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Public Policy & Administration


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.

Iwona Bochenska

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Iwona Bochenska is an international relations expert whose research interests focus on the global economy, especially on business and government relations. As a specialist in international trade, economics of globalization and international organizations in the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, she develops strategies and recommendations for promoting Illinois companies globally, working with a variety of multinational organizations. Bochenska also represents the governor and commerce department in global functions, including trade missions and foreign trade delegations. For more than 10 years she has been teaching courses at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management on strategic management, strategic thinking, global business and cultural diversity, diversity and inclusion in both government and business and, in conjunction with Cambridge University and the European Union. Bochenska received her MA from the University of Warsaw and an MA from the University of Chicago, and she is currently completing her PhD from the Warsaw School of Economics.

Debra Brucker

Debra Brucker

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Currently teaching:
Statistics for Research

Debra Brucker has more than 15 years of social and health policy research experience, conducting empirical research, needs assessments, program evaluations and qualitative research for a variety of federal, state and nonprofit organizations. Brucker has held research positions within state government, academic institutions and private organizations. She currently studies the economic well-being of persons with disabilities as a researcher affiliated with the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability. A resident of Maine, she serves on its Governor’s Commission on Disability and Employment and State Rehabilitation Council. Brucker received a PhD in urban planning and public policy from Rutgers University and a master of public administration from the University of Delaware.

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.

David Faller

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Currently teaching:
Global Economic Policy

David Faller has extensive experience in applying the theories of monetary economics and international trade to the solution of real-life issues arising in international business and financial markets. Having started his career as a financial markets trader in Europe, Faller has created and managed derivatives market making businesses, high frequency proprietary trading teams and provided advice on currency exposure management issues to multi-national corporations and governmental bodies in Europe, Asia and the Americas. While leading the global treasury activities of a NASDAQ listed technology company, he was responsible for opening branches in a number of emerging countries where his knowledge of cultural diversity, trade and tariff regulations and international tax regimes were critical in the country location process. He has been teaching courses on international business and capital markets to under-graduate and graduate levels students since 2003. Faller holds an MBA from the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and did graduate studies at the Europa Instituut, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Netherlands, specializing in the economic and legal issues facing member states in economically and politically integrated sovereign areas.

Angela Fontes is the director of the Behavioral and Economic Analysis and Decision-making (BEAD) program area in the Department of Statistics and Methodology at NORC at the University of Chicago. At NORC, Fontes oversees academic, foundation and commercial research focused on economic decision-making and consumer behavior. She is the Principal Investigator on several projects, including a five-year contract with the Securities and Exchange Commission to conduct investor protection research, and NORC’s ongoing collaboration with JUST Capital and Forbes on the JUST 100: America’s Best Corporate Citizens. Fontes' personal research centers on retirement preparedness and methodologies for the collection of household finance data. In addition to utilizing a number of large national/federal data sets including the Survey of Consumer Finances, the Survey of Income and Program Participation, and the Consumer Expenditure Survey, Fontes works extensively with the Financial Well-being and Literacy data collected using NORC’s AmeriSpeak Panel. Fontes' research can be found in journals such as the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, Health Affairs, the Journal of Family and Economic Issues, the Journal of Women, Politics and Policy, Financial Counseling and Planning, and the International Journal of Transportation Research. Prior to NORC, Fontes worked in business and market research consulting with Chamberlain Research Consultants and Leo Burnett. She was recently awarded a Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award at SPS. Fontes is an active member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, the American Council on Consumer Interests, and the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education. She 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.

Scott Goldstein

Scott Goldstein

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Currently teaching:
Global Policy Laboratory

Scott Goldstein, AICP and LEED AP is a principal with Teska Associates, Inc., an urban planning firm based in Evanston, Illinois. His practice includes community and economic development programming with a focus on the Chicago area and other urban areas across the U.S. Clients range from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation to Habitat for Humanity International. Community plans include the Near North Neighborhood, Auburn Gresham, Washington Park, and Albany Park in Chicago, as well as a Master Plan for Altgeld Gardens, the largest family public housing development in Chicago. He has also led community development plans in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Portland, OR and Evansville, IN. He received his M.S.U.P. from Columbia University, and currently serves as chair of the Urban Land Institute of Chicago Public Policy Committee and the Village of Wilmette Plan Commission.

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.

Patrick Higgins, the village manager of Western Springs, Illinois, since 2000, has more than 33 years of experience in public administration and city management. His policy interests include transportation and homeland security, and he has been involved in a variety of regional committees and task forces. He has served as the transportation committee chair of the West Central Municipal Conference for more than 20 years and recently chaired the Regional Transportation Authority’s Cook-DuPage Corridor Technical Committee. Higgins has taught graduate courses in public administration at Chicago-area universities. His recent research interests vary across a wide spectrum: on the application side they include “smart” transportation corridors; on the theoretical side they include the continuing role of classical liberalism in current American political life and the development of a “Whig” model of public administration. Higgins earned an MAPA and PhD from Northern Illinois University with a concentration in public administration and political philosophy.


Robert Kiely has been the city manager for Lake Forest, Illinois, since 1990, overseeing an annual operating budget of $65 million and 252 full-time and 250 part-time employees. During his more than 26 years of municipal experience, Kiely has been involved in many local government issues, including annual operating budgeting, complex land-use negotiations, eight referendums, labor negotiations and personnel matters, strategic planning, state legislation and securing more than $65 million in grants. He has also served as past president of the Intergovernmental Risk Management Agency and was the 2005 recipient of the Northwest Municipal Conference Best Practices Award. Kiely has spoken on a variety of municipal subjects, such as teardowns, historic preservation, home-rule authority and successful referendums. An alumnus of Lake Forest College, he frequently speaks to its political science classes on local government. Kiely received his MPA from the University of Kansas.

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.

David Limardi has worked in public management for 29 years, 24 of those as a chief administrative officer. Formerly the assistant village manager of Wilmette, Illinois, and village manager of Lincolnshire, Illinois, he has been the city manager of Highland Park, Illinois, since 1993. Limardi has served as a vice president of the executive board of the International City-County Management Association and president of the Illinois City-County Management Association and the Chicago Metropolitan City Management Association. Limardi has received an award from ICMA for program excellence in international cooperation and special service awards from both ICMA and ILCMA. He has been a leadership and organizational management instructor for Northwestern’s Center for Public Safety. He received a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas.


Bruce Madariaga is a professor of economics at Montgomery College in Maryland. He previously worked for 15 years for the United States Environmental Protection Agency as a senior economist and manager. In 1997 he was the recipient of the EPA’s highest award, the Gold Medal, for leading the analysis of new national air pollution standards. Madariaga has published a book about applying economic principles, Economics for Life, as well as various articles on agricultural, environmental and natural resource economics and policy and the teaching of economics. He completed his doctoral work in economics from the University of Maryland, specializing in environmental and natural resource economics and policy. Madariaga also earned a MPA degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he studied public policy analysis, management and advocacy.

Maryjane Osa, an organizational sociologist and expert on social movements, is CEO of Lake Mountain, a research and business consulting firm. She has taught at Northwestern, the University of South Carolina and the University of Chicago. In 2003 she published Solidarity and Contention, a study of antiregime organizations in communist Poland. She has discussed her research on Polish television and an episode of PBS’s Frontline. Her articles have appeared in Comparative Sociology, Mobilization, East European Politics and Societies and elsewhere. In eight years at Northwestern she taught core courses for the Business Institutions Program and supervised BA theses for the sociology department. Osa earned her PhD from the University of Chicago.

Seth Payton is a senior fiscal analyst for the Office of Fiscal and Management Analysis, Indiana Legislative Services Agency (LSA). His main areas of focus at the LSA are individual income tax, economic development, gaming, and pensions. Before working for the LSA, Payton served as a faculty member for the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and an analyst for the Indiana University Public Policy Institute from 2000 to 2017. During that time, he completed several research projects for organizations and agencies in the Midwest. Payton also has published papers in multiple peer-reviewed journals, including: Public Finance Review, State and Local Government Review, Social Science Research, Journal of Urban Affairs, Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, and Energy Policy. He received his PhD from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs with concentrations in public finance and policy analysis. His PhD minor is economic geography.

Meghann Pytka is a 2020 Postdoctoral Researcher at Polin: Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland. In addition to working for Northwestern's MPPA program, she teaches at Maryville University in St. Louis. She oversees the Digital Resource Guides for the Association for Women in Slavic Studies; and previously, she was the assistant Director for the program in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (SIUC), where she was also a joint-lecturer in the Department of History and the Honors College. A scholar of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Central and Eastern Europe, her work focuses on topics of genocide and ethnic cleansing, imperialism, anti-colonial resistance, gender inequality, and nationalism. Some of her most recent accolades include faculty fellowships at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), the Holocaust Educational Foundation, the Polish Center for Holocaust Research, the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe (Lviv) through the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure program (EHRI), and the Kolegium Europy Wschodniej (KEW). Pytka's research, writing, and presenting have been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the Fulbright Program, the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), and the Crown Center for Jewish Studies. Pytka earned her PhD in history and a graduate certificate from the interdisciplinary program in Gender and Sexuality Studies from Northwestern University. She has also received the Lacey Baldwin Smith Prize for Teaching Excellence from Northwestern and the Non-Tenure-Track Teaching Award from the College of Arts and Sciences at SIUC.

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.

Ellen Rissman is an economist and senior policy specialist in the economic research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. She provides research and analysis on issues in labor economics, such as self-employment and entrepreneurship and cyclical movements in employment. Rissman’s research has been published in the Journal of Monetary Economics and the Journal of Labor Economics. Her research has also appeared in the Chicago Fed’s research periodicals. Before joining the Chicago Fed in 1985, she completed her doctorate in economics and lectured at Northwestern.

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.

Ricca Slone

Ricca Slone

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Currently teaching:
The Legislative Process

Ricca Slone is an attorney and former state legislator. She was a consultant on regional water supply policy and lobbyist on environmental and sustainability issues for the Environmental Law & Policy Center, a regional nonprofit headquartered in Chicago. In the Illinois General Assembly, Slone chaired the Higher Education Appropriations Committee and was vice chair of the Energy and Environment Committee. She was honored as Legislator of the Year by the Illinois Environmental Council for her work on clean water, land use and smart growth and sustainable development. She has traveled extensively in India to study the feasibility of distributing solar ovens as an alternative to the use of wood for cooking in off-grid rural areas. Slone has an advanced certificate in international law from Chicago-Kent College of Law. She received a JD from the University of Illinois and an MA in public administration from Ohio State University.

William Stenzel is the director of Prairie Land Solutions, a private consulting company that specializes in staffing and scheduling analyses for public safety agencies. He was previously an associate director of Northwestern’s Center for Public Safety. From 1988 to 1993 he served as the principal investigator for the “Police Allocation Manual” project, supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which developed a procedure for determining traffic and patrol staffing needs of state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies. Stenzel also directed and participated in a number of research projects related to the development and assessment of computer-based management tools for the deployment and allocation of police and fire service personnel. He is the coauthor of Police Work Scheduling: Management Issues and Practices. He has a DSc and MS in operations research from Washington University in St. Louis and an MS in statistics.

Morris Taylor is an associate professor in the public administration and policy analysis department at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He has taught courses in public management, policy analysis, public law, program evaluation, ethics, homeland security and public safety. Prior to his academic career Taylor was an administrator with the Social Security Administration in St. Louis; a St. Louis city and county police officer; senior attorney negotiator for State Farm Insurance Companies; and the Ira Glasser Fellow of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, investigating racial profiling and police misconduct. His research interests include police organizations, ethics, administrative law and aspects of civic engagement. His most recent publication is a book chapter in Icons of Crime Fighting: Frank Serpico, published by Greenwood Press. Taylor received his PhD in public policy analysis with a specialization in social jurisprudence from St. Louis University.

Felicity Vabulas is a political scientist whose research focuses on international organizations, international political economy, international law, human rights and foreign policy. She is also a post-doctoral lecturer at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy where she has taught classes in political economy, American political institutions, international organizations and writing for public policy. She also helped lead the Harris School’s international policy practicums to Jordan and Israel, Turkey, Cambodia and Rwanda and Madagascar. Vabulas has ongoing research projects that focus on the effects of foreign lobbying on US foreign policy, the implications of suspensions from international organizations and the increasing use of informal international organizations such as the various G-groups. She has worked as a consultant at Accenture and researcher for the Central Intelligence Agency. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago.

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