William Shobe

William
Shobe

Research Professor of Public Policy; Director, Center for Economic and Policy Studies, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service

William Shobe is research professor of public policy at the Batten School and the Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Studies at UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. Shobe's current research includes emission market and auction design, environmental federalism, improved economic modeling of Virginia’s economy, state economic development incentives and state economic forecasting.

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