SUU Hires New Director for Master of Public Administration Program

Published: September 14, 2021 | Author: Kenzie Lundberg | Read Time: 2 minutes

Dr. Donna Handley, MPA directorSouthern Utah University’s Master of Public Administration Program recently appointed Dr. Donna Handley as its new director. Dr. Handley comes to SUU from Arkansas State University where she served as the Online MPA director.

“The SUU MPA Program is a dynamic, growing program that has strong leadership and has just been re-accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Affairs, Policy, and Administration (NASPAA),” said Dr. Handley. “I am honored to join the dedicated team at SUU and continue working to promote public service values and quality leadership among our community.”

Dr. Handley succeeds Dr. Angela Pool-Funai who was recently hired as the dean of the Graduate School at Fort Hays State University.

We are so excited to have Donna leading our MPA program,” said Dr. Joel Vallett, assistant professor of public administration at SUU. “Donna not only has a strong background teaching MPA students, but she also has a wealth of experience engaging students in an online environment. As our program continues to grow within the online modality, Donna is perfectly positioned to help our program succeed. I am confident that not only will our students benefit from Donna's past experiences, but that our faculty have a lot to gain from having Donna leading the way. Ultimately, this is a wonderful hire for the MPA program and ensures that we continue to advance on the high-quality degree that we offer here at SUU."

Most recently the online MPA director at Arkansas State University, Dr. Handley previously served as an Assistant and Tenured Associate Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her local government experience includes serving as the City of Auburn, Alabama’s Assistant Director of Community Development and working in Human Resources and Public Works. She has also conducted strategic planning, program evaluation, board and staff trainings for Birmingham area nonprofits.
Dr. Handley received her doctorate in Public Administration and Public Policy from Auburn University.

Her research interests include best practices in teaching and rural community development.
Alumni of SUU’s MPA program have accepted positions in all levels of government, nonprofit organizations, and in the private sector. The program currently has face-to-face as well as online options and more than 120 students enrolled for fall 2021. Current concentrations offered to students include state and local government, higher education administration, and criminal justice.

Learn more about SUU’s Master of Public Administration Program.

Tags: College of Humanities and Social Sciences Public Administration

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