50 YEARS of academic leadership.
Fifty years ago public affairs education began at The Ohio State University and to celebrate this milestone the John Glenn College of Public Affairs will highlight the programs' academic leadership by featuring former faculty members, their latest works, most memorable projects and their hopes for the college as it moves toward the century mark. Check back often for new profiles added each month.

Mary Tschirhart

Mary Tschirhart is Director of George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration. She spent six years with the John Glenn College of Public Affairs as a professor of nonprofit management and governance. Prior to that, she directed North Carolina State University’s Institute for Nonprofit Research, Education and Engagement and had faculty appointments at Syracuse University and Indiana University.

Tschirhart is a graduate of Michigan State University. She also earned an MBA from State University of New York, and a PhD in organizational behavior and human resource management from the University of Michigan’s School of Business. She is the past president of the Association for Research on Nonprofit and Voluntary Action and serves on the editorial boards for several academic journals. She has more than 100 publications including the books Artful Leadership and Managing Nonprofit Organizations.

Her research examines membership associations and other types of nonprofit organizations, and her board experience includes service with a family foundation, environmental conservation alliance, United Way, CFRE, library, an animal welfare organization and a treatment facility for people recovering from addictions.

Working as a professor at the Glenn College gave me the opportunity to meet and work with many excellent government and nonprofit leaders throughout Ohio. One standout is collaborating with the staff at ServeOhio which oversees the AmeriCorps programs throughout the state, among other activities. With ServeOhio, along with Glenn College doctoral student Yinglin Ma, I have been researching individuals' experience in national service programs and how community service brings professional and personal growth in many facets including leadership, resiliency and self-efficacy. Some of the data is being used by Yinglin Ma for her dissertation which is a very nice bonus. In addition, findings have helped guide practice in service programs and refine models of community engagement. I continue to work with ServeOhio on this now six-year old ever-evolving research endeavor. My journey with ServeOhio is joyful and eye-opening.
I continue to work on topics related to personal and professional development. This includes research on AmeriCorps national service with ServeOhio, and a project examining professional credentialing by membership associations and other providers. Serving as the director of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at George Washington University also is keeping me very busy. Having my first year in a new position, at a new university, during a pandemic, as well as the changes in higher education the situation has required, has been keeping me on my toes.
It was my pleasure to help build the nonprofit management program while at the Glenn College. The college is the leader within Ohio State in this domain, and it can continue to strengthen its role in helping current and future leaders in the increasingly important nonprofit sector. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many reflections on the role of government and nonprofit organizations in addressing local to global challenges. I am confident that in the next 50 years, members of the Glenn College community will make significant contributions to conversation about what is needed in and across sectors to learn from our experiences and move forward towards a healthier and more resilient world.

Barton Wechsler

Barton Wechsler earned his doctorate in 1985 when the Glenn College was known as the School of Public Policy Management. He is dean emeritus and professor of Public Affairs at the Truman School of Public Affairs of the University of Missouri. Before founding the Truman School, he served as the founding dean of the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, and as a faculty member at the University of Illinois and Florida State University.

While at Florida State, he received the University Teaching Award. Wechsler continues to teach several graduate courses in public management, including strategic management and organization dynamics and leadership. He has conducted leadership development programs for public officials, fire and police officers, and nonprofit executives and served as a consultant to more than forty government and nonprofit organizations.

His research on public management has been published in Public Administration Review, Administration and Society, Journal of the American Planning Association, Public Productivity and Management Review, Review of Public Personnel Administration, other academic and practitioner journals, and numerous edited books. He was elected to the National Academy of Public Administration in 2015.

My strongest memory of my time as a doctoral student grew out of the wonderful collegiality among students and faculty, the shared commitment to advance knowledge of public management and policy. For those of us who had the privilege of studying with Bob Backoff, there was a perpetual state of awe at the breadth of his reading. It seemed that none of us had ever encountered something with which he was not already familiar. I still remember how gleeful I felt at mentioning some obscure book that was new to him.
As the Glenn College celebrates its 50th anniversary, I hope it will continue the path of excellence envisioned by the founding generation as well as its namesake; engaged, interdisciplinary scholarship that advances the study and practice of governance, prepares the next generation of scholars and public service professionals, informs policymakers and promotes dialogue on critical public issues. I believe this vision has the power to carry the Glenn College forward for the next fifty years.

Yijia Jing

Yijia Jing earned his doctorate in 2005 from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs and is dean of the Institute for Global Public Policy and co-director of the LSE-Fudan Research Centre for Global Public Policy at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Jing is a Chang Jiang Scholar, and also serves as Seaker Chan Chair Professor in Public Management and Professor of the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at the university. He earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Economics from Peking University and a Masters of Arts in Sociology from the University of Maryland College Park. Jing’s research focuses on privatization, governance and collaborative service delivery. His research is published in many professional journals including Public Administration Review, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Governance, International Public Management Journal.

Jing is the editor of the Fudan Public Administration Review. He is also a co-editor of the International Public Management Journal, was an associate editor of Public Administration Review, and was a founding co-editor of the Palgrave book series, Governing China in the 21st Century.Formerly, Jing was vice president of the International Research Society for Public Management (Asia) as well as associate director of Foreign Affairs at Fudan University.

I graduated in the summer of 2005. For students studying at that period, the most memorable event may have to be the merger between the School of Public Policy and Management (SPPM) and the Glenn Institute for Public Service. I moved into the Page Hall the second half of 2004 and was impressed by the ample and modern space of the building, and the education/research tenets it upheld. Since the merger, the Glenn College has made milestone progress in all aspects of a leading public affairs school. I am proud of my two dissertation advisors, Professor Bert Rockman, former director of SPPM, and Professor Trevor Brown, now dean of the Glenn College, as well as all other SPPM faculty members for their contribution to this great transformation.
I have been back in China for 15 years, teaching and researching at Fudan University. What excites me most is the increasing quality of public administration research in China as well as the growing attention paid by the international public affairs community on China issues. China is a huge country with a long and continuing civilization, and it has managed to become the second-largest economy from a very underdeveloped condition. China’s path toward modernization and governance is very different from others. There is huge potential of academic research and theory building through examining western theories in the China context, developing on-the-ground practices and knowledge, and doing genuine comparative studies. Besides that, I am now heading the Fudan Institute for Global Public Policy, which hosts graduate degree programs and embraces interdisciplinary policy studies. It’s thrilling to develop knowledge and theories of global public policy and governance in the absence of a global government.
Senator Glenn has been a symbol of courage and reaching out for the unknown. The college has been moving in this direction. I trust it will always do better.

John R. Bartle

John R. Bartle earned his doctorate in 1990 from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs and is dean of the College of Public Affairs and Community Service at the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) and a professor of public administration. Formerly, Bartle directed UNO’ s School of Public Administration, led its MPA program and held a faculty appointments as the David Scott Diamond Professor of Public Affairs. Bartle also maintained courtesy faculty appointments in Environmental Studies, and Health Services Research and Administration. He also held a courtesy faculty appointment with the Center for Public Administration at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China.

Bartle has served the National Academy of Public Administration, where he is currently on the Board of Directors. He has also served in numerous elected positions for the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, the American Society for Public Administration and the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management. His research focuses on public financial policy and management, budgeting, transportation and state and local government. He is the co-author or editor of three books, Evolving Theories of Public Budgeting (2001), Sustainable Development for Public Administration (2009), and Management Policies in Local Government Finance (2012). Currently, Bartle is involved in research on sustainability in transportation, public financial management and tax policy.

It did what an outstanding educational program should do. It challenged me to my limits while providing me with a safe place to land. I took doctoral level courses in several other disciplines and had to dig deep to learn the material. Yet, I know that the faculty were in my corner and would help me find my strengths and enhance them. When you can do that you move past insecurity to embrace any change.

Also, I met my wife at Ohio State, the best change in my life!
My advisor Chuck Adams told me there is a beginning, a middle and an end in one’s career, and you need to have a plan for each phase. As I approach the third of these phases, I can’t say I have a plan yet, but I know that it will be guided by my own motivations, and not tossed like a cork in the ocean.
I deeply hope that the Glenn College, and all colleges of public affairs, can bring more motivated young people into careers in the public and nonprofit sectors. I hope the next generation will see the wonderful opportunities and use their management and policy skills to restore respect to public service, make their organizations efficient and effective, and make society more equitable. I think the anti-government movement is on its last legs, and the future will encourage cooperation, authentic dialogue and partnerships. So to the John Glenn College of Public Affairs students I say, lead on!

Sara Rinfret

Sara Rinfret earned her MPA degree in 2005 when the Glenn College was known as the School of Public Policy Management. She serves as chair for the Department of Public Administration and Policy, and as director for the Master of Public Administration Program at the University of Montana, where she helped the program obtain NASPAA accreditation for the first time. Rinfret spearheaded the creation of the University of Montana’s Big Sky Poll, an applied learning experience for students to understand the creation and implementation of public opinion research.

Rinfret has co-authored five books and studied with scholars at the University of Aarhus (Denmark)as a Fulbright Scholar. In 2018, she was selected by University of Montana student alumni as the "most inspirational teacher" of the year. She was nominated and selected for NASPAA Next, an institute for the future of public affairs education. Rinfret also serves as a faculty fellow for the University of Montana's Women's Leadership Initiative.

I am committed to current and future faculty and student success. In my role as department chair, I want to ensure pre-career and mid-career professionals have the skills necessary to meet the demands of a diverse and changing workforce. Faculty development is essential, so I am working to design new teaching evaluation mechanisms to ensure success for minorities within the profession. I also work to push the public administration and policy fields to use innovative teaching approaches to help public and nonprofit sector agencies adapt to meet the ever-changing needs of the public. My motto is to “pay it forward” and provide positive opportunities for students, faculty, and staff at the University of Montana to excel. This spirit continues within me today, because of the strong guidance and support I received from Glenn College faculty.
The Glenn College transforms the lives of students and its community. It will continue to excel and make a tremendous impact through faculty research, student development and community outreach. Public policy creation and innovation will continue to be made in the classrooms and faculty offices of Page Hall. The significant work of Professor Anand Desai and Dean Trevor Brown, MPA alumni, and the faculty and staff allows the Glenn College to thrive today and beyond. Its strong public sector ethos will continue to shape public policy in Ohio, the region and across the United States.

Brint Milward

Brint Milward earned his doctorate from The John Glenn College of Public Affairs. Currently, he holds the Melody S. Robidoux Foundation Fund Leadership Chair at the University of Arizona and was the first director of the School of Government and Public Policy. Milward also served as director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, whose honorary co-chairs were President George Herbert Walker Bush and President Bill Clinton. He was the first president of the Public Management Research Association and is a former president of NASPAA. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and was the recipient of the 2019 H. George Frederickson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Public Management Research Association. In 2010, he won the NASPAA/ASPA Distinguished Research Award. Milward's research interests revolve around networks and collaboration. His research has focused on understanding how to manage networks of nonprofit and for-profit organizations that jointly produce public services. He has conducted studies of what happens when governments privatize public services, or what he calls, governing the “hollow state." Several of these articles are classics in public administration with one named as one of the most influential articles published by Public Administration Review in its 75-year history. In 2018, PS, the journal of the American Political Science Association, recognized him as the 14th most cited scholar in the combined subfields of public administration, public policy and public law. Since 9/11 he has also studied illegal and covert networks that pursue grievances or greed. His articles on "dark networks" have been widely cited for their application of network analysis and management theory to terrorist networks, human trafficking and drug smuggling. This work on “dark networks” has led to his participation in federal research grants worth over $10,000,000 since 2009.

The most important thing that I have learned is to be ready to move when an opportunity arises. The same thing is also true when disaster strikes. In both cases, regular rules do not apply, a lot can be accomplished, and change can occur much faster than in normal times.

Let me give you an example. In the great recession of 2008, the University of Arizona lost a third of its budget in two months. The president of the university demanded drastic cuts from the deans. Located in the College of Management, my school of public administration and policy was the lamb the dean chose to bring to the slaughter. Immediately we contacted our alumni and donors and told them we intended to fight this decision. They were happy to support us, and by the next day, there was a story on the front page of the newspaper, quoting our alums and donors as being outraged that one of the best units in the College of Management was going to be eliminated with no discussion, analysis or evaluation.

At the same time, we knew that we had to present the president of the university with a solution. We had been in discussions with the Political Science Department earlier that year about a merger. They had a large undergraduate program; we had a very strong MPA program and an enviable record of doctoral placement. Working with the head of the Political Science Department, we put together a white paper that made the case for merger and how the combined units would increase the scope and scale of the new school, and save money as well. With the continued help of our donors, alums – especially those in key positions in state government – and students, the white paper was accepted. Ten years later, the School of Government & Public Policy is the largest school at the University of Arizona, and one of the most successful.

The moral is that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.
Last month, I stepped down as director of the School of Government and Public Policy after serving ten years. I am thrilled to be going back to the faculty and my teaching and research. My goal is to write and teach about how to “manage the hollow state.”

Teaching students how to manage contracting networks effectively is a daunting task to do well. We have to know much more about how these networks function, and the relations between these networks, as well as the organizations that make them up. I try to impress on my students that in a network, every manager has two jobs. They have to help manage the network and, at the same time, manage their organization in that network. Public managers need to have a set of tools to help them manage across organizations and sectors.

I tell my students, somewhat ironically, that the great thing about managing networks is that you have hundreds of people working for you in many different organizations; the problem, of course, is that they don’t know they work for you.
I think the Glenn College is on track to become one of the very finest schools of public affairs in the world. It has an excellent faculty working in terrifically important areas. I’m extremely impressed with the leadership of Dean Trevor Brown. Now that it is a college, it has the visibility it needs to compete with the handful of other top schools of public affairs like Indiana, Syracuse, USC, and Washington.

It is also very fortunate to have alumni at the professional, masters and doctoral level who greatly value the education they received at Ohio State, and are willing and able to help the Glenn College achieve its goals and aspirations. I know that I am.

Anand Desai

Professor Emeritus Anand Desai was instrumental in leading the merger between the School of Public Policy and Management with the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy to create the John Glenn School of Public Affairs. While at the college he taught statistics, mathematical modeling, evaluation, and simulation for public policy analysis. His research is focused on use-inspired theory and applications of evaluative inquiry, performance measurement, data visualization, and spatial analyses. He is currently the Research Policy and Assessment Advisor for the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate Analytic. Previously he had been at the National Science Foundation as the head of the Evaluation and Assessment Capability Section in the Office of Integrative Activities.

Recently, my research interests have been gravitating towards studying the research lifecycle starting with understanding what constitutes high quality research at the individual and institutional levels. In this context I am interested in the role of data mining, machine learning, network analysis, computational tools and visualization in automating the search for answers. Some of the questions that arise in this context are: How is a researcher contributing to the scientific knowledgebase? What is the focus of this research? Who else is doing similar research? Where is it being conducted? What are the different ways in which this research, which enhances the knowledgebase, also contribute to attaining societal objectives such as enhancing human welfare?

Similar questions can be asked about universities and research institutions. What does the research portfolio of a university department or the university look like? Where does it lie on a map of the knowledge landscape and how does it contribute to advancing the frontiers of science? Who is training the next generation of scholars and researchers? How is the scientific environment evolving? Are these young scholars well equipped to address the new challenges?

Another set of questions revolve around the needs of government agencies and organizations that fund research and publishers of research. They seek reviewers who can help identify high quality research proposals for funding or papers for publications. Finding reviewers who can competently assess the novelty and transformative potential of the proposed research is further complicated by the increasing focus on multi-disciplinary and convergent research. So, a practical question in this case might be: how do we find appropriate reviewers?
Over the last thirty plus years, I have been involved in many memorable projects that involved fruitful collaborations with Glenn College faculty, students, policy makers and practitioners. The first project, funded by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, in collaboration with my first doctoral student, Dr. Min-Bong You, was a study of fatal accidents on Ohio highways to inform the decision to raise the speed limit from 55 MPH to 65 MPH. Although we learned a lot about Ohio highways, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, accidents and driving habits, and presented our finding to the Ohio legislature, I do not know to what extent we influenced the debate on raising the speed limit, however, our analysis did inform the debate on and passage of the seat belt law in Ohio.

Another successful collaboration, with Professor Rob Greenbaum, was on funding for Medicaid. We started with a small project to study the potential effect of cuts in Medicaid funding, which evolved into a multi-year activity involving several doctoral students, researchers from outside the university and state officials. Here again, our analysis and findings informed the various debates surrounding funding changes — cutbacks as well as expansion under the Affordable Care Act — and their effects on the state economy and the welfare of those eligible to receive Medicaid.
Over the last fifty years, the Glenn College, in its many incarnations and manifestations, has been at the forefront of public affairs education, scholarship and public service. Over the next fifty years, I am hopeful that these distinctions we make among teaching, research, and service will melt away and that faculty, students, and staff will collaboratively engage in participatory models of education and training to fully embrace use-inspired research and service that contributes to the public interest.

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