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Shannon K. Portillo

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Assistant Vice Chancellor of Undergraduate Programs - Edwards Campus
Associate Professor
Primary office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 4060T
University of Kansas
1445 Jayhawk Blvd
Lawrence, KS 66045


Shannon Portillo, Ph.D. is Assistant Vice Chancellor of Undergraduate Programs at the KU Edwards Campus and an Associate Professor in the School of Public Affairs and Administration at the University of Kansas. Dr. Portillo takes an interdisciplinary approach to her work pulling on organizational theories rooted in Public Administration and Law and Society to explore how rules and policies are carried out within public organizations. To date she has done work in a broad array of organizations including the military, problem-solving courts, probation, restorative justice programs, administrative hearings, policing, higher education and city management. Using a variety of methods, she collects empirical data to assess how social, cultural and legal factors influence the day-to-day operations in these organizations. Teaching and research interests include social equity, social justice, organizational theory, and law and public management. Her work has appeared in Law & Policy, Administration & Society, Law & Social Inquiry, Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory and Public Administration Review.


Ph.D., Public Administration, University of Kansas

B.A., Political Science,International Studies Co-Major, University of Kansas


In all of my courses I have three goals: 1) to facilitate open and critical discussion around the topic area, 2) to connect the themes of the course directly to current issues and debates and 3) to develop students’ critical thinking through meaningful writing activities. I want students to develop into critical consumers of knowledge rather than memorize specific cases, statistics or facts. My classes are designed to give students the capacity to look at current and historical issues in public affairs through many critical lenses so they may have a broad base from which to develop their own views.

Teaching Interests

  • Law & Society
  • Social Equity
  • Social Justice
  • Law & Public Management


My research focuses on how managers and street level workers adhere to policy while navigating formal (rules/laws) and informal (norms) organizational structures.

Research Interests

  • Law & Society
  • Social Equity
  • Social Status
  • Race/Ethnicity and Gender
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Rules & Public Law
  • Organizational Theory


I am committed to professional service in School of Public Affairs & Administration as well as my broader professional community. This year I am serving on 50th anniversary planning committee for the Law & Society Association. I also regularly serve as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation as well as numerous publications in our field. In addition, I strive to translate my scholarship for practice and regularly present to community groups and practitioner audiences.