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Travis Whetsell, PhD

News Type Alumni News

Travis Whetsell is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Florida International University. He earned his PhD in public policy and management from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. He also has an MPA degree and a BA degree in political science from Texas State University.

His research interests include social networks in public policy and administration, science and technology policy, and philosophy of public policy and administration.  

Most memorable project during your time at the college:

My most memorable project while earning my PhD at the Glenn College is participating as a co-author with Professor Caroline Wagner on a subsequently published article about large collaboration networks among Nobel Prize winners in medicine or physiology. The research involved coordinating knowledge and incorporating new analytical tools from team members residing in different parts of the world. The experience was unique for me because it was the first time that I collaborated with scholars in different time zones, countries and continents. It was also one of the first major social network analysis projects that I worked on. The Glenn College provided the atmosphere and the training necessary to effectively collaborate on diverse international teams, as well as to push the boundaries in emerging areas of research.

What are you working on now?

My current research is primarily centered on social network analysis in public policy and administration, falling into two general categories:

  • Analysis of cross sector inter-organizational governance networks
  • Public sector intra-organizational (inter-personal) social networks.

My recent article titled "Government as Network Catalyst" published in Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, focuses on how governments can achieve public policy objectives through interventions that aim to stimulate cooperation and catalyze the evolution of large scale self-organizing inter-organizational networks. More recently, I have been working on research that examines factors that influence the emergence of information exchange networks between individuals within city government. This research has proven to be of interest to local government administrators who seek to understand patterns of interaction across teams and departments. I also maintain research activities in science and technology policy, where I am currently working on research that examines the effects of democratic governance on national scientific performance among a large panel of countries in the international system. 

As a graduate of the college what do you hope for the Glenn College as it moves toward the century mark?

Given current social and political turmoil that the country and the world face, the Glenn College's mission of inspiring citizenship and developing leadership has perhaps never been more important than it is today. I hope to see it continue to emphasize public sector leadership, science and technology policy, social networks, and philosophy of public policy and administration. I also hope to see the college maintain and develop its inter-disciplinary orientation with collaborative ties to the STEM disciplines. Finally, I hope that the college maintains its philosophical orientation, always attending to curiosity for the big questions of policy and society.