Meet the Director
Dr. Kristin Klopfenstein
Dr. Kristin Klopfenstein, a native Coloradoan, is the founding executive director of the Education Innovation Institute at the University of Northern Colorado. The EII’s mission is to connect researchers, policymakers, and educators to improve education in Colorado and beyond.
“EII is filling an important role by linking together practice, policy and research,” says Dr. Klopfenstein. “Constructive conversations between educators, policymakers and researchers are critical for effectively improving student outcomes, including those that are not easily measured.”
Prior to joining EII, Dr. Klopfenstein was the interim director of Texas Schools Project at The University of Texas at Dallas. There she conducted and managed education policy research and evaluation using administrative, individual-level longitudinal education data. Additionally, Dr. Klopfenstein spent ten years in the classroom as an associate professor at Texas Christian University where she taught courses on the economics of education, labor economics and econometrics (the application of statistics to economic problems, such as education).
“As an economist conducting research in education policy, I was frustrated by complaints from academics that their research was not being used to inform policy. Policymakers, on the other hand, complained that academic research was too inaccessible and laden with caveats to be helpful. And teachers complained that both researchers and policymakers were out of touch,” adds Dr. Klopfenstein. “EII is about creating a bridge between research and policy, informed by practice.”
Dr. Klopfenstein has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and was recently a co-author of “AP: A Critical Examination of the Advanced Placement Program,” a book published by Harvard Education Press that provides a comprehensive review of the Advanced Placement program.
Dr. Klopfenstein’s research interests focus on examining factors that influence low-income, rural, black and Hispanic students’ preparation for college and the workforce.