The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Katz and Wu Join School of Public Policy Faculty

Composite of headshots of Juniper Katz and Viviana Chiu-Sik Wu

The UMass Amherst School of Public Policy has hired its first faculty members to have their tenure lines in the program, part of a multiyear expansion plan at the school.

Juniper Katz, a doctoral candidate in public affairs at the University of Colorado Denver, and Viviana Chiu-Sik Wu, a doctoral candidate in social welfare at the University of Pennsylvania, will join the School of Public Policy in the fall of 2020. “We're very fortunate to have two such promising scholars and teachers join our growing community,” said SPP Director Alasdair Roberts.

“Katz and Wu have research programs and teaching interests that intersect with the core values of the School of Public Policy while also expanding our reach into policy challenges of increasing importance,” said Jane Fountain, Distinguished University Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, who chaired the search committee. “We’re excited to have them joining SPP at this important inflection point in our history.”

Katz’s research interests include environmental policy, policy process, new public governance, and nonprofit management. Her professional background includes time as the executive director of the Montezuma Land Conservancy in Cortez, Colorado, and as a program manager and land protection fellow at the nonprofit Colorado Open Lands. In those roles, she raised more than $5 million and led the protection of 49,000 acres of land and habitat across Colorado. She has also served as a data analysis consultant for the Land Trust Alliance in Washington, DC.

Katz received a BA in international studies from Marlboro College and an MS in resource management and administration from Antioch University New England. Her dissertation, to be completed this spring, is titled “The Effects of Land Conservation Policy on the Creation of Public Values.” She has published in journals including the Review of Policy Research and the Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning.

“I’m very excited to contribute to the growth of the School of Public Policy,” Katz said. She’s also excited to work alongside and collaborate with SPP’s accomplished faculty and to make connections with like-minded academics across the UMass Amherst campus, she added. During her interview at SPP, she said, “Everyone was so thoughtful and engaged. That environment of intellectual community really appealed to me.”  

Katz looks forward to bringing her applied experience working in environmental resource management and nonprofit management to the classroom. “It will be helpful to students to have someone who’s been in these roles, bringing that theory to life and seeing how it connects to experience on the ground,” she said. Her professional networks in New England and the West will also be helpful for connecting students to internships and career opportunities.

Wu received a bachelor’s degree in public administration and laws and a law degree from the University of Hong Kong, as well as a master’s in nonprofit leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently completing her dissertation, “The Promises and Challenges of Community Philanthropy: Exploring Place Dilemma, Community Leadership, and Public Engagement on Social Media for Leading Change.”

Wu’s research interests lie at the intersection of nonprofit management, social policy, democratic governance, and organizational and community sociology. In times of increasing inequality and divides in society, my research adopts a ‘place’ perspective to examine how nonprofit organizations shape—and in turnare shaped by—the place they serve and policy issues such as inequality,” she said. “Despite place constraints, I argue that nonprofit organizations might increase their impact through exercising community leadership and public engagement on social media to catalyze public problem-solving.”

In the classroom, she continued, “my goal is to empower students to be community and public leaders by equipping them with strategic leadership and data analytics skills to navigate and tackle complex policy problems for advancing the public good.”

The managing editor of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Wu has published in the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership, the International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, and the Academy of Management Proceedings. Her coauthored paper “The Place Dilemma of Community Foundations: ‘Equalizing’ the Inequality?” received the 2017 Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) Best Conference Paper Award.

I am delighted to be a part of the SPP family,” Wu said. “SPP offers me an excellent research hub to conduct cutting-edge empirical research on nonprofit management. Not only is the SPP team made up of top-notch scholars from many disciplines, they are also very supportive and excited about my research.” She looks forward to contributing to collaborative research endeavors at the National Center for Digital Government and the Computational Social Science Institute, she added.

Katz and Wu are the first faculty members hired under the School of Public Policy’s expansion plan, which includes significant growth in its graduate programs, the creation of an undergraduate major, and the hiring of new faculty. As graduate student enrollment expands, seven additional faculty members will be hired by 2022. The new hires will be the first to have their tenure lines in SPP. They will join SPP’s current group of award-winning faculty members with joint appointments in departments across the campus.

About the School of Public Policy: Established in 2016, the UMass Amherst School of Public Policy prepares students for leadership in public service. The program’s focuses include social change and public policy related to science and technology.

Contact: Maureen Turner, communications manager, School of Public Policy


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