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Heather G. Getha-Taylor

Associate Professor
Primary office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 4060S

Heather Getha-Taylor is an Associate Professor in the KU School of Public Affairs and Administration. Her PhD is from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University.


I teach classes at both the undergraduate and graduate level on multiple campuses (Lawrence, Edwards, and Topeka). My primary course offerings include: human resource management, collaboration, and public service leadership. I believe in engaged scholarship and the premise that teaching and research should inform and reinforce one another. I strive to help students become evidence-based managers who can effectively use theory and empirical research to address practical challenges. Further, I work to design course components that connect with contemporary themes and audiences outside the classroom. I seek to engage students with different learning styles in meaningful ways by utilizing a variety of teaching approaches. Finally, I value reflective practice and encourage students to thoughtfully apply course lessons to their own professional development during their academic journey and beyond.

Teaching Interests

  • Public and nonprofit management, collaboration, human resource management, public service leadership


My research focuses on the public sector workforce, with special emphasis on the changing dimensions of public work, including enhanced expectations for boundary-spanning collaboration. I explore, for instance, the ways in which collaborators work to develop trust, illustrate collaborative competencies, and adapt leadership styles and practices. Connected to this, I also work on leadership training and development projects, including those that consider the design, evaluation, and impact of these programs. Exploring the connection between theory and practice is important to me and I seek to understand ways in which established frameworks and assumptions influence, or are influenced by, contemporary realities. My current work, for instance, reflects a tension between enduring values and emerging priorities, which is a unifying theme across projects.

Research Interests

  • Public and nonprofit management, collaboration, human resource management, public service leadership


I serve the KU School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA), the University of Kansas, and the broader academic and practitioner communities in a number of ways. Within SPAA, I’ve served on a variety of departmental committees and also in leadership roles, including chairing the nonprofit curriculum task force, coordinating SPAA learner outcomes assessments, and serving as undergraduate program coordinator. At the university level, I have served as a faculty fellow for the Center for Civic and Social Responsibility and as a faculty ambassador for the Center for Teaching Excellence. For the academic community, I serve as a reviewer for a variety of scholarly journals and am a member of the editorial boards of Public Integrity, Review of Public Personnel Administration, and Public Personnel Management. I engage with the broader public administration community through engaged scholarship projects, consultation, and association presentations.

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Ranked in the top 10 master of public affairs programs in the nation
—U.S. News & World Report
#1 in the nation for city management and urban policy

— U.S. News & World Report

#5 in the nation for public management

— U.S. News & World Report
Three faculty have won W.T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence
Rosemary O’Leary is KU’s Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor of Public Administration
Four MPA graduates have been elected president of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
Founder of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (JPART)
Four faculty are National Academy of Public Administration Fellows
Bob Kipp, vice president of Hallmark Cards, was a 2012 recipient of the CLAS Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award
Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. secretary of health and human services, was a 2009 recipient of the CLAS Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award
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