Assistant Professor, Department of Public Administration
What year did you start working at NIU?
Where is your hometown? and where do you live now?
Richmond, Virginia, and Glen Ellyn, Illinois.
Where did you attend college and what degree(s) have you earned?
Kennesaw State University, B.S.; University of Georgia, MPA; University of Georgia, Ph.D.
In which department(s) do you teach?
Department of Public Administration
What do you like about working at NIU?
It feels like the faculty, staff and students are all working toward a common goal: to enhance and elevate local or community governance. We are very vested in the idea of helping the communities of Illinois serve their residents better.
What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?
Take advantage of the connections that NIU has in the community. If you want to get involved, just ask.
Tell us about a research or engaged learning project you have led.
Much of my research focuses on special districts. (Aside: Illinois has the largest number of independent special districts of any state in the U.S.). These local governments are fairly autonomous from cities/towns/villages, but are less noticed by voters. This can present some problems with accountability. Some of my work focuses on why these local governments are created when there are some obvious flaws with them. Generally, the flexibility that these districts afford outweigh their drawbacks (or they hide them effectively, difficult to say).
What do you hope students take away from your class?
My default course is PSPA 611: Public Revenue Analysis and Financial Management. I hope my students come away with an appreciation of how money flows into public organizations and is managed once collected. This process is vitally important for the legitimacy of local government. Doing it poorly can have significant consequences.
What is your favorite campus event?
I'm not sure I've been on campus long enough to have a favorite event. New MPA student orientations and graduations are great fun.
Who has influenced your professional path?
Certainly my dissertation advisor, Deborah Carroll. She encouraged me to pursue a Ph.D. and mentored me through my master's, Ph.D., and to this day. I wouldn't be where I am without her.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not, what changed your path?
I can't imagine doing anything else other than being a professor. I'm sure I had other career aspirations when I was younger, but they have all faded into memory. This is what I am supposed to be doing.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I am an avid cyclist.