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Heather G. Getha-Taylor

Primary office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 4060S
University of Kansas


Heather Getha-Taylor, Professor in the KU School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA), serves as Editor-in-Chief of Public Personnel Management. She is the author or co-author of over 60 articles, book chapters, and other scholarly reports. Her article, “Identifying Collaborative Competencies,” received the Best Article Award from Review of Public Personnel Administration. Her collaborative project on leadership training evaluation was recognized by the Kansas City chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (with Jonathan Morris and Michele Biddison). In 2016, she received the KU Steeples Service to Kansans Award for her commitment to engaged scholarship.  


She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in public and nonprofit management and is the recipient of several teaching awards, including the 2021 SPAA Faculty Teacher of the Year. In 2018, she received the Honorable Mention Award from Syracuse University’s Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration for “Epidemic: A Community Health Collaborative Simulation.” In 2017, she was selected as a Hubert Project Fellow by the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. 


Heather has served SPAA, the University of Kansas, and external groups in leadership roles including as the Faculty Fellow for the KU Center for Civic and Social Responsibility (2015-2017) and Book Review Editor for Public Integrity (2015-2017). From 2011-2012, she served as Director of the SPAA undergraduate program. She currently serves on the editorial boards of American Review of Public Administration, Public Integrity, and Review of Public Personnel Administration. She also serves as a member of the College of Expert Reviewers for the European Science Foundation. 


She is a regular presenter at academic conferences and serves professional public service associations in various roles. In 2017, she was elected to the board of the American Society for Public Administration’s Section on Personnel Administration and Labor Relations. She was also appointed to the Government Finance Officers Association’s Research Advisory Council for human capital research. She served as Manager of the Public Management Research Association’s Secretariat from 2018-2020. In 2020, she served as an appointed member of the Johnson County (KS) and Miami County (KS) COVID Relief Fund Workforce Development Teams. 




PhD, Public Administration, Syracuse University, 2007

MPA, University of Georgia, 2002

BA, Communications, Augusta State University, 2000



I teach classes at both the undergraduate and graduate level on multiple campuses (Lawrence, Edwards, and Topeka). 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 and Review of Public Personnel Administration. I currently serve as Editor-in-Chief of Public Personnel Management. I engage with the broader public administration community through engaged scholarship projects, consultation, and association presentations.