Our Practitioner Faculty

Kent State University’s faculty are devoted advocates for their students and for the fields of public and nonprofit service. They collectively bring an extensive history of academic research combined with significant in-field work experience, allowing our programs to balance academic rigor with a practitioner focus. Learn from faculty who have:

  • Specialized in a wide variety of topics that influence public administration and policy – including e-government, immigration policy and privatization, and public policy reform
  • Served as leaders within the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA)
  • Held positions within the local and state government
  • Published articles in a wide variety of public administration and public policy journals including Public Administration Review, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, Administration & Society, and International Public Management Journal

Faculty Spotlight on Dr. Anthony D. Molina

Anthony Molina comes from a public service background. His father was a Cleveland police officer, and his mother was a nurse. After graduating from high school, he went into the Air Force and got a taste for public service. “I got into public administration because I’m attracted to public service,” Molina says. “I grew up in a family where public service was highly valued.”

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Anthony D. Molina, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Interim Department Chair | Department of Political Science
Master of Public Administration

Anthony Molina is currently an Associate Professor and Interim Department Chair of Political Science. Before coming to Kent State University, he served as Director of Graduate Studies and an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of South Dakota. His teaching and research interests include political philosophy, professional ethics, administrative law, qualitative research methods, public administration theory and the role of public service values in administrative decision making. His scholarly work has been published in Administration & Society, Journal of Public Affairs Education and the International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior.

Dr. Molina received his MPA in in 1999 and his Ph.D. in Urban Studies and Public Affairs from the Maxine Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University in 2004.

Ashley Nickels

Assistant Professor - Department of Political Science
Master of Public Administration
+1 330-672-0900

Ashley Nickels is an assistant professor of political science at Kent State University. She holds a PhD in Public Affairs, with a specialization in Community Development, from Rutgers University-Camden. Her primary field of study is public policy and administration, with an emphasis in nonprofit and community-based organizations. Her research interests fall broadly into four categories: urban governance, local democracy and political participation, nonprofit advocacy and community-based organizing, and feminist activism.

Learn more about Ashley Nickels

Brian Kelley

Instructor - Department of Political Science
Master of Public Administration

Learn more about Brian Kelley

Casey Boyd-Swan

Assistant Professor - Department of Political Science
Master of Public Administration

Casey Boyd-Swan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science. Her primary research area focuses on the impact of early care and education environments on measures of family and child well-being, including child cognitive and behavioral development, health and physical well-being, and parental mental and physical health.

Recent research includes examining the population of parents and children who use nonparental child care during evening and overnight hours, implementing resume audit studies to identify how child care centers perceive “quality” during hiring decisions, and exploring measures of self-reported happiness as potential markers of public policies’ success or failure, particularly for disadvantaged groups. Her broader research agenda is to provide a more nuanced and rigorous examination of how early childhood experiences influence children’s well-being, both contemporaneously and as they age. Her scholarly work has been published in the Journal of Urban Economics and the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) Discussion Paper Series.

Daniel Chand

Associate Professor - Department of Political Science
Master of Public Administration

Daniel E. Chand (“Danny”) received his Ph.D. in Public Policy in the Policy Management specialization at the University of Arkansas and has a masters in Political Science with an emphasis in Community Development from Illinois State University. His primary areas of interests are policy implementation (specifically relating to immigration policy) and political activities by nonprofits. His current research projects include an examination of 501(c) nonprofits involved in federal elections and a study of disparities in immigration court outcomes. He has worked with a number of policy nonprofits, such as Emily’s List and the American Civil Liberties Union. Before earning his Ph.D., he designed and implemented community development projects and program evaluations in both the United States and abroad. From 2006 through 2008, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Zambia. Dr. Molina received his MPA in in 1999 and his Ph.D. in Urban Studies and Public Affairs from the Maxine Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University in 2004.

Learn more about Daniel Chand

Daniel Haws, Ph.D

MPA Coordinator and Associate Professor - Department of Political Science
Master of Public Administration

Daniel Hawes’ research interests deal with questions related to public policy and public administration, broadly, and substantively focus on education and immigration policy. His research incorporates aspects of public administration, public management and state and local politics in examining questions of public policy and policy performance. A central theme in his research is a focus on the determinants of public policy outcomes, particularly for disadvantaged groups. A fundamental question that his work has sought to address is how can government—via policy, structure, bureaucracy or management—better address the inequalities we observe in policy outcomes for disadvantaged groups? In doing so, his work has explicitly examined the role of public management, organizational structure, political representation, organizational and external environments on shaping policy outcomes. He has approached this broad question through different theoretical lenses (social capital, representative bureaucracy, rational choice, public management) and in different substantive contexts (K-12 education, higher education and immigration).

Dr. Hawes earned his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 2008.

Learn more about Dr. Hawes

Mark Cassell, Ph.D.

Professor of Political Science - Department of Political Science
Master of Public Administration

Mark K. Cassell is Professor of Political Science where he teaches courses in public policy and administration, comparative public policy and urban politics. His scholarship is mainly concerned with understanding public sector transformation.

His work includes How Governments Privatize: The Politics of Divestment in the United States and Germany (Georgetown University Press, 2003). The book compares the Resolution Trust Corporation with Germany’s Treuhandanstalt, the agency charged with taking over, managing and privatizing the industrial assets of the former East Germany. The book received the 2003 Charles H. Levine Award for the best book in public policy and administration.

Dr. Cassell holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MPA from the Robert LaFollette Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Learn more about Dr. Cassell

Vernon Sykes, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Political Science - Department of Political Science
Master of Public Administration

Dr. Sykes has had a long and productive career in public service. In addition to working for Summit County government, he served two terms on the Akron City Council and eighteen years in the Ohio House of Representatives. During his time in the House of Representatives, he served as the Assistant Majority Floor Leader, chaired several committees and served as President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus. Professor Sykes was nationally recognized for sponsoring the strongest Fair Housing Law of any state in the nation. He has provided policy leadership to improve public education, to toughen child abuse laws, to prevent railroad crossing fatalities and to compensate wrongfully imprisoned individuals, as well as a host of other legislative actions to serve the public good.

In addition to his public service, Dr. Sykes has taught Urban Studies and Social and Applied Economics at the University of Akron.

Dr. Sykes received his Ph.D. from the University of Akron in 2001.

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Featured Article

January 11, 2022
Between websites, social media, emails and snail-mail, the sheer volume of available information about master’s degree programs can make a prospective student’s head spin—or, worse, they can overwhelm that candidate into forgoing graduate school altogether. There’s an easier, much more productive way forward.
November 22, 2021
Nonprofits are allowed to advocate for social issues but how far can they go to change public policy? Kent State MPA faculty researched this topic studying immigrant-serving organizations to find out how nonprofits are using their status to make changes for the people who depend on them.
October 11, 2021
MPA stands for Master of Public Administration. As the name suggests, most people who pursue this degree work in the public sector which includes any part of a state or national economy that is tied to public programs or services and is controlled by the government.
September 28, 2021
An online MPA degree will substantially increase your earning potential and prepare you to be a top-tier agent of positive change. Keep reading to learn all the details about earning an online Master of Public Administration or MPA degree, from a full program description to the excellent career options you can look forward to as a master of public administration.
September 27, 2021
Grad school can open a world of opportunities. People interested in strengthening skills to head an organization might need to make a decision between more than one degree, specifically: a Master of Public Administration (MPA) or Master of Business Administration (MBA).
August 23, 2021
As with jobs in all industries, jobs in the public sector have certain advantages and disadvantages. While each person might have their own opinion of what constitutes a positive or negative aspect of any career, read on for our take on the pros and cons of working in the public sector.
June 24, 2021
In 2020, the nature of work changed rapidly. The pace of change has only continued to accelerate in 2021, with many companies keeping hybrid work schedules—a reality that seemed a distant dream prior to the pandemic. Fortunately for many learners hoping to achieve greater economic prosperity, higher education is changing, as well.
June 23, 2021
If recent newspaper headlines are to be believed, many people are wondering if the U.S. government is getting too large. While it’s true that over 15% of the workforce is involved in the military, public and national service, the size of the U.S. government proportionate to the total population has actually shrunk in the last 50 years.
June 11, 2021
The terms ‘public sector’ and ‘private sector’ appear frequently in the news. Reports on the pandemic, the economy and employment numbers, among other topics, often discuss how each sector will be affected by recent developments. Exactly what are the private and public sectors, and how do they differ from each other?
June 09, 2021
Professionals in human resources management in public service are facing a previously unimagined crisis due to COVID-19. As a result, many HR teams are working on crisis response plans because, especially in a crisis, employees need to feel safe and supported to perform their best work.
May 24, 2021
Public sector government agencies are present in every city and town around the world, with employees undertaking a wide variety of projects aimed at improving their local community. These involve things like health and safety, transport infrastructure, parks and recreation, sewage and water, schools, hospitals and municipal buildings.
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