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Research and Scholarship


Assistant Professor of Public Administration

Theodore Arapis, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Master of Public Administration program at Villanova University.  Dr. Arapis’ academic journey began in Thessaloniki, Greece, at the University of Macedonia.  After graduating with a Bachelors in Economic Science he decided to continue his education in the US where he pursued an M.P.A. from Kennesaw State University, GA, and a Ph.D. in Public Administration from Auburn University, AL. Dr. Arapis, throughout his academic career, has taught Financial Management, Public Budgeting, and Statistics at both undergraduate and graduate levels.  His research interests lie in the field of public finance, specifically state and local financial management, financial reporting and accounting standards, fiscal transparency and accountability, and performance measurement.  Currently, his research agenda is primarily focused on school district financing, local government fiscal savings, international fiscal transparency, and the practice of budgeting for the state-level bureaucracy.

Click here for a list of Professor Arapis' recent presentations and publications.


Professor of Public Administration

A native of Chicago, Fr. Jacobs served for nearly two decades in Catholic middle and secondary schools as a teacher and administrator prior undertaking his work in Catholic higher education. Since coming to Villanova in 1991, Fr. Jacobs earned the rank of Associate Professor in 1996, tenure in 1998, and Professor in 2006, having become a nationally and internationally recognized authority concerning Catholic education. Fr. Jacobs also served two terms as a member of the United States Catholic Conference Committee on Education and has consulted Catholic schools and dioceses nationwide.

Having shifted his research interest to public administration in the mid 2000’s, Fr. Jacobs now researches and publishes in the areas of leadership ethics and organization theory. His soon-to-be-published article in the Encyclopedia of Public Administration and Public Policy traces the history of the contested concept of “ethical competence.” A regular columnist for the PA Times, Fr. Jacobs’ articles consider how public administrators can use the American Society for Public Administration’s Code of Ethics to build ethical cultures in their organizations. Currently, Fr. Jacobs is writing “Leadership Insight,” an excursus into the phenomenology of leadership and is editor for a special edition of the Journal of Management Systems which will feature prominent U.S. scholars discussing what MPA ethics professors have to suggest to their MBA colleagues about developing ethical competence in their students.

Click here for a list of Father Jacob's publications. 



Assistant Professor of Public Administration

Danielle Johnson’s research interest lies at the intersection of public program evaluation and the study of the structural and cultural forces that influence public policy initiatives. In her current research, she studies federal efforts to reduce health disparities in the United States through the Community Health Center program, and evaluate how social factors such as race, socioeconomic status, and neighborhood characteristics influence the program’s ability to meaningfully address health disparities amongst medically-vulnerable populations.

Click here for a list of Danielle's recent presentations.


Dean of Graduate Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Associate Professor of Public Administration

Dr. Palus’ research falls into two basic areas: 1) local politics and administration and 2) public management.  A common thread linking all of her work is a concern for the quality of representation and responsiveness in the American federal system. She is very interested in the processes associated with the formation, implementation, and administration of public policies, particularly at state and local levels.  Why are certain policies enacted?  How do institutional structures and environmental factors influence the relationships between citizens and government at the local, state, and national levels?  What role do elected and appointed officials play in the process of representation and policymaking? She strongly believes in the importance of both theoretically rich and methodologically sophisticated work.  The primary outlets for work in her areas of expertise are academic journals in the disciplines of Public Administration and Political Science. She has significant statistical training, and although most of her research projects use quantitative methodologies, she also has incorporated qualitative approaches.

Click here for a list of Dr. Palus' recent publications.


Assistant Professor of Public Administration

Dr. Miltenberger’s research focuses on the relationship between nonprofit organizations and government agencies via human service contracting.  Specifically, her research investigates how partnership arrangements and collaboration can be integrated into the current human services system.  In addition, Dr. Miltenberger is interested in school district financial management and the assessment of school district financial condition.

Click here for a list of Dr. Miltenberger's recent publications.


Assistant Professor of Public Administration

Dr. Perun’s research focuses on improving practice and policy in higher education through understanding how teaching shapes students’ learning experiences. His current research agenda includes (a) uncovering how students who are deemed under-prepared for college meet with success or failure in their courses, and (b) how Masters of Public Administration students develop ethical competency for leadership roles during their course of study.

Click here for a list of Dr. Perun's recent presentations.


Vice Provost for Academics, Professor of Public Administration

Dr. Wheeland’s research program focuses on city management, along with leadership by elected officials in city and suburban governments, collaborative problem-solving approaches, such as community-wide strategic planning, and municipal government institutions.

Click here for a list of Dr. Wheeland's recent publications.


Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Public Administration

Dr. Wilson’s fields of study include nonprofit management, immigrant integration, and cultural competency.  She is interested in the role that nonprofit organizations play in delivering services to minority communities – ethnic, racial, and cultural minorities as well as immigrants –in the United States.  Dr. Wilson is the author of The Politics of Latino Faith: Religion, Identity, and Urban Community (2008), which examined the social and political involvement of three Latino faith-based organizations in the United States. 

Click here for a list of Dr. Wilson's recent presentations and publications.