Policymakers increasingly turn to third parties to deliver public services through outsourcing, contracting, public-private partnerships, and other market-based techniques. For scholars of public administration, the imperative is to better understand the accountability dynamics in third-party governance structures, especially those related to the contract implementation process. Professor Girth researches implementation issues and accountability challenges in third-party governance. She studies the strategies that front-line public managers utilize to manage their contracts, contract markets, and various constituencies. She examines how public managers design and implement performance incentives to motivate contractor behavior. She also analyzes inclusion policies that target underrepresented groups in order to understand the impact of such acquisition policies on purchasing agencies and suppliers.
She received her doctorate in public administration from the School of Public Affairs at American University. She has a Master of Business Administration degree from The George Washington University, where she specialized in management decision making. She also has a Bachelor of Science degree in public administration and policy from Oakland University.
For over a decade, she worked, taught, and studied in Washington, D.C. Prior to her academic appointments, she was a manager in a global management consulting firm overseeing information technology transformation initiatives for clients such as the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development. She is an expert in project management and she has been a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) since 2004. Her career began with an internship in Michigan state government that later turned into her first full-time job. She worked in both the executive and legislative branches, and among other activities, advanced policy initiatives associated with disability, civil rights, and women’s issues.
Her research on government contracting and accountability challenges in third-party governance is published in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, the Journal of Supply Chain Management, Public Administration Review, International Public Management Journal, and Administration & Society, among other outlets. Her research on federal contracting has been funded by the U.S. Department of the Navy and the National Center for the Middle Market, where she is also a Fellow (2016-18). She was awarded the 2011 Leonard D. White Award for the best dissertation in public administration from the American Political Science Association.
She teaches public management courses in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. She teaches Public Management (3500) and Leadership in Public and Nonprofit Organizations (2130) to undergraduates. In 2016, she was honored to receive the Glenn College outstanding undergraduate teaching award. In the graduate program, she teaches one of the public management capstones, Strategy for Public Organizations.
She was recently named co-editor in chief for the Journal of Strategic Contracting and Negotiation and is on the editorial board for Perspectives on Public Management & Governance. She is involved with a number of professional associations. Of mention, she is on the Executive Committee for the Public and Nonprofit Division of the Academy of Management, and she is actively engaged with Academic Women in Public Administration, a grassroots movement to advance gender issues in the field.