William Abolt

William Abolt

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Currently teaching:
Regulatory Policy

Bill Abolt is a vice president at Aecom Technology Corporation, where he focuses on energy, sustainability, cities and infrastructure. Prior to joining AECOM, he was a vice president at Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc. He developed and led its Sustainability, Energy and Carbon Management National Practice and directed consulting projects for clients including Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy, Sustainable Chicago 2015 and the Lincoln Park Zoo Nature Boardwalk. Before Shaw, Abolt served as Environment Commissioner, Director of the Office of Budget and Management and Chief of Management, Office of the Mayor, for the City of Chicago, where he was responsible for developing Chicago's strategy to become one of the greenest cities in the United States. Abolt has over 30 years of experience managing complex energy, environmental and public issues and programs. He is a member of the Green Ribbon Committee of the Chicago Climate Action Plan; the Midwest Advisory Council of the Natural Resources Defense Council; the Civic Consulting Alliance Leadership Council; the Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs, Neighborhood and Placed-based Assets Strategy Team and a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow. He has developed and taught graduate courses on subjects including public budgeting, energy and climate policy, urban sustainability, intergovernmental management and capital and development finance. He received his MPA from Northern Illinois University.


Justine Bulgar-Medina

Justine Bulgar-Medina

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Currently teaching:
Research Methods

Justine Bulgar-Medina is a research methodologist at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, working in the Department of Statistics and Methodology. As associated faculty in the MPPA program at Northwestern University, she teaches courses in research methods and public policy. Bulgar-Medina is an active member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research where she serves as the Associate Chair for the Conference Support Committee in addition to serving as Chair of the Student & Early Career Engagement Subcommittee. She is also an active member of the American Statistical Association and American Sociological Association. Prior to joining NORC at the University of Chicago and Northwestern, Bulgar-Medina was a faculty member at Merrimack College where she taught courses in research methods, statistics, public policy and criminology. Bulgar-Medina completed her doctoral work in Sociology & Survey Research at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.


Brett Crawford

Brett Crawford

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Currently teaching:
Intergovernmental Relations

Brett Crawford is a faculty member at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and the Department of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh, and has also held visiting positions at Stanford University and the University of Michigan. His research explores how organizations use history and policy to construct institutional meaning. He has also studied how education policy and associations’ codes of ethics shape students’ strategies for success in the health sciences. Crawford’s current research includes a pair of projects funded by separate grants. The first project explores the historicity of environmental associations, specifically how associations have reshaped the identity of actors to both protect the meaning of environmentalism and disrupt industries that threaten that meaning. The second project explores how stigmatized issues are shaped into legitimate categories through the work of organizations. Crawford earned his Phd from Copenhagen Business School.



Natalia Ermasova

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Currently teaching:
Ethics and Leadership

Dr. Natalia Ermasova has a PhD in Public Affairs (SPEA, Indiana University, USA). Her primary research interests are capital budgeting, public finance, risk-management, innovation management, leadership, and administrative ethics. She was Visiting Professor in Germany (Ludwigsburg Academy for Civil Services), in Hungary (Corvinus University), and Fulbright Visiting Professor (SPEA, Indiana University). Ermasova has more than 60 books and articles published in the USA and globally. Her articles have been published in Public Finance and Management, State and Local Government Review, International Journal of Public Administration Research, and Journal of Management Development.


Angela Fontes

Angela Fontes

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Currently teaching:
Behavioral Economics

Angela Fontes is vice president in the Economics, Justice, and Society Department, and director of the Behavioral and Economic Analysis and Decision-making (BEAD) program at NORC at the University of Chicago. At NORC, Fontes oversees research focused on household finance and investor decision-making, with a specific focus on the financial well-being of African American and Hispanic/Latino families. Using both traditional economic methods, as well as methods from behavioral science and marketing, Fontes delivers actionable insights for a diverse set of stakeholders.

A nationally-recognized expert in household finance, Fontes is regularly quoted in national and trade press and is a frequent speaker on topics related to financial wellbeing. She is the Principal Investigator on several projects, including work with the Securities and Exchange Commission to conduct investor protection research, and NORC’s ongoing collaboration with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. Her research can be found in journals such as the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Journal of Family and Economic Issues, the Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy, and Financial Counseling and Planning.

Prior to NORC, Fontes worked in business and market research consulting with Chamberlain Research Consultants and Leo Burnett. She is adjunct faculty at Northwestern University where she was recently awarded a Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award. At Northwestern, Fontes teaches graduate courses in behavioral economics and public policy, and program evaluation. Fontes is incoming President of the American Council on Consumer Interests, and on the Board of Directors of the Northwest Side Housing Center. Fontes holds a PhD in consumer behavior and family economics with a minor in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®).


Mollie Foust is a practitioner with over 15 years of expertise in systems change, implementation, policy, education, and international development. During the Covid-19 pandemic, she headed Illinois’ initial testing and supply-chain strategy in the Governor’s Office. Prior to the IL Governor's Office, Mollie managed national teams on government innovations at the Harvard Government Performance Lab, as well as led research teams in South Sudan and Kenya. She began her career as a social entrepreneur, developing the Flower City Soccer League in Rochester, NY. Mollie is a native Illinoisan and lives in Chicago with her husband and son.


Wendy Hassett is a clinical associate professor of public affairs at The University of Texas at Dallas. In that capacity, she teaches public affairs graduate classes focusing on the topics of local economic development, public productivity, ethics and organizational culture, and information systems in the policy environment. Prior to joining the faculty at The University of Texas at Dallas, she worked as an assistant city manager and has over twelve years of experience in local government management. Hassett is the co-author or co-editor of Local Government Management: Current Issues and Best Practices and Civic Battles: When Cities Change Their Form of Government. Her scholarly work has appeared in Public Administration Review, Public Performance & Management Review, Review of Public Personnel Administration, Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, and other journals, and was the recipient of the 2005 Public Administration Review Editors' Choice Award. She is a past board member of Public Administration Review. Hassett completed her doctoral work in public administration and public policy at Auburn University in Alabama.


Mark Keightley is an economist with the nonpartisan Congressional Research Services (CRS) in Washington, DC. At CRS, he advises Congress and their staff on fiscal policy, business and international corporate taxation, and housing tax policy. Before joining CRS, Keightley was an associate with the Congressional Budget Office and a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis. He has taught at Syracuse University, the College of William & Mary George Mason University, and George Washington University. Keightley’s research has been cited by the President's Council of Economic Advisers, U.S. Supreme Court, Government Accountability Office, Federal Reserve of Dallas, Brookings Institution, Cato Institute, Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, Center on Budget Policies and Priorities, Bloomberg, NY Times, CNN, Businessweek, Reuters, Tax Notes, Daily Tax Report, and various academic publications. Keightley earned an MS and PhD in economics from Florida State University.


Gregory Kuhn

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Currently teaching:
Intergovernmental Relations

Gregory Kuhn currently is director of government management consulting at Sikich LLP and was assistant director for public management and training at Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies. Kuhn has more than 28 years of combined governmental, consulting and higher education experience. He was the inaugural faculty director of the MPPA program and continues to be program adviser and lecturer. His primary teaching areas include public policy, leadership, public administration and budgeting. He also served as an instructor/lecturer for Northern Illinois University’s public administration program, and he has earned teaching awards at both NIU and SCS. Kuhn earned an MPA and PhD in public administration, public policy and organizational theory from Northern Illinois University.


William Lester is the MPPA faculty director and a scholar of political science, public policy, and public administration. His interests include leadership and ethics, public administration, disaster response, public organization theory, public personnel, and American politics. He has published in Public Administration Review and The Public Manager, among other journals and book chapters, and is on the editorial board of Public Voices. He has a recently published book in the American Society for Public Administration Series entitled Transforming Disaster Response: Federalism and Leadership. Lester was named a 1999 Civitas Scholar and was also a 2009 participant in Minnowbrook III. Lester was named a Fulbright scholar (2013), teaching and researching at The National Research University-Higher School of Economis in Moscow. He received his MPA and PhD from Texas Tech University with specializations in public administration, American politics, and political theory.


Pamela Ransom has been active as an environmentalist, planner, researcher, educator and community activist. For more than eight years she was special assistant for environmental affairs for New York City Mayor David Dinkins. Then she moved into international activism as director of health and environment for the Women’s Environment and Development Organization. She worked closely with the late Congresswoman Bella Abzug, spoke to a variety of UN meetings and international conferences and organized major events at venues such as the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. She has also served on the faculty of Long Island University School of Business, Public Administration and Information. Ransom received her doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Andy Sharma is a political economist whose areas of specialty include aging, health disparities, later-life migration and quantitative methods. Currently he works with the Cedar Grove Institute on a project to employ statistical methodology to examine the adverse impact of economic and racial isolation on student performance in North Carolina. A research article from this investigation was published in Education Policy Analysis Archives (Volume 22, 2014) and this study was cited and listed under Table of Authorities in an Amicus Brief filed by the Society of American Law Teachers in the Fisher II case with the United States Supreme Court (October 2015). He has also published in other highly regarded journals, such as Ageing and Society, Applied Geography, Disability and Rehabilitation, Journal of Aging and Health, and Women’s Health Issues. Sharma is a former recipient of the Carolina Population Center Fellowship with training grants from the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. He also received the Future Faculty Fellowship and Weiss Urban Livability Fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he completed his PhD. He has master degrees in mathematics from Loyola University Chicago and economics from DePaul University.


Morris A. Taylor is Vice-Chancellor for Administration & CFO and tenured associate professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy Analysis at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Illinois. He has served as the department chairperson for six years and chaired the university's planning and budgeting council for four years. Since 1997 at SIUE, he has taught courses in general public management, policy analysis, administrative law, program evaluation, ethics, homeland security, and public safety. Before his academic career, He was an administrator with the Social Security Administration in St. Louis, Missouri. Taylor served as a St. Louis City and St. Louis County police officer during the 1970s; and senior attorney negotiator for the State Farm Insurance Companies. From 2004-2005, he was the Ira Glasser Racial Justice Fellow for the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, where he investigated and conducted research on racial profiling and police misconduct. His research interests include police organizations, ethics, administrative law, and aspects of civic engagement. Taylor is also an editor for the Journal of Public Management and Social Policy and is a member of the United States Attorneys' Hate Crime Task Force for Eastern Missouri. Taylor earned his PhD from Saint Louis University in public policy analysis & administration.


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