Dominique Baker is an Assistant Professor of Education Policy in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development and an Associate in the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies. Her research focuses on the effects of higher education access policies on students, particularly those who are underrepresented within higher education. She investigates the effects both while students are still enrolled and once students have left higher education. She is also interested in institutional policies that can promote or hinder student success for underrepresented students. Selected topics her research has focused on include the causal impact of undergraduate debt on credit accumulation, early-career earnings, and graduate school enrollment; the influence of precollege characteristics on the racial college completion gap; affirmative action; and, student collective action. She is currently a researcher with the Texas OnCourse Research Network, focusing on factors that influence the debt burden of Texas graduates.
She earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. She was the recipient of an Association for Institutional Research dissertation grant, Vanderbilt University Provost’s Graduate Fellowship, Vanderbilt University Experimental Education Research Training Fellowship, and UCEA Barbara L. Jackson Scholarship. She has been named a Thomas B. Fordham Institute and American Enterprise Institute Emerging Education Policy Scholar. She earned her Master of Education in Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Virginia. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., Dominique served as an Assistant Dean in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Virginia. At SMU, she teaches policy and analysis courses at the doctoral level and diversity and equity courses at the master's level.