Three Ph.D. Candidates Earn Tenure-Track Faculty Positions

By Tom McLaughlin

Affirming the strength of one of the nation’s only doctoral program in public affairs specializing in community development, Rutgers University–Camden Ph.D. candidates Ashley Nickels, Prentiss Dantzler, and Jason Rivera have all been offered and accepted collegiate-level, tenure-track faculty positions.

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Ashley Nickels

Nickels has just accepted a position at Kent State University, Dantzler will serve on the faculty at Colorado College, and Rivera will begin his tenure-track position at State University of New York–Buffalo in January.

“We can all be very proud of their work and ours with the Ph.D. program,” says Marie Chevrier, chair of the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Rutgers–Camden and head of the Ph.D. program. “To have three of our first graduates offered tenure-track academic positions is a strong testament to the caliber of our doctoral program and an incentive for us to keep up the good work.”

At Rutgers–Camden, Nickels teaches undergraduate courses in the urban studies program and serves as a full-time teaching assistant in Chevrier’s graduate public management courses. Her research focuses on urban politics, democracy and civic engagement, nonprofit management and advocacy, community development, and government/nonprofit relations. She is currently examining how extra-urban policies reshape local democracy in distressed urban communities.

She formerly served as assistant director and outreach coordinator for the Grand Valley State University Women’s Center, as well as president of the Grand Rapids chapter of the National Organization for Women (N.O.W.), and vice president of Michigan N.O.W. In addition, she served as chair of the Kent County Domestic Violence Community Coordinated Response Team and as a community representative for the Women’s Resource Center Governance Committee.

In 2011, Nickels was named “Activist of the Year” by Michigan N.O.W. and received the “Advocate Award” from the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Grand Rapids. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master of public administration from Grand Valley State.

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Prentiss Dantzler

Dantzler is a Predoctoral Dissertation Fellow at Colorado College, where he serves as a Riley Scholar-In-Residence and a visiting assistant professor of sociology. He currently teaches the undergraduate courses “Inequality: Intersections of Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality,” and “Theory and History of Community Development.” He also represented Rutgers–Camden in the spring at the Building Future Faculty (BFF) program at North Carolina State University.

Dantzler focuses his research on housing policy, community development, and urban politics. He is currently assessing the impact of changes in housing policy targeted at low-income populations, such as HOPE VI/Choice Neighborhoods, Section 8/housing vouchers, and public-housing developments.

He formerly taught undergraduate courses in the urban studies program at Rutgers–Camden and served as a full-time research assistant for Maureen Donaghy, an assistant professor of political science and public policy, focusing on domestic and international housing-related issues. He earned a bachelor’s degree in energy business and finance from Pennsylvania State University and a master of public administration degree, with dual graduate certifications in urban and regional planning and geographic information technology, from West Chester University.

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Jason Rivera

Rivera, who earned a master of public administration degree at Rutgers–Camden, is the first Ph.D. student in the public affairs program to defend his dissertation successfully. He is currently an American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) Founders Fellow and an American Political Science Association Minority Fellow.

Rivera’s research focuses on social vulnerability to natural and manmade disasters with an emphasis on ethnic minority and low-income experiences. His work has appeared in the Journal of Black Studies; Journal of Applied Security Research: Protection and Response in Asset Protection, Terrorism, and Violence; Journal of Public Management and Social Policy; Journal of Critical Incident Analysis; Societies Without Borders: Human Rights and the Social Sciences, and International Journal of Emergency Management, as well as the 2007 book Through the Eye of the Storm: Social Justice in the United States (Carolina Academic Press).

Rivera, along with DeMond Miller, is also the coauthor of Hurricane Katrina and the Redefinition of Landscape (Lexington Books, 2008), and coeditor of How Ethnically Marginalized Americans Cope with Catastrophic Disasters: Studies in Suffering and Resiliency (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2010), Community Disaster Recovery and Resiliency: Exploring Global Opportunities and Challenges (CRC Press, 2010), and Comparative Emergency Management: Examining Global and Regional Responses to Disasters (CRC Press, 2011). He earned a bachelor’s degree in history at Rowan University.

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