Kathy Quick

Associate Professor
public management; policy and program implementation; urban and regional planning; civic engagement and public participation; collaborative governance; local government

Dr. Quick’s research intersects the public management, urban planning, and public policy fields. She focuses on practices and processes for involving diverse stakeholders in policy-making to address complex public problems, particularly the role of public and nonprofit managers and agencies in public engagement. Her research settings involve a range of policy content areas (often but not exclusively urban planning, transportation safety and infrastructure policy, community-police relations, and environmental management). The common thread is analysis of the consequences of different engagement processes for power sharing, policy outcomes, and democratic capacity-building.

Dr. Quick is particularly interested in how inclusive processes for engaging diverse stakeholders in defining problems, generating solutions, and collaborating on implementation may build resources to support social and ecological resilience. Recently, she has begun studying the perils and potential of dialogues and efforts to share decision-making in contexts involving longstanding patterns of racism or other forms of disenfranchisement. Thus far, this work involves engaged scholarship in partnership with communities in three areas: community-police relationships, rural-urban competition for transportation investment, and conflict or coordination between tribal and county governments.

Dr. Quick produces several types of research contributions. The first are theoretical papers that provide new conceptual frameworks for inquiry and analysis (e.g., Quick 2018 on the narrative production of public engagement processes; Quick 2017 on distinguishing plural and collective leadership; Quick and Feldman 2014 on boundary work to build resilience through collaboration; Quick and Feldman 2011 on distinguishing participation and inclusion in public engagement). The second are also theoretical contributions, but they combine a rich account of particular engagement settings or methods with grounded theory development (e.g., Schneider et al. 2018 on how stakeholders respond to different social media strategies for public engagement; Quick and Sandfort 2014 on how deliberation facilitators learn their craft; Feldman and Quick 2009 on contrasting approaches to public budgeting and consequences for community capacity building).

Dr. Quick also produces new frameworks to guide professional practice in planning, management, or policy-making, accomplished by synthesizing existing empirical and theoretical research (e.g., Bryson et al. 2013 on designing public participation processes; Quick and Zhao 2011 and Quick 2014 on public engagement in transportation policy). Finally, she produces recommendations for policy-makers based upon the input gathered from stakeholders in case studies of deliberation and community perceptions of policy problems (e.g., Quick and Narváez 2018 on roadway safety in four American Indian reservations; Dressel and Quick 2018 on the impacts of community conversations following an officer-involved shooting; and Narváez and Quick 2017 on priorities for local road system maintenance in 6 Minnesota cities and counties).

Dr. Quick’s research, teaching, and service commitments grow out of her professional practice. She worked as an environmental advocate and policy analyst in Indonesia for eight years and as a community development manager in two Californian cities over six years. She holds a PhD in Planning, Policy, and Design from the University of California, Irvine, a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Swarthmore College.

In The Media

Coverage of a Humphrey School event featuring faculty experts discussing police-community relations in the wake of George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police. 

June 10, 2020

Associate Professor Kathy Quick is interviewed for this story on reforming police practices to address racial disparities. 

June 2, 2020