The George Washington University Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Interim Dean Paul Wahlbeck announced that Mary Tschirhart will serve as the director of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration beginning August 1.
"I look forward to working with Dr. Tschirhart to build upon the Trachtenberg School’s strong foundation and advance its academic programs and research,” Wahlbeck said.
She will take over as director following Kathryn Newcomer, who will return to full-time teaching and scholarship after guiding the school to its status as one of the leading public affairs schools in the country.
Wahlbeck said he is confident that Tschirhart’s experience will give her perspective on the needs and interests of the Trachtenberg School’s stakeholders.
Tschirhart comes to GW from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at the Ohio State University, where she taught courses on nonprofit management and governance for the past six years. Prior to that, she directed North Carolina State University’s Institute for Nonprofit Research, Education and Engagement and had faculty appointments at Syracuse University and Indiana University.
Her research examines membership associations and other types of nonprofit organizations, and her board experience includes service with a family foundation, environmental conservation alliance, United Way, library, animal welfare organization and treatment facility for people recovering from addictions.
Tschirhart said she was initially attracted to the Trachtenberg School because of the diversity of degrees offered and breadth of research topics covered by the faculty. She said that she is “looking forward to connecting with students, faculty, staff, alumni, nonprofit directors and public sector leaders.”
“The strength of the staff and faculty is amazing—not just the expertise but also the passion, dedication and true commitment to the mission of the school,” she said. “There is a great diversity in interests, experiences and backgrounds, and I look forward to being part of this community.”
She also said she wants to continue to help shape the school’s upward trajectory and build on the opportunities provided by the school’s location to connect community members to life beyond the classroom.
“We are staying relevant while being resilient,” Tschirhart said. “We recognize our influence. Instead of the world changing around us, we’re changing the world.”
Tschirhart is a graduate of Michigan State University. She also earned an MBA from State University of New York and a PhD in organizational behavior and human resource management from the University of Michigan’s School of Business.
She is the past president of the Association for Research on Nonprofit and Voluntary Action and serves on the editorial boards for several academic journals. She has more than 60 publications including the books Artful Leadership and Managing Nonprofit Organizations.