Dr. Dora Kingsley Vertenten is a practitioner of public policy through the American political system. Since joining USC’s faculty in 1996, she focuses on the Master of Public Administration program teaching Fundamentals of Public Policy analysis (554), the Capstone course (546) and leads both the Residency in Public Administration (506) and the Capstone Residency (507) at graduation. She has taught an International Laboratory in Dublin, Ireland (613ab), Public Administration and Society (540), Intersectoral Leadership (500) and Political Management (656) including USC’s Semester in Washington Politics program and for many years in the Sacramento Capital Center program. In the MPA’s Capstone course, Vertenten has served as coordinator of the program in Sacramento, Los Angeles and online as well as recruiting international and domestic, public and non-profit agencies to work closely with more than 75 graduate student teams.
Dr. Vertenten currently serves as Faculty Coordinator of the USC Price Master in Public Administration online (MPAOL) program and as Chair of the Price School’s Governance Department MPA Assessment Committee with responsibilities for accreditation processes. Vertenten was awarded the Price School’s Biller Award for Outstanding Faculty Performance in 2020.
Active in national professional organizations, Dr. Vertenten was elected in 2006 as a lifetime Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, an independent organization chartered by Congress to help public organizations’ strategic planning and managing for results. She is a member of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) having delivered their plenary panel presentation during the 2019 Institutional Representative conference in Washington, D.C. A frequent speaker at the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) annual meetings, Vertenten also served as a member of their Commission on Program Review and Accreditation (COPRA) as a 2020 Site Visit Team member.
Dr. Vertenten is an avid participant in social media useful for public policy debates and studies new information technologies and digital literacy. As the CEO of Trenton West, a research consulting firm, she advised Governors, Attorney Generals and other statewide Constitutional officeholders, U.S. House of Representatives’ leadership, Ambassadors, senior Party officials and major donors. Vertenten has directed statewide political operations beneficial to the White House Administration and its federal surrogates as Senior Advisor to the Chairman of the University of California’s Board of Trustees, Gerald L. Parsky for six years and was director of the California Republican National Convention Delegation 2004 in New York, NY. In 2008, Vertenten participated in her seventh national Presidential nominating convention, five times as a voting Delegate representing the State of California. A commentator on current political activities with implications for the future of American Democracy, Dr. Vertenten has written columns for Campaigns and Elections Magazine’s Campaign Insider on tactics and strategies and appeared in interviews on NBC, PBS, BBC and New York One.
Dr. Vertenten has served in numerous non-profit organizations and is particularly interested in K-12 education reform. Her leadership responsibilities have included service as President of a charter school Board of Trustees and as senior manager of a national education foundation. Additionally, Vertenten has held positions working with the California State Treasurer’s office for Jesse Unruh, the Reagan Administration’s U.S. Department of Energy Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration, U.S. House Appropriations Committee member Steny Hoyer (MD), and the City of Concord, CA Redevelopment Agency. Dr. Vertenten worked on Wall Street for Bear, Stearns and in San Francisco for an institutional investment advisory firm, Dynamic Funds Management.