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Faculty Biography - Honors and Awards, Publications, Professional Experience
Georgia Persons
Georgia Persons, PhD
Doctoral Faculty - School of Human & Organizational Development
Atlanta, GA

B.A. Political Science, 1971, Southern University, Baton Rouge, La.
PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1978

Areas of Instruction:

  • American government and politics
  • Urban politics and policy
  • Political development
  • Public Policy
  • Social Change
  • Structural Inequality and Diversity
  • Organizational Studies
  • Family, Community, and Human Service Delivery
  • Systems; and Research Design


Scholarly & Professional Interests:

  • Religion and Social Welfare Policy - The expanding use of faith principles as the basis for policymaking; assessment of the emerging role of faith-based organizations in the American social welfare system; the scope and efficacy of faith-based social services and community development initiatives.
  • African-American Politics - Especially interested in the evolution of African American politics as a function of social change with particular interest in political leadership, strategy shift, and the changing nature of the ethno-racial dynamic; the changing preconditions for black electoral success; and longitudinal changes in perceptions and definitions of successful black political empowerment.
  • Public Policy - Especially interested in formulation and implementation of public policy; the changing institutional roles and responsibilities between the federal and state governments; the redefinition of policy goals in the area of social and health policy; and the transformation of healthcare systems.
  • Social Change - The changing societal context of politics, policy preferences and public discourse; the transformation of civil society and the emergence of new social formations within communities; the changing role of non-secular organizations and the impact of policy changes on special publics, churches, and civil society.


Professional Memberships:

  • American Political Science Association
  • Policy Studies Organization
  • National Conference of Black Political Scientists.

Honors and Awards:

  • American Political Science Association Fellow, 1971-72
  • Research Fellow, Harvard-MIT Joint Center for Urban Affairs, 1974-75; Ford Foundation Fellow, 1976-77
  • Anna Julia Cooper Teaching Award for Demonstrated Excellence in Teaching
  • Advising and Mentoring, 2008
  • The National Conference of Black Political Scientists


  • Contours of African American Politics, Volumes I and II published Fall 2012, Transaction Publishers – A three-volume anthology that charts the development of research and inquiry in the area of African-American Politics as primarily reflected in publications in The National Political Science Review, and highlights the unique contributions of the community of scholars that launched and sustained the development of this sub-field in the discipline of Political Science. Volume III Forthcoming Spring 2013.
  • Beyond The Boundaries: A New Structure of Ambition in African American Politics, Volume 12, National Political Science Review, Transaction Publishers. February 2009. The NPSR publishes as an annual. This volume of the National Political Science Review was planned before the emergence of Barack Obama as a strong contender for the Democratic Party’s nomination. The focus of this volume was on capturing the dynamics of a newly emergent episode of ongoing social change; a new spate of statewide campaigns for high-level offices in the evolution of that which we call black politics. The 2006 races that are analyzed in the anchoring symposium illuminate both a new structure of political ambitions, and also promises of expanding the boundaries of African American politics. The volume points towards a growing complexity in African American politics which necessitates increasingly nuanced framing and analyses.
  • The Expanding Boundaries of Black Politics, Volume 11, National Political Science Review, Transaction Publishers. February 2007. The NPSR publishes as an annual. This volume showcases the works of young, black scholars who are establishing themselves in the discipline of political science. The articles explore various ways of theorizing contemporary black politics , with some focus as well on theorizing about the marginalization of certain groups and interests within the black community.
  • Contemporary Patterns of Politics, Praxis, and Culture, Volume 10. National Political Science Review. January 2005. This volume reflects major research focuses across religion, race, gender, culture, and of course, politics. Themes that engage a community of scholars also engage them in praxis as individual citizens and practitioners in a democratic society, and collectively as member-participants in a changing culture.
  • Race and Democracy in the Americas. Volume 9, National Political Science Review, Transaction Publishers. January 2003. The NPSR publishes as an Annual. This volume focuses (in a symposium) on the comparative dimensions of race and ethnicity with an explicit focus on Brazil and the U.S. Funded by a grant from The Ford Foundation, this volume features collaborative work between U.S. and Afro-Brazilian scholars.
  • The Politics of the Black “Nation:” A Twenty-Five Year Retrospective. Volume 8, Transaction Publishers, Spring 2001. The NPSR publishes as an Annual. This volume revisits and re-analyzes the seminal work by Matthew Holden, Jr. (as captured in the title), widely considered the single best treatment of black politics extant. This volume discusses issues of race, class, culture, ideology, political organizations and leadership.
  • Race and Ethnicity in Comparative Perspective. Volume 7, National Political Science Review. Transaction Publishers 1999. The NPSR publishes as an Annual. This volume engages the foundational issue of identity, its manifestations as race and ethnicity, and the dynamics that structure and alter the varied manifestations of race and ethnicity in different locales.
  • Race and Representation. Volume 6, National Political Science Review. Transaction Publishers 1997. The NPSR publishes as an Annual. This volume comprised a survey of the changing dynamics and legal issues of voting rights and race and representation in America.
  • The Making of Energy and Telecommunications Policy, Praeger Publishers, February 1995. This sole-authored book examines the policy debate in policy formulation and focuses on ways in which policy ideas get translated into public policy in substantive areas of regulatory policy.
  • Dilemmas of Black Politics: Issues of Leadership and Strategy (ed.) 1993, HarperCollins Publishers. Twelve chapters focus on deracialization, questions of leadership, strategy, and ideology in black politics. I contributed four (4) chapters to this volume.

Articles and Book Chapters
  • “How Firm a Foundation? Comparing the Bush and Obama Faith-Based Initiatives.” Forum on Public Policy, Vol 2011, No. 1, January 2012. This article compares the two Faith-Based Initiatives as acts of Public Management and the exercise of presidential choice-taking, and the relative prospects for institutionalization of these unique variants of administrative policy making.
  • “Administrative Policy Initiatives and the Limits of Change: Lessons From the Implementation of the Bush Faith-Based and Community Initiative.” Politics and Policy, Vol. 39, No. 6, December 2011, pp. 949-978. This article provides a national level analysis of the implementation of the Faith-Based and Community Initiative (FBCI). The analysis focuses on changes ensuing from the FBCI executive orders and raises questions about the strengths and vulnerabilities of administrative policy initiatives in terms of their implementation and potential for long term impacts and deep change.
  • “Electoral Socialism in Harlem and New York: The Socialist Party Candidacies of Lucille and Asa Philip Randolph” with Hanes Walton and Marion Orr. International Journal of Africana Studies, Vol. 16, No. 1, Spring 2011. This article is part of “The Invisible Politics Project,” an ongoing collaborative to document the largely unseen political activities of African Americans historically and in contemporary situations, with a special focus on those activities which expand our understanding of the range and depth of political activities engaged in by African Americans and which thereby broaden the boundaries of the discipline of political science.
  • “From Insurgency to Deracialization: The Evolution of Black Mayoralties.” Accepted for publication in Perspectives on Black Politics and Black Leadership, John Davis, Editor. University Press of America. Spring 2007.
  • “Black Voting Behavior in Presidential Elections: A View From the South” with Hanes Walton and Frank Pryor. Accepted for publication in Perspectives on Black Politics and Black Leadership, John Davis, Editor. University Press of America. 2007.
  • “The Structured Intentionality of African American Church Schools,” in The International Journal of Africana Studies, Vol. 11, #2. Spring/Summer 2005.
  • “National Politics and Charitable Choice as Urban Policy for Community Development” in Annals of the American Academy of Political And Social Sciences. Vol. 594, July 2004., pp. 65-78.
  • “Towards Understanding the Emergence of African-American Church Schools: Early Hypotheses and a Research Agenda,” Trotter Review, Vol. 15, No. 1. Fall 2003.
  • “Democracy Stillborn: How Race and Ethnicity Impeded the Transplantation of U.S. Styled Democracy in Liberia” in Hanes Walton, James Rosser (eds.), Liberian Politics: The portrait of African-American Diplomat J. Milton Turner. Lexington Books 2002.This book and my contributing chapter constitute a unique study of the dynamics of race and ethnicity as these identity-variables developed and dominated the socio-political culture and pre-destined the fate of the Liberian nation-state, a settler nation “founded” by freed Negroes. The study utilizes diplomatic correspondence as primary data and elucidates several theories of race and ethnicity to illuminate contemporary understanding of the nexus between race and ethnicity.
  • “Politics and Social Change: The Demise of The African American Ethnic Moment?,” National Political Science Review, Vol. 7 Winter 2000.
  • "Is Racial Separation Inevitable and Legal?" Social Science and Modern Society, Vol. 33., No. 3, March/April 1996.
  • “Environmental Policy” Georgia Legislative Review: 1993, The Southern Center for Studies in Public Policy, Atlanta Georgia, pp. 96-111. 
  • “Electing Minorities and Women to Congress” in Wilma Rule and Joseph Zimmerman (eds.) United States Electoral Systems: Their Impact on Women and Minorities. Greenwood Press, pp.15-31.
  • “Racial Politics and Black Power in The Cities” in George Galster and Edward Hill (eds.) The Metropolis in Black and White: Place, Power, and Polarization, CUPR Press of Rutgers University, 1992. 
  • “Politics and Changing Political Processes in Urban America” in Marvel Lang (ed.), Contemporary Urban America, Academic Press of America 1991, pp.73-104.
  • “Blacks in State Elective Office: The Continuing Quest for Effective Representation,” in Women, Black, and Hispanic State Elected Leaders: 1990 Symposium on the State of the States, 1991, Eagleton Institute of Politics. This was one of three specially commissioned papers for the State of the States Symposium sponsored by the Center for Public Service, University of Virginia and the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, December 7-9, 1990.
  • “Defining the Public Interest: Citizen Participation in Metropolitan and State Policy Making” National Civic Review Vol. 79 #2, March-April 1990.
  • “Mayor of the Colony: Effective Mayoral Leadership as a Matter of Public Perception” (with Lenneal Henderson) National Political Science Review, Vol. 2, January 1990.
  • “Regulating in the Public Interest: Problems of Defining and Implementing Telephone Lifeline Service” Policy Studies Review Vol. 7, No. 1 (August 1987).
  • “Reflections on Mayoral Leadership: The Impact of Changing Issues and Changing Times” Phylon, Vol. 46, No. 3, (September 1985): 205-218.
  • “The Philadelphia MOVE Incident as an Anomaly in Models of Mayoral Leadership” Phylon, December 1988.
  • Public Policy and Social Change: A Symposium, Guest Editor and Contributor, The Urban League Review, Vol. 10, No., 2 (Winter 1987). This volume is a collection of 13 articles by established black scholars examining the political dynamics and social consequences of policy implementation. Issues include: health policy and the black aged, voting rights, income support policies, two-tiered wage systems, tax reform, budget reduction, telecommunications, African famine relief, and desegregation in higher education.
  • “Blacks in State and Local Government: Progress and Constraints” The State of Black America 1987.
  • “Deregulation and Pricing Policy” The Urban League Review, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Summer 1984) p. 55-77.

Funded Grants/Contracts:

  • Nonprofit Sector Research Fund, The Aspen Institute, “Public Policy and Faith-Based Organizations: Assessing Charitable and Social Service Ministries of African American Churches.”
  • Rockefeller Institute of Government, SUNY-Albany. “A Review of State Level Implementation of the Bush Faith-Based Initiative.”

Professional Experience:

  • Presently: Professor of Political Science, School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology. Courses: Health Disparities; Religion and Social Welfare Poliy; Hurricane Katrina: Public Policy and Emergency Preparedness; Policy Implementation and Administration; Social Policy Issues; Comparative Social Policy; Urban Policy; African American Politics, American Government. Promoted to full professor in 1996.
  • July 2011 – October 2012, Research Consultant, Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority, Atlanta, GA. Advised Board of Trustees on the establishment of a research function and strategic visioning for the Authority.
  • August 1982-March 1989, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Howard University. Courses: American Government; State & Local Government; American Political Behavior; Field Seminar in American Politics; Administrative Law and Regulatory Policy; Urban Politics.
  • August 1981-August 1982, Public Policy Consultant: U.S. Department of State, Member Foreign Service Selection Board; National Alliance of Black School Educators, development of program for career counseling curricula in vocational/special education training programs; Center for Systems and Program Development, development of career counseling seminars for out-of-school youth; TONYA, Inc., an assessment of restricted benefits levels in major income assistance programs.
  • August 1980-August 1981, Associate Director for Socioeconomic Impact, Institute for Research, Development, and Engineering in Nuclear Energy, AMAF Industries, Columbia, Md. Responsible for management of research projects designed to assess the socioeconomic impacts of the development of terminal storage nuclear waste repositories and ancillary activities. Projects focused on the institutional interface between the federal program and state and local laws; socioeconomic impacts ensuing from site-specific repository development; inventory and evaluation of local emergency preparedness capacity and training; institutional requirements for intermodal transfer of nuclear waste materials. This position required management of 15 professionals at four field locations and interface with senior state and federal officials, and included program planning and development, review of proposals, and assistance with research design. Contracting priorities changed with new administration.
  • August 1979-July 1980, Division Director, Energy and Environment Division, A. L. Nellum Associates, Washington, D.C. Responsible for developing an Energy and Environment Division within a traditionally social services oriented firm. Developed marketing strategies and established division orientation. Secured substantial funding. Served as manager and participant in the preparation and presentation of proposals, and this role directed the activities of professional and support staff. Made presentations before major federal agencies. Also served as Project Director on project conducting environmental assessments of coal burning power plants, a role requiring knowledge of federal regulatory processes and requirements.
  • February-July 1979, Special Staff, Office of the Secretary, Department of Interior. Served as single staff to Interagency Policy Review Task Force responsible for review of all federal policies for the U.S. Territories involving 10 federal agencies. Was responsible for assisting direction of activities of six separate sub-task force groups comprised of senior officials in an effort to ensure coordination of federal policies for the territories and to enhance the efficiency and responsiveness of federal programs and policies. Directed the preparation of six special studies on major policy questions. Also served as Project Officer for special project assessing the economic development potential in the territories. Reported to Deputy Undersecretary and Undersecretary. This was a temporary position.
  • June 1977-January 1979, Member Technical Staff, MITRE Corporation, METREK Division. Served as lead Policy Analyst on several interdisciplinary projects assessing the environmental, socio-economic and institutional impacts of energy and environmental policy actions. Of particular pride was lead policy analyst role in major project assessing socioeconomic and institutional impact of nationwide deployment of solar energy technologies. In this role I was responsible for directing and coordinating implementation of five major tasks involving interdisciplinary teams totaling 23 members at five different institutions. Other projects included socioeconomic assessments of the development of Eastern gas shale deposits; impacts of development of a low BTU coal gasification facility; assessment of alternative water resource allocation schemes in the Potomac River System. Other responsibilities included development and management of programs for identification and analysis of state and local issues resulting from national energy development activities, supervision and assessment of work of interdisciplinary subcontractors, coordination of data collection activities, and preparation of reports.
  • September 1975-May 1977, Instructor of Political Science, Howard University. Taught courses in Urban Politics; Metropolitan Politics and Planning; State and Local Government; and the American Presidency.

Other Professional Activities:

  • Board Member, the Irving Louis Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy, an independent foundation for the support and advancement of social science research. This is a national foundation dedicated to advancing the scholarly legacy of Irving Louis Horowitz, Founder and Chairman of Transaction Publishers.
  • Editor, National Political Science Review, a scholarly, refereed journal published by the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. Service period: Fall 2000 - Spring 2010
  • Member, Executive Committee, National Conference of Black Political Scientists, 2000-present
  • Executive Committee, Urban Politics Section, American Political Science Association, 2007-2010
  • Member, Leonard D. White Best Dissertation Award Committee, American Political Science Association 1992-1993
  • Member, Committee on Best Paper on Ethnic and Race Relations, Western Political Science Association, 1993-94
  • Executive Committee, Representation and Electoral Systems Section, American Political Science Association
  • Member, “Chilly Climate” Committee of Women’s Caucus of the American Political Science Association
  • Nominations Committee, National Conference of Black Political Scientists
  • Program Committee, National Conference of Black Political Scientists
  • 1996-Present, Member, Regional Leadership Foundation, a group of professionals from business, government, the civic sector, and academia dedicated to furthering discussion, research, and policy recommendations on problems affecting the Atlanta Metropolitan Region. 
  • Member and Trustee, The Metro Group, a group of business, civic and academic leaders organized to work in a non-partisan role in bettering the performance of local governments in Metropolitan Atlanta. I served on the public education and law enforcement committees. This group merged with the Regional Leadership Foundation
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