Dr Leila Morsy

Senior Lecturer
Ed.D, Harvard University
School of Education


+61 2 9385 9318
108 Goodsell Building
Fields: Policy and Administration, Education Policy
Tags: Education policy, Equity and Access to Education


Her primary research interest is the factors contributing to school achievement differences between advantaged and disadvantaged students. In particular, she is interested in the effect of (1) family, (2) health, (3) housing, and (4) neighborhoods on children’s cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes. She is also interested in non-school-based solutions to improving the cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes of low-SES children. She is interested in supervising empirical studies on these topics. She is particularly interested in translating her research to policy changes.

She is a Research Associate with the Economic Policy Institute in Washington D.C.

Leila Morsy's work with the Economic Policy Institute


External Grants

Morsy, L. (co-CI), Rothstein, Richard (co-CI). Pathways through which social/economic differences express themselves in student achievement. (RG151509). 2015-2016. The Spencer Foundation & The Economic Policy Institute. $11,655.

Faculty Research Grants

Morsy, L. (co-CI), Carnoy, M. (co-CI), & Khavenson, T. (AI). Contributors to PISA Test Score Trends by State 2000-2012. 2016. $6,000.

Morsy, L. (CI). Education Stakeholders and Philanthropists’ definition and prioritization of the aims of education in grantmaking. 2013. UNSW School of Education. $5,000.


Leila received the National Office of Learning and Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, Early Career Category (2016), the UNSW Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence (2015), and the UNSW Faculty of Arts and Scoial Sciences Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence (2016).

She is passionate about her teaching. She started as a Teach for America teacher in under-resourced schools in Texas and New York City. She spent two years teacher middle-school writing at a public school in the Bronx and then was part of the founding team of a Harlem-based charter school where she taught middle-school reading. When completing her doctoral studies at the Graduate School of Education, at Harvard, Leila was the teaching assistant for several applied educational policy classes.

At UNSW, she convenes the 2nd year Bachelor of Education core course: EDST2003 and offers an elective on communication skills for teachers (EDST2094). In postgraduate studies, she teaches the course on education policy for postgraduates (EDST5451) as well as a course on education program evaluation (EDST5436).

Leila has a B.A. in literature, Bard College; an M.A. in secondary education, Teachers College, Columbia University; an EdM in education policy and management, Harvard University Graduate School of Education; and an EdD in educational policy, leadership, and instructional practice, Harvard University Graduate School of Education.


  • 2015 Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence, Early Career
  • 2015 Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences Award for Teaching Excellence, Early Career
  • 2016 Shortlisted for Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences Award for Research Impact
  • 2016 National Office of Learning and Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, Early Career Category

Selected Media Coverage

Shapiro, E. (2016, December 16). POLITICO New York Education: Study Up. Politico

Finley, T. (2016, December 20). The Racial Achievement Gap Can't Close Without Prison Reform, Report Shows. The Huffington Post

Anderson, M. D. (2017, January 16). How Mass Incarceration Pushes Black Children Further Behind in School. The Atlantic.

Parker, P. (2017). January 19. Mass incarceration contributes to the racial achievement gap, study says. Ann Arbor, MI: Michigan Public Radio: State of Opportunity.

Strauss, V. (2017, March 15). Mass incarceration of African Americans affects the racial achievement gap — report. The Washington Post.

Abrams, R. (2015, August 27). Gap Says It Will Phase Out On-Call Scheduling of Employees. The New York Times, pp. B2.

Browne, R. (2015, August 18). Children of shift workers suffer academically and socially: UNSW researcher. The Sydney Morning Herald, pp. 8.

Scheiber, N. (2015, August 12). The Perils of Ever-Changing Work Schedules Extend to Children’s Well-Being. The New York Times.pp. B1

Strauss, V. (2015, August 9). The consequences for kids when their parents work irregular night shifts — research. The Washington Post.

Layton, L. (2015, June 10). Researchers: Five ignored factors affect outcomes for poor children. The Washington Post.


Engagement and Professional contributions

American Educational Research Association
Member, 2007 – present

Harvard Club of Australia

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