Humphrey School News—July 10, 2018

Daniel Cheng, Expert on Changing Relationship Between Governments, Nonprofits, Joins Humphrey School

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Head shot of Assistant Professor Daniel Cheng
Assistant Professor Daniel Cheng

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs is pleased to welcome Daniel (Yuan) Cheng as an assistant professor in the leadership and management area, beginning in September. Cheng researches collaborations between government and nonprofit organizations, with a focus on urban sustainability.

Recognizing that the traditional roles of governments and nonprofits are changing, Cheng examines the processes and consequences of nonprofits becoming important players in determining and supporting public services.

His research looks at whether governments choose to spend less money for public services if they rely more on funding from nonprofit organizations, and under what conditions nonprofits are likely to get involved in the planning and design of public services. He is specifically looking at such collaborative relationships as they relate to parks and recreation services in large American cities.

Cheng says the Humphrey School and University of Minnesota’s location in the Twin Cities—with park systems ranked among the best in the country—is perfect for his research.

“I also know that civic engagement is very high in Minnesota, and I'm very curious about why this is the case, why people get so involved here,” he says. “Not only am I moving to a great school, but also a vibrant community related to my research.”

"We are fortunate to have Daniel Yuan Cheng joining our School. He brings deep knowledge in government-nonprofit relationships that enhances this expertise on our faculty, as well as a commitment to teaching and authentic engagement in community problem solving,” says Professor Jodi Sandfort, chair of the School’s leadership and management area. “He will fit right in to the core of our group, and help us continue to operate nationally recognized programming in nonprofit and public management."

Cheng comes to the Humphrey School from Indiana University, where he was a visiting assistant professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.  He earned his master’s degree and PhD from Indiana, and his bachelor’s degree from Zhejiang University in China.

“I am especially impressed by the approach that the Humphrey School has with its research—integrating research, teaching, and community engagement into cross-sector collaborations,” says Cheng. "I am so excited about this opportunity to work together with some of the best scholars and leaders in public affairs.”

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