WCU names Roger E. Hartley director of master’s degree program in public affairs

Western Carolina University’s new director of the master’s degree program in public affairs said the need for effective public and nonprofit leaders could not be greater than it is today.

“I look forward to helping our MPA students channel their interest and zeal for public service into wonderful careers by building leadership, management and policy skills that make them more effective and ethical agents of change,” said Roger E. Hartley, who came to WCU’s faculty in June. “The MPA program directly connects WCU to the economic, political and social problems facing Western North Carolina and Appalachia.”

Hartley came to WCU from the University of Arizona, where he was a tenured associate professor and director of the Rombach Institute within the School of Government and Public Policy. In addition, he served as interim director of the School of Public Administration and Policy, and associate dean of the Eller College of Management from July 2008 to January 2009.

Hartley has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses on public administration, conflict resolution, judicial administration, and law and courts. In addition, he has taught executive program sessions on negotiation for the Arizona Healthcare Leadership Academy, the Southwest Leadership Program, the University of Arizona Peace Corps Fellows Program and the Government Finance Officers Association of Arizona.

He has served the American judicial branch in capacities including offering expert testimony, consulting, and serving on commissions, committees and boards. He was appointed by Arizona’s governor to Arizona’s Trial Court Appointments committee, and has been part of the state regulatory board governing paralegals and the Tucson Police Department’s crime lab oversight committee. He currently serves on the National Center for State Court’s research advisory council and on Justice at Stake’s strategic planning committee for merit selection.

His research focuses on court issues and reforms such as alternative dispute resolution, drug courts, state court budget politics, and the increased politicization of lower federal court nominees. His publications include the book “Alternative Dispute Resolution in Civil Justice Systems.”

“For the last five years of my career, I have become more and more interested in helping manage and build a public service education program,” said Hartley. “I was impressed with Western Carolina because it has a real commitment to serving the region and its needs.”

Graduates of WCU’s MPA program include town managers, directors of nonprofit organizations, professors, police officers and others committed to public service. Most MPA program classes are offered during evening hours in Asheville. Some also are offered in Cullowhee and online. Public policy and human resources concentrations are available within the MPA degree.