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Flint, Michigan Expert Comes to Kent

March 09, 2016

The Department of Political Science would like to welcome our newest assistant professor, Ashley Nickels, who will teach in the Kent State University Master's in Public Administration program. In May, Nickels will graduate with a Ph.D. In public policy and administration, with a specialization in community development, from Rutgers University.

Nickels is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work is primarily focused on urban politics and policy, community-based organizations and local democracy. Her dissertation researched and investigated the political impact of municipal takeovers and the state-directed policies of placing distressed municipalities under state receivership, while appointing an emergency manager and giving this individual broad authority.

Ashley Nickels

While doing a case study on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, Nickels identified how the implementation of a municipal takeover policy—which was carried out by a series of state-appointed emergency managers—reshaped local democracy. This was accomplished by the further consolidation of power to the local elite, which eliminated and further inhibited participatory engagement in local government, while also immobilizing opposition at the grassroots level.

Nickels has also presented and published research on other related topics, such as nonprofit advocacy, community organizing and resilience and feminist community activism.

The department would like to extend a warm welcome to Professor Nickels!