Former mayor added to faculty

Northern Kentucky University is shelling out big bucks for a big-name faculty member.

Beginning this spring, former Cincinnati mayor Roxanne Qualls will teach executive leadership in the master’s of public administration program.

Qualls will be considered a visiting professor, but will be paid $50,000, the same rate as a full-time professor. Full-time professors at NKU typically make between $50,000 and $80,000 per year.

“In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she will be involved in several initiatives with the Center for Civic Engagement, creating a demanding schedule,” said Gail Wells, dean of arts and sciences.

“Because of this, along with many engagements, she will make a salary comparable to a full-time faculty member,” she said.

Qualls is “widely viewed, even by her opponents, as a person who combined vision and political savvy during her days as Cincinnati mayor,” Wells said.

“My years of service made me aware of how helpful it would be to have public sector leaders understand the policy behind governance, and for academics to understand the politics of getting policy implemented,” Qualls said.

Wells said Qualls is “uniquely qualified to bridge the worlds of theory and practice related to local government leadership.”

Qualls will help develop education programs at the university for local government officials and public sector leaders, and be an advisor to the university on the issue of political education.

Qualls will also conduct a regional needs assessment to determine how the university can best support the work of local officials, according to NKU President James Votruba.

He said he believes Qualls “will bring a combination of academic strength and practical experience that would compliment our current MPA faculty.”

He said Qualls is “not only well-informed about the realities of local government and its challenges, but she is also deeply informed on the current literature on cities and their future. This combination will be of great value to our students, faculty and community.”

Votruba said he hopes Qualls will bring a combination of public administration theory and practice that “is essential for any practice-oriented program” and will be beneficial to the university.

Qualls brings an impressive resume with her to NKU. She was elected to Cincinnati City Council in 1991, and was elected mayor in 1993, serving until 1999. In 1998 Qualls ran against Rep. Steve Chabot for a spot in the United States House of Representatives, but lost.

In 1999, Qualls left the mayor’s office after exhausting her term limits. She taught at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where she also studied and received her masters in public administration.

“With her unique perspective both from the scholarly and ‘real world’ arenas, Professor Qualls will help insure that the direction we take to support local government leadership will be grounded in both relevant scholarship and the realities of political practice,” Wells said. “Professor Qualls will be working with colleagues in both the MPA program and in the Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement. We look forward to her contributions to NKU.”

“I intend to bring both my appreciation and knowledge of public policy and my very practical and pragmatic experience in politics to the MPA program,” Qualls said.