Research Affiliates

The System Office has selected six faculty members from UNC System institutions who have expertise and experience in program evaluation. These Research Affiliates will serve in three related roles:

  • Consultant: during project planning phase, Affiliates will assist institutional teams scope and plan projects (letters of intent)
  • Applicant: System Office will work to “match” Affiliates to project teams that are invited to submit a full proposal on the basis of common interests. Affiliates will help draft proposal and evaluation plans (full proposals).
  • Evaluator: Affiliates that are matched to proposals selected for funding will be eligible to serve as Principal Investigator for the evaluation (a quantitative study of the intervention).

Evaluator Biographies

Angelia Dills
Western Carolina University

Angela Dills is professor of economics and the Gimelstob-Landry Distinguished Professor of Regional Economic Development at Western Carolina University. She received a BA from the University of Virginia and an MA and Ph.D. in Economics from Boston University. She previously held faculty positions at Clemson University, Mercer University, Wellesley College, and Providence College. Her research on the economics of education focuses on issues such as peer effects, college quality, course scheduling, and class size. Her research has appeared in journals such as Economic Inquiry, Southern Economic Journal, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, and Economics of Education Review. Professor Dills serves on the editorial boards of the Economics of Education Review and the Eastern Economic Journal. She lives in Franklin, NC, with her economist-husband and three children.

Nianbo Dong
UNC-Chapel Hill

Dr. Nianbo Dong is an associate professor of quantitative methods in the Schools of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Dong’s research program centers on developing and applying rigorous quantitative methods to evaluate educational policies, programs, and practice. His current interests in quantitative methodology focus on power analyses of the main, moderation, and mediation effects in multilevel experiments and causal inference. He has developed three statistical software packages for helping users design multilevel experiments to detect the main effect (PowerUp!), moderator effects (PowerUp!-Moderator), and mediator effects (PowerUp!-Mediator) of the intervention ( His substantive research focuses on the evaluation of the effectiveness of teacher and principal training programs and early child education programs. His work has been supported by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Science and National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Dong received the NSF Faculty Early Career award in 2017.

Julie Edmunds
UNC Greensboro

Dr. Julie Edmunds, a program director at the SERVE Center at UNCG, conducts research and evaluation on issues related to the transition to college. She has been Principal Investigator of a 12-year longitudinal experimental study investigating the impact of the Early College High School model on student outcomes. She is also principal investigator for evaluations of four large federal grants seeking to apply early college principles to traditional high schools and is leading an experimental evaluation of a federally-funded effort to redesign online courses in a community college. All of her impact studies incorporate qualitative and descriptive components that explore why changes are happening. Her evaluations are informed by previous work as an educator and as a federal policymaker. Dr. Edmunds has a Ph.D. in Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a M.Ed. in Elementary Education from UNC at Greensboro and a BA in History from Yale University.

Dora Gicheva
UNC Greensboro

An associate professor of economics at UNC Greensboro, Dr. Dora Gicheva is an applied microeconomist who works in the areas of labor and education economics. She has published peer reviewed journal articles examining the ways in which students pay for postsecondary education, as well as the impacts of government policies related to higher education financing. She has extensive training in econometric methods and has taught econometrics at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Dr. Gicheva received her Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University.

Steve Hemelt
UNC-Chapel Hill

Steven Hemelt is an assistant professor of public policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), and a senior researcher with the National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER). His primary fields of interest are the economics of education, education policy, labor economics, and program evaluation. His current research focuses on transitions from high school to college, postsecondary costs and cost drivers, and student success in higher education. Hemelt’s work has appeared in economics, public policy, and education journals and been funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the Spencer, Smith Richardson, W.T. Grant, and Walton Family foundations, and the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. Hemelt holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and Spanish, a master’s degree in economic policy analysis, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Prior to joining the faculty at UNC-CH, Hemelt was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

Carl Westine
UNC Charlotte

Dr. Carl Westine is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at UNC Charlotte. Dr. Westine teaches research and program evaluation courses for the various graduate programs in the Cato College of Education including the Ph.D. in Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation program. Dr. Westine is a 2014 graduate of the interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Evaluation program at Western Michigan University. His methodological research focuses on improving efficiency in the design of educational evaluations. He accomplishes this by leveraging data from large-scale evaluations, as well as state-wide and national longitudinal data sets to estimate design parameters necessary in power analyses for experimental evaluations. He also engages in research on evaluation theories, models, and practice. Dr. Westine is actively engaged in the American Evaluation Association and is presently co-chair of the Design and Analysis of Experiments Topical Interest Group.