Humphrey School Welcomes New Leadership and Management Faculty

March 11, 2022
Head shots of Brandi Blessett and Tia Gaynor
Dr. Brandi Blessett, left, and Dr. Tia Gaynor will join the Humphrey School faculty in the leadership and management area in the fall of 2022. Currently they are both at the University of Cincinnati.

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs is pleased to announce that Dr. Brandi Blessett and Dr. Tia Gaynor will join the faculty in the School's leadership and management area in the fall of 2022.

Currently at the University of Cincinnati, they are innovative scholars in the field. Their reputations and proven experience will help the School maintain excellence in the area and fulfill its mission to advance the common good in a diverse world. 

"The faculty and I are impressed by Dr. Blessett's and Dr. Gaynor's research and pedagogy," said Dean Nisha Botchwey. "Their approach to engagement with students and attention to questions of equity and justice are outstanding. I am eager to see how their work meshes with and transforms the Humphrey School."

Brandi Blessett

Blessett is an associate professor and director of the University of Cincinnati’s Master of Public Administration program. Her research focus is analyzing how inequity is produced, alleviated, or navigated through administrative practices and policy development. 

She was recently named an Interdisciplinary Research Leadership (IRL) Fellow by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in recognition of her collaboration across disciplines and sectors to promote managerial strategies to improve health service quality and access among immigrant youth in Cincinnati. Blessett is first author of "Social Equity in Public Administration: A Call to Action," an agenda-setting article in Perspectives in Public Management and Governance. 

Previously, Blessett was a faculty member at Rutgers University, and at the University of Central Florida. She earned her PhD in Public Administration and Urban Policy from Old Dominion University. 

Tia Gaynor

Gaynor is founding director of the Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation and Taft Professor of Social Justice at the University of Cincinnati. Gaynor’s research focuses on equity and inclusion in public organizations, state violence, and practices for truth and racial health and their consequences. Gaynor is first author of a recent article in Public Administration Review, "Social vulnerability and equity: the disproportionate impact of Covid-19."  

Previously, Gaynor worked for several nonprofit organizations, was a W.E.B. DuBois Race and Crime Fellow at the National Institute of Justice, and an associate professor at Marist College. She earned her PhD and MPA from the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University – Newark. 

“I am absolutely thrilled that Professor Blesset and Professor Gaynor are joining the Humphrey School,” said Associate Professor Kathy Quick, chair of the School’s leadership and management area. “They are outstanding scholars  at the forefront of work to advance research, teaching, and community engagement for equity through public and nonprofit management and leadership. I am looking forward to the relationships they will be building with our students and community partners.”