Holly T. Goerdel

Associate Professor
Primary office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 4060N


I teach in all of our programs, including undergraduates, Honors undergraduates, Intern and Career option MPA programs, the interdisciplinary master's program for Interagency Studies, and the Ph.D. program. I work across four campuses, including KU Lawrence, Edwards, Topeka-PMC, and Fort Leavenworth. I offer full-length semester courses, intensive formats, and hybrid delivery. All syllabi are kept up to date with most recent research, reports, and data. Successfully experiment with new assignments and content delivery for student learning and assessment. Seek regular teaching mentorship, attend teaching panels at national conferences, participate in teaching activities outside the classroom, including one-on-one and small group interactions with students regarding projects, learning objectives, general direction and feedback. Participate in public teaching engagements with current and past students at ICMA, annual ALOC conference, and gatherings of the National Urban Fellows, among others. Seek feedback and ideas from recent students, senior and junior faculty, and faculty mentors outside of SPAA and KU.

Teaching Interests

  • Public Management
  • Organization Analysis
  • Public Administration & Democratic Theory
  • Collaboration & Interagency
  • Surveillance & Society


Dr. Holly T. Goerdel is Associate Professor of Public Administration in the School of Public Affairs & Administration at the University of Kansas. She earned a Ph.D. in Political Science at Texas A&M University and is a public management scholar attracted to research questions that refine how governance works in a democracy, including insights relevant to those responsible for managing real problems across a range of policy areas, including public health, education, political advocacy of nonprofits, security, surveillance, wartime contracting, privatized incarceration, emergency preparedness, community arts sustainability, and population health & housing.

Specifically, she has made contributions to understanding gendered leadership in public schools, discourses of accountability when managing wartime contracting, emergent narratives about what drives interagency collaboration, contemporary effects of political ‘gentlemen’s agreements’ on allocations of funding for homeland security, differences between public and private prison guards, urban sustainability through arts’ networks in cities experiencing economic distress, and how to reposition social capital as a durable resource for communities trying to prepare for emergencies, or that are disrupted by economic crises, like foreclosure, that influence public health and well-being.

Dr. Goerdel’s research has been competitively funded, published in top journals, in university press book chapters and in government reports. She serves as co-editor or editorial board member for well-known research outlets, participates on leadership boards for academic associations, has led or served on numerous award committees honoring the contributions of emerging and long-standing scholars, among many other professional activities. She lives in Lawrence, KS, with her husband and two young children and is an active triathlete in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area.


I contribute service to the School of Public Affairs & Administration, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the University, and to national/international professional Associations and their respective conferences and academic journals, among other professional activities.

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PMC Events, Classes & Deadlines
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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