October Faculty Spotlight: New Professor, Chloe Gibbs

Professor Chloe Gibbs


Name: Chloe Gibbs

Position: Assistant Professor of Public Policy & Education

Academic history: Ph.D., University of Chicago (2012)

M.P.P., University of Michigan (2003)

B.A., University of Notre Dame (2000)

Tell us something about yourself!

I grew up in Kentucky Wildcat country, and went to Notre Dame, so I am a big college sports fan. It seemed easy to incorporate the ‘Hoos and root for them too until Notre Dame joined the ACC recently, so now they will play each other!

What were the driving factors in your decision to join the Batten School faculty?

Having gone to policy schools for both my M.P.P. and Ph.D., I loved the idea of being in this new, up-and-coming policy school at a phenomenal institution. I wanted to teach M.P.P. students, and also felt like my research fit well here, especially with connections to Curry and the ed policy center. When I visited, I really enjoyed talking to the students, thought the faculty with whom I met would be great colleagues, and confirmed my expectations that this would be a wonderful place to be.

What’s your teaching philosophy?

I am still a bit in awe of the fact that I get to teach and work with M.P.P. students. I never would have imagined it 10 years ago, working away on my M.P.P. degree at the Ford School at Michigan. I think about the professors who taught me to think differently about a problem or helped me uncover the questions I was interested in pursuing and answering, or encouraged me to apply a different lens, consider an alternative, or reframe an argument, and I hope I can help students in those same ways. I also remember my post-M.P.P. job search—and those of many of my students in recent years—and want to equip students with skills that give them a competitive advantage in that search and in their careers. If I can help my students acquire and use the tools that will make them strong policy analysts, ready to tackle—critically and thoughtfully—the challenges and issues about which they are so passionate and knowledgeable, then I am happy.

Tell us about your research.

I study the impact and cost-effectiveness of early childhood interventions. I am interested in how we can best intervene—through policy and programs—in children’s lives to address early disadvantages. When kids arrive at school, where we have the most access and perhaps best opportunity to provide services and supports, they already exhibit sizable achievement gaps by socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity. I hope we can uncover, through strong social science research, the most effective ways to rectify those disparities early and set children on a path to success in school and beyond. And, in a world of constrained resources, I also think a lot about how we choose optimally interventions and their timing. On a related note, I am also very interested in the long-term impact of early childhood program participation, and how effects in adulthood relate to immediate impact.

Who inspires you (and what kind of impact do you hope to make with your research)?

I have been very fortunate to have amazing mentors who are involved and influential in important policy discussions, conduct high-quality research, are super smart, and are genuinely nice, wonderful people. I certainly aspire to their examples in my career. And, I know how this is going to sound, but I am most inspired by my two daughters. I want to give them the best opportunities and experiences possible, and I also see every day the amazing process of child development that is relevant to my research. It highlights for me the stark disparities in access to resources (even simple things we take for granted like books), high-quality child care, and preschool opportunities. I think we can get to a better place in terms of how we invest equitably and efficiently in children’s early lives, but we need good evidence to do that.

What are you looking forward to most with the Batten School?

I am really excited to be at a relatively new policy school that is growing and establishing its reputation. I look forward to contributing to that development and seeing it take form. It is fun to be a part of this endeavor with a fantastic faculty, talented, knowledgeable administrators, and wonderful students to boot!


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