School of Public Affairs & Administration announces new director
LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas School of Public Affairs & Administration (SPAA) will welcome new leadership in 2024. Maja Husar Holmes has been named director of the school, effective Jan. 1.
During her 15 years at West Virginia University, Holmes has directed the Department of Public Administration, led public service graduate programs and contributed to college and university strategic initiatives. Her initiatives included advancing public service education, engaging research and fostering inclusivity.
In addition to her role as school director, Holmes will join SPAA as a tenured professor of public administration. Throughout her career, her research has focused on public leadership and diversity in public management and higher education. Her work has been published in journals including State and Local Government Review, Administration & Society, Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory and Innovative Higher Education. She also has made significant contributions to advancing social justice and inclusivity in higher education through National Science Foundation-funded applied research.
“Dr. Holmes is uniquely qualified to lead our school into the future given the excellence of her research and her experience with applying research to action to help public organizations address critical issues, like social equity,” said Marilu Goodyear, the school’s interim director. “We all look forward to collaborating with her as we seek to fulfill our role serving KU and our communities.”
Additionally, Holmes has served key roles in supporting the profession of public service education. She is on the Executive Council of Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration and served as chair and member of the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation. At WVU, her roles as an Office of the Provost Academic Leadership Fellow, Women’s Leadership Initiative coach and Teaching & Learning Commons Faculty Associate reflect her commitment to promoting holistic, equitable experiences for students, faculty and staff.
“It is a privilege to be part of the continuing commitment of SPAA to prepare professionals for a thriving public service. It is energizing to join the SPAA faculty, who are leaders in emergent research relevant to communities and advancing the public good,” Holmes said, who joined SPAA administration in thanking Goodyear for her nearly two years serving as interim director.
SPAA provides society with high-quality research in the areas of budget and finance, law and society, public management, public policy and urban planning. Faculty educate public servants who leave the school to contribute to society through action and research. The school’s excellence is recognized by five faculty who are National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) Fellows and by its U.S. News and World Report No. 1 ranking in local government.
Photo: Maja Husar Holmes