New Sensation: Leisha DeHart-Davis, UNC Associate Professor of Public Administration and Government

Posted on January 8, 2014

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We’re back with the new “New Sensation” feature. We’ve updated the questions based on your feedback. You’ll now learn about the best YouTube videos on the web, read about gift ideas for the holiday season, and learn about the career accomplishments of our new members.  As a reminder, we developed this feature to introduce you to new ELGL members and as a way on connecting ELGL members with similar interests.


Leisha DeHart-Davis

Leisha Davis

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Associate Professor of Public Administration and Government

Areas of Expertise: Public management; organization development; workplace climate and culture; effective bureaucracy

Connect:  Profile and Twitter

Published Works: Articles

Background Check

Leisha DeHart-Davis joined the School of Government in May 2012. Previously, she was a faculty member with the University of Kansas School of Public Affairs and Administration, where she also served as doctoral program director. DeHart-Davis’s research focuses on “green tape,” the term she uses to describe effective policies and procedures. She specializes in employee engagement and workplace climate studies within local government organizations. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theoryand Public Administration Review. She holds a PhD in public policy from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Lightning Round


Tell us about three of your biggest accomplishments.

  • Moving to New York City after graduating from college
  • Marrying a true partner and fabulous guy, who has enabled my career as an academic;

(Complete this sentence) I feel old when I……..think about how my MPA students are (plenty) old enough to be my kids.

Tell us about two mistakes that you’ve made that we can learn from.

  • Interpreting others’ behavior as something to do with me. This is a self-absorbed, ineffective approach to human relations. It’s not about me (or you). 
  • Similarly, wrestling with pigs. Most aggravating people are not worth any angst, so don’t waste your emotional labor on being upset or irritated with them. And when you figure out how to do this, please email me.

How did you hear about ELGL? Through Twitter.

Give us a few of your favorite YouTube videos. Hmmm. I don’t have any favorite YouTube Videos.

(Editor’s Note: Since Leisha didn’t choose a video, that means we get to pick.)

Presenters: Don’t Go the Way of Michael Bay


Our annual conference will be held in October 2014. Name three topics or speakers that we should consider.

  • Making public service cool…
  • Workforce diversity…

(Complete these phrases) Best thing about the……

  • 80’s was college
  • 90’s was (mostly) kid-free marriage
  • 00’s was two kids
  • Last year was first full year at UNC

First concert you ever saw? Ted Nugent

Last concert you saw? Hillary Duff (mad drunk woman threw beer on my husband)

Name your mentors and describe them in five words.

  • Marilu Goodyear, Director of the School of Public Affairs and Administration: strategic, effective, calm, cool, unflappable
  • Barry Bozeman, Professor at Arizona State University: resourceful, gracious, inspiring, productive, fun.

Fast forward one year, what will factor into your decision on whether to renew your ELGL membership?

In one year, I will renew my membership because ELGL is rejuvenating public service with its positive and youthful energy.

What questions should we have asked?

What is your research area? I study bureaucracy in public organizations, what makes it effective and how it affects and is affected by public employees. I’m getting into the mechanics of due process and its effects on public employees and managers.

Supplemental Reading

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