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Holly T. Goerdel

Associate Professor
Primary office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 4060N
University of Kansas


Professor Goerdel is currently on leave. 

Holly Goerdel’s research focuses on public management, security governance, and the effects of privatization on democracy.



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 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 & society, wartime contracting, privatized incarceration, emergency management, 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 partner and two young children.


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.