Vicky M. Wilkins is acting provost and chief academic officer at American University and professor of public administration and policy. Before assuming this role, she served as the dean of the School of Public Affairs (SPA), overseeing its academic, administrative, and financial functions. During her tenure as dean, Dr. Wilkins demonstrated exceptional leadership, fostering growth and engagement within SPA and the wider community.
Under Dr. Wilkins' guidance, SPA experienced remarkable growth in undergraduate and graduate enrollments. She also implemented structures to effectively disseminate research to a broad audience, both within and outside academia. Driven by her commitment to innovation, she enhanced SPA's educational portfolio, introducing programs like the SPA Analytical & Management Institute, the Public Affairs Policy Lab, the Peace & Violence Research Lab, and the "Battleground" courses. These initiatives provided students with cutting-edge knowledge and practical experiences.
Dr. Wilkins' efforts extended beyond academic programs to create a supportive and engaging environment for students. Through initiatives such as Late-Night Breakfast, Thanksgiving Dinner, Pizza with Professors, Jumpstart, and the Policy Hackathon, she fostered a vibrant community where students could thrive.
Dr. Wilkins' research focuses on various aspects of public administration and policy, with particular emphasis on representative bureaucracy, bureaucratic discretion, gender and race issues, deservingness, political institutions, and human resource management. Her groundbreaking work in the field of women, minorities, and policy outcomes has significantly influenced the discipline of public administration and serves as a valuable resource for policy makers. Her research contributions have been featured in renowned scholarly journals, including the American Political Science Review, Public Administration Review, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Governance, Review of Public Personnel Administration, Administration & Society, Policy Studies Journal, and Legislative Studies Quarterly.
Dr. Wilkins has developed and taught courses in human resource management, public management, policy implementation, political institutions, and women and politics. She has served on or chaired the dissertation committees of more than 20 Ph.D. students, in addition to advising master’s students and mentoring undergraduate students pursuing research projects. She has been recognized with several teaching awards.
Dr. Wilkins' academic journey began as a first-generation student at Northern Michigan University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and History. She then pursued a Master of Science degree in Human Resource Management from Chapman University. Driven by her passion for political systems, she obtained a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Missouri.
Outside of her academic pursuits, Dr. Wilkins is dedicated to her family. She is married to Chris Wilkins, and they have a daughter named Elizabeth Wilkins. Additionally, she is a proud rescue dog mom to Gitche.