Postdoctoral Fellowship in Research on Education Policy and Practice

The Tennessee Education Research Alliance (TERA) invites applications for a two year Postdoctoral Fellowship in Research on Education Policy and Practice. The postdoctoral fellowship is a training opportunity aimed at building research design, analysis, and implementation skills through the study of educator labor markets, educator perception, school improvement, and pandemic recovery. The centerpiece of the fellowship is the opportunity for sustained participation in a research-policy-practice partnership aimed at informing education policy and practice decisions in Tennessee.

About TERA

The Tennessee Education Research Alliance (TERA) is a research-policy-practice partnership between the Tennessee Department of Education and Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. TERA bridges the gap between education research, policy, and practice in Tennessee. Through strategic partnerships, we conduct research in collaboration with state and local education leaders to inform policies that affect school systems, educators, and ultimately, students. Powered by a top-quality longitudinal data set and a commitment to explore key questions of policy and practice, TERA is a national leader in practice-focused research. 

TERA’s research agenda focuses on:

  • Strengthening Tennessee’s education labor market,
  • Understanding the pipeline for educators of color, 
  • Identifying predictors of effective school leadership, and
  • Investigating opportunities for school improvement through pandemic recovery.

There also are opportunities for fellows to pursue research outside these areas of focus.

About the Fellowship

Potential candidates for the postdoctoral program are Ph.D graduates with an interest in becoming independent researchers who focus on education policy in academic or professional research organizations. 

TERA aims to recruit candidates with a strong background in quantitative methods whose past research or areas of study have focused on issues in education policy. We anticipate successful applicants will come from the fields of education, economics, or public policy, though we encourage applications from researchers with social science training in other fields. 

Postdoctoral scholars will be afforded a unique set of experiences and direct connections in the Tennessee education policy landscape. TERA and its affiliated researchers are regularly involved in conversations with state policymakers and stakeholders about policy development and the impact of research on policy and practice in Tennessee. Postdoctoral scholars will have opportunities to work with and conduct rigorous, mixed-methods research in the field of education through access to well-developed, large-scale data systems. This work will occur in a highly collaborative environment with multiple researchers, doctoral students, faculty members, and state partners. The fellowship will provide numerous opportunities for postdoctoral scholars not only to develop as independent researchers but to learn to participate in research teams and build connections with researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. Postdoctoral scholars will be encouraged and mentored to develop a research agenda that leads to published products for academic, policy, and practice audiences.

Review of applications will begin in March 2022 and will continue until the position is filled. The fellowship will begin in summer 2022, and fellows are required to relocate to Nashville, Tennessee. 

Applicants should submit: a cover letter addressing their qualifications, interest, and fit with the description of the position; curriculum vitae; 1-2 writing samples; and the names and contact information of three academic references.

Interested applicants can contact Jason Grissom, Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Public Policy and Education and Faculty Director of the Tennessee Education Research Alliance, at for more information. 

TERA and Vanderbilt University are Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employers. We strongly encourage applications from all qualified candidates, without regard to race/color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status.