Business and Public Management Center
50 Sharpless Street
West Chester, PA 19383
Name: Kathy Koval
Position: Assistant Dean, Director of Business and Public Management Programs
Name: Cindy Cheyney
Position: Assistant Dean
Name: Laurie Christie
Position: Administrative Assistant to the Dean
Name: Danah Allen
Position: Communications and Impact Coordinator
Name: Paige Carey
What drew you to WCU originally? And how has WCU changed since?
"There were a number of things that were really appealing to me about this position. First, my preference was to work in public higher education, especially for a university with accessibility as a mission. I also liked the idea of a graduate-only department. At the time, it was new, so I liked the idea of influencing the direction of the program. I also had a close friend who worked for the university, who really loved working here. As for how our program has changed, we've grown a lot over the past few years. We transitioned from an MSA to an MPA. We've become our own stand-alone department. We've sought external accreditation, and we've launched a new doctoral program in the past year. We've also brought in new faculty and staff, so there's been a lot of change in our department and program specifically. For the university as a whole, it seems to me that it's on the rise. We've earned an enhanced reputation throughout the state as far as the quality of education. It's been very rewarding to see that happen."
What makes CBPM at WCU standout compared to other business and public management programs across the country?
"The relationship between the business programs and the public sector programs is unique. A lot of times those programs are in separate colleges at universities, and if they are in the same college, it can be a tenuous and sometimes inequitable situation. But here at CBPM, it's a very collaborative and supportive environment."
What is the most fulfilling part about working at WCU and/or for CBPM?
"I feel like I'm part of a larger entity throughout the borough of West Chester and Southeastern PA that enhances opportunities for a range of people. Of course, there are opportunities for students through public education, but there are also opportunities for myself and other faculty colleagues and members of staff to get involved and be a part of the community."
What is the cutting edge in your field and how does your research extend it?
"I find public administration to be very exciting and like most other disciplines, it's continuously evolving. These changes are driven by globalization, the pluralization of service prevision across different sectors, etc. So initially, public administration was really confined to intergovernmental workings, but now, intersectoral is a good word to describe us. Anything cutting edge is really able to identify and draw insight from broader trends in governance and then apply them to a very particular context. So, the research I do mostly deals with strategic development and evaluation for non-profit organizations. By working with non-profit organizations in the community, I'm really able to see what's working and simultaneously draw on different approaches and apply them in specific contexts."
How has your research influenced your teaching? In what ways have you been able to bring the insights of your research to your courses?
"Ensuring that our students become civic professionals and competent public service professionals is our primary goal. So, the more experience I can get in the field, the better equipped I am to help students make the transition from an academic program to an applied setting. Most of the research that I do is applied research and I feel really lucky that I'm able to do that, and actually encouraged to get out into the community and do meaningful research in that way. I can then take that back to the classroom and say, ‘This is what works, this is what doesn't work.' A lot of things between theory and practice are lost in translation, so having someone that has made that leap themselves at the head of the class talking about those experiences is beneficial for students. It's a reflective process as well, where when I'm doing this work, I'm thinking, ‘How can I use this in the classroom,' and that enhances both my research and my teaching."
Does any particular moment standout as being your favorite since working at WCU?
"I always enjoy the graduate commencement ceremonies. They always have this collected feeling of accomplishment and optimism that I always feel is very invigorating. It's contagious and fun!"
What advice would you give to our incoming freshman?
"Follow your bliss."
What advice would you give to our graduating seniors?
"Same as the freshman."
What is your guilty pleasure?
"I binge-watch television. When my husband and I got rid of cable television and replaced it with our SmartTV, I thought we were going to watch significantly less television. I'm a big fan of the sketch show That Mitchell and Webb Look."