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Patrick Wolf

Patrick Wolf

Distinguished Professor

21st Century

College of Education and Health Professions

(EDRE)-Education Reform

Phone: 479-575-2084

Fax: (479) 575-3196

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Dr. Patrick J. Wolf is Distinguished Professor of Education Policy and 21st Century Endowed Chair in School Choice in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions.  He previously taught at Columbia and Georgetown University.  Wolf has worked as a pizza deliverer, a state government administrator, an advocate for people with hearing impairments, and a janitor’s assistant, though not necessary in that order.  As principal investigator of the School Choice Demonstration Project he has led or is leading major studies of school choice initiatives including longitudinal evaluations of school voucher programs in Washington, DC; Milwaukee, WI; and the state of Louisiana.  Research projects led or co-led by Dr. Wolf have been awarded 34 research grants and contracts totaling nearly $22 million.  He has authored, co-authored, or co-edited four books and over 120 journal articles, book chapters, and policy reports on school choice, civic values, special education, public management, and campaign finance.  Most of his school choice research is available at

            Dr. Wolf has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress five times and before committees of state legislatures 16 times.  He has been interviewed on National Public Radio four times and on state-affiliated Public Radio four times.  His school choice research has been discussed on ABC World News Tonight, the CNN Morning Show, MSNBC, Fox News Special Report, The News Hour, CSPAN, ABC's Larry Elders Radio Show, The New Republic, US News and World Report, The Economist, The Atlantic, Washington Monthly, The Daily Caller, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Lingua Franca, The New York Times Review of Books, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, The International Herald Tribune, The Sunday Times of London, The New York Sun, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, The Houston Chronicle, The New Orleans Times-Picayune, The St. Paul Pioneer Press, The St. Cloud Daily Times, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and many other media venues.  Education Week consistently ranks him among the most influential education policy academics.

            His 1997 article on Reinventing Government won the national Best Article Award of the Academy of Management, Division on Public and Nonprofit Management.  He received the Significant Research Award of the University of Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions in 2011 and was one of the 10 Most Outstanding Faculty Members at the University of Arkansas in 2016.  His papers have won prizes at the 2015 Global Home Education Conference in 2015 and the International School Choice & Reform Conference in 2017.  A 1987 graduate of the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN), he received his Ph.D. in Government (political science) from Harvard University in 1995.

Private school choice, public charter schools, public school chioce, special education, organizational leadership

Research design and methodology, school choice

EDRE 6213/ESRM 6613 Program Evaluation and Research Design

EDRE 6423 Seminar in School Choice Policy

  • 1995 Ph.D. Harvard University, Political Science
  • 1993 A.M. Harvard University, Political Science
  • 1987 B.A. University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, Political Science and Philosophy, Summa Cum Laude

Thomas Stewart and Patrick J. Wolf, The School Choice Journey:  School Vouchers and the Empowerment of Urban Families, New York:  Palgrave Macmillan, 2014; Paperback, Springer, 2016.

Jonathan N. Mills and Patrick J. Wolf, “Vouchers in the Bayou: The Effects of the Louisiana Scholarship Program on Student Achievement after Two Years,Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

Egalite, Anna J., and Patrick J. Wolf, “A Review of the Empirical Research on Private School Choice,” Peabody Journal of Education, 91(4), Fall 2016, pp. 441-454.

John F. Witte, Patrick J. Wolf, Joshua M. Cowen, Deven Carlson, and David F. Fleming, “High Stakes Choice: Achievement and Accountability in the Nation’s Oldest Urban Voucher Program,” Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 36(4), December 2014, pp. 437-456.

Patrick J. Wolf, Brian Kisida, Babette Gutmann, Michael Puma, Nada Eissa, and Lou Rizzo, School Vouchers and Student Outcomes: Experimental Evidence from Washington, DC," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 32(2), April 2013, pp. 246-270.

Joshua M. Cowen, David J. Fleming, John F. Witte, Patrick J. Wolf, and Brian Kisida, “School Vouchers and Student Attainment: Evidence from a State-Mandated Study of Milwaukee’s Parental Choice Program,” Policy Studies Journal, 41(1), Winter 2013, pp. 147-167.

For a complete list of Dr. Wolf's publications and presentations, click here.

2014-               Distinguished Professor of Education Policy and 21st Century Endowed Chair in School Choice, Education Reform, University of Arkansas

2006-2014       Professor and 21st Century Endowed Chair in School Choice, Education Reform, University of Arkansas

2004-2006       Associate Professor, Public Policy, Georgetown University

1998-2004       Assistant Professor, Public Policy, Georgetown University

1998-2001       Guest Lecturer, U.S. Dept. of Defense Leadership & Management Program

1995-1998       Assistant Professor, Political Science and Public Affairs, Columbia University

1994-1995       Lecturer, Political Science and Public Affairs, Columbia University

  • Fordham Foundation Best Article Award, 2nd Place, International School Choice & Reform Conference, 2017
  • Best Article Award, 2nd Place, Global Home Education Conference, 2015
  • Most Outstanding Faculty Award (Finalist), University of Arkansas, 2015
  • Significant Research Award, University of Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions, 2011
  • Member of the Editorial Board, Journal of School Choice, 2007
  • Member, New Citizenship Working Group, American Enterprise Institute, 2010
  • Section Head, Public Administration, Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, April 12-15, 2007
  • Senior EditorEducation Working Paper Archives, University of Arkansas, 2006
  • Book Review EditorJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 2001-2008
  • Newsletter Editor, Public Administration Section, American Political Science Association, 2001-04
  • Member, Executive Committee of the Public Administration Division, American Political Science Association, 1999-2002;
  • Best Article Award, Academy of Management, Division on Public and Nonprofit Management, 1997-98
  • Mellon Graduate Fellow, Harvard University, 1993-94
  • Jacob Javits Graduate Fellow, U.S. Department of Education, 1989-93
  • Vice-President, Delta Epsilon Sigma Honor Society, 1986-87
  • Aquinas Scholars Program, 1983-87
  • Public Service Award, Minnesota Foundation for Better Hearing and Speech, 1986
  • Special Service Award, Legislative Coalition for the Hearing Impaired, 1986

Dr. Wolf has received a total of 34 research grants and contracts totaling $21,968,388 from the U.S. Department of Education, Georgetown University, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Kern Family Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Robertson Foundation, the Smith-Richardson Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation.