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Shannon K. Portillo

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Primary office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 4060T
University of Kansas
1445 Jayhawk Blvd
Lawrence, KS 66045

Shannon Portillo, Ph.D. serves as associate dean of academic affairs for the University of Kansas Edwards Campus and the School of Professional Studies and as a professor in the School of Public Affairs and Administration at the University of Kansas. Dr. Portillo’s scholarship explores how formal policies and rules and informal social norms shape the work of public organizations. She is specifically interested in how racism and sexism impact organizations and workers’ experiences both historically and currently. Her work helps scholars and practitioners understand how inequities have been institutionalized in public organizations, including courts, policing, city management, higher education, and the military. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Women’s Foundation, the Army Research Institute, and other entities. Her work has appeared in a broad array of academic and popular outlets, and she is currently working on her second book. Community service is a core value. Dr. Portillo serves as Co-Chair of Governor Laura Kelly’s Commission on Racial Equity and Justice and Chair of the Douglas County Commission.


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