William Hatcher, PhD, MPA

Chair of the Department of Social Sciences

  • Augusta GA UNITED STATES

Dr. William Hatcher focuses on public administration and social, economic and political institutions in local communities.

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Spotlight

3 min

Think your city is ready for a cyber-attack? Think again according to our experts

There is no way around it; every day there are new cybersecurity threats to not only individuals, but governments at all levels as well. There have been some high-profile breeches that involve major cities like Atlanta and Baltimore.But those attacks are going to all levels, and recent research has shown most municipalities and cities are ill-prepared for cyberattacks.Research conducted by Donald Norris, PhD, and Laura Mateczun, JD, of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County along with William Hatcher, PhD, Wesley Meares, PhD, and John Heslen, PhD, of Augusta University, found various reasons why local governments struggle with cybersecurity.The research shows local governments recognize the need for cybersecurity but are not taking crucial next steps to ensure cybersecurity by integrating policies into daily management practices. Not just that, some local governments were unaware how often they were under cyberattack.Throw in budgetary constraints, and it leads local governments to be in a tough situation. That, unto itself, is a major sticking point, but the burden could be lessened.“Effective cybersecurity is expensive and too much of a strain on the budgets of many cities and counties,” said Hatcher, chair of the Department of Social Sciences in Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Augusta University. “This is why we suggest regional solutions to the program, so multiple governments carry the cost.” Meares, associate professor and MPA director in Pamplin College, added it’s not just the financial aspect, but said there’s a shortage of cybersecurity talent nationwide, which compounded with limited budgets, makes it tough to compete.In the quest for talent between private and public sector, usually the private sector can offer more to entice a cybersecurity expert to come work for them.There’s also an issue of many local governments using dated technologies, which may be easier for cyber criminals to attack.“Local government is increasingly being more digitally connected, with vital infrastructure, data and services connected which creates more opportunities for cyber-attacks. Additionally, local governments tend to lag in updating critical technology due to limited resources (both human and financial resources),” added Meares.None of this comes as a surprise in the lack of cybersecurity training.“It’s an expensive service for local governments to provide. This is why we suggest more budgetary support for the training,” said Heslen, assistant professor in Pamplin College. “We’re also unsurprised because local governments often struggle to fund professional training in other areas.”But researchers say there are ways to improve upon safety of critical data most notably adopting dedicated cybersecurity budgets funded at an appropriate level in all local governments. Those resources can help address many limitations in local government cybersecurity programs, from staffing and hardware and software deficiencies to awareness training for all parties in local governments.They also recommend the adoption and implementation of cybersecurity policies to manage and regulate actions taken by all that affect the organization’s cybersecurity.By taking the recommended actions, local governments will have a better chance to provide high levels of cybersecurity and protect their information assets more effectively.This is an important topic and if you are a journalist looking to know more about the importance of being ready and able to react if and when a municipality comes under threat from a cyber-attack then let us help/.William Hatcher and John Heslen are both available to speak with media simply contact them now to arrange an interview today.

William Hatcher, PhD, MPAJay Heslen, PhD

2 min

With days to go, will politicians force a deal or face a federal shutdown?

Once again, the federal government is facing a shutdown, and it could threaten crucial federal workers and programs. If a new funding agreement is not reached by Sept. 30, numerous agencies could close and many would be forced to work without pay until the funds are appropriated.William Hatcher, PhD, chair of the Department of Social Sciences in Augusta University's Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, said a shutdown would affect all of us. This includes important reviews being done by the federal government, such as the Food and Drug Administration, down to national museums and parks being closed. It would affect a large portion of the population.With the deadline looming, the White House specifically mentioned the numerous agencies that could have services curtailed, and they did this for strategic reasons, according to Hatcher.“They are doing a public service by pointing out all that will be affected via a shutdown,” said Hatcher. “Scholars have said Americans are often theoretical conservatives about the size of government, but when it comes to practice, we support public programs, and many who may say they oppose government, when you start asking them about individual programs, they have a high level of support.”Hatcher added this is partisanship at play.“One party is actually historically the most likely to push these shutdowns, even going back to the federal shutdowns in the mid-1990s. And it has often caused political damage to the party because people really realize how much a shutdown affects them when these things happen,” said Hatcher.He added this hurts the effectiveness of the public sector, our trust in government and the overall condition of our democracy when basic work doesn’t happen.While putting temporary spending plans in place can solve some problems, having a long-term deal in place is ideal.“We should be passing budgets for at least an entire fiscal year, not stopgap measures for weeks or even days. However, there is a logic to this happening. The incentives in the Republican Party reward members of Congress, especially those in the House, from making deals and support the necessity of this government spending, which makes it difficult for agreements to come together.”It's going to be an interesting week, and if you're a journalist covering the looming shutdown, then let us help with your stories.Hatcher is a professor of political science and chair of Augusta University’s Department of Social Sciences. He is an expert in the areas of public administration and social, economic and political institutions.Hatcher is available to speak with media regarding this topic. To arrange an interview today, simply click on his icon now.

William Hatcher, PhD, MPA

2 min

Politics, policy and public safety: Experts explain why a popular Atlanta festival was canceled

A sad tune is being hummed in Atlanta, where it was announced the popular annual Music Midtown festival is not happening, possibly in part due to the state’s laws surrounding guns in public parks.The event's cancellation, which brought tens of thousands of music lovers to the city -along with the tourism dollars they spend -has caused disappointment and drawn local and national media coverage.Calling it a “sad day” for the city, Atlanta City Council President Doug Shipman wrote on Twitter that: “Public policy has real impacts and, in this case, economic and social implications on a great tradition.”And state Democrats chastised Republicans for adopting a raft of pro-gun legislation, including a 2022 law that allows Georgians to carry concealed handguns without first getting a license from the state.The governor, who is seeking a second term, did not immediately comment on the festival’s decision. But state Rep. Rick Jasperse, a Jasper Republican who sponsored the 2014 law, said the measure is designed with public safety in mind.He said those intent on “causing chaos and crime in Georgia” won’t care if the festival bans firearms and would try to bring them in regardless.“Good Georgians who can qualify for a permit and carry a weapon do so to protect themselves from that element in our society,” he said.  -The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Aug. 1, 2022Organizers of events like Music Midtown could look at Georgia’s gun laws and regulation of firearms as a potential legal liability. If there is a firearms incident, organizers may fear being held legally accountable and sued for any potential damages. The companies and their risk management advisors might think twice about holding large events in Georgia. Augusta University's Dr. William Hatcher, an expert when it comes to public administration and social, economic and political institutions in local communities, agrees that event organizers might be rethinking their plans in the state."Yes. I think so. These types of laws have an impact on the economy and the business decisions of firms. We may see future effects on the economic behavior of individuals and firms."This topic could have further economic impact beyond canceled events, including affecting property values and home prices. If you're a journalist looking to know more, then let us help with your stories.Dr. William Hatcher is a professor of political science and chair of Augusta University’s Department of Social Sciences. He is an expert in the areas of public administration and social, economic and political institutions.Hatcher is available to speak with media regarding this topic. To arrange an interview today, simply click on his icon now.

William Hatcher, PhD, MPA
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Biography

An award-winning scholar, Hatcher is the interim chair of the Department of Social Sciences and an associate professor of political science. His research focuses on the connection between public administration and the development of local communities. Through his research, he tries to understand why public administration scholars and practitioners often have different views about the efficacy of certain administrative practices. His research has appeared in journals such as American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Public Affairs Education, Public Administration Quarterly, and The Review of Regional Studies. In the Department of Political Science, topics he teaches include public administration, public policy, public budgeting and finance, and community and economic development. He received his PhD from Mississippi State University in 2010.

Areas of Expertise

Public Administration
Public Policy
Community and Economic Development
Health Policy
Public Budgeting and Finance

Accomplishments

Co-editor-in-chief

Journal of Public Affairs Education

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award

An award presented by the Georgia Political Science Association.

H. George Frederickson PA Times Best Article Award

American Society for Public Administration

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Education

Mississippi State University

Doctorate

Georgia College & State University

Master's in Public Administration

Public Administration

Georgia College & State University

Bachelor's Degree

Political Science and Government

Affiliations

  • Phi Kappa Phi, National Honor Society
  • Pi Alpha Alpha, National Honor Society for Public Administration
  • Pi Sigma Alpha, National Honor Society for Political Science
  • American Society for Public Administration
  • Georgia Political Science Association

Media Appearances

Best car insurance in Georgia

WalletHub  online

2024-05-31

Why are car insurance laws so different from state to state?

In the United States, insurance regulation is often a state-level issue. This is the case in areas from healthcare to car insurance. When it comes to car insurance, the argument is that states regulate it best because of the differences in road conditions, traffic patterns, state fees, taxes, etc. Additionally, the issuing of driving licenses is a state-level issue, which makes it even more likely that the regulation of car insurance will continue to be mostly done by the states.

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Trust in government, and opportunities to rebuild it

Route Fifty  online

2024-02-22

"Trust in government is crucial in supporting a society where families and individuals can thrive,” says Justin Brown, former Oklahoma secretary of human services. “It lays the groundwork for effective policies that drive economic success and personal well-being.”

But that trust has been waning at the state and local level in recent years. As previously reported, about 45% of Americans have a less than favorable view of the trustworthiness of local governments. That’s somewhat up from 40% in 2017.
But Will Hatcher, chair of the department of social sciences at Augusta University, cautions that relying exclusively on public meetings may not engender universal trust. “It may be difficult for people in lower income groups to participate,” he says, “and that may make them less likely to trust in government. There’s a frustration in not being involved. When you expand public participation but don’t get it to as many people as possible, you’re empowering the people who already have power and potentially losing confidence from the rest.”

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Augusta University professor weighs in on S.C. Primary

WRDW  tv

2024-02-06

Republican presidential candidates Nikki Haley and Donald Trump are picking up the pace in South Carolina.

Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, made a stop in Aiken on Monday and has more trips planned leading up to the republican primary, which is a little more than two weeks away.

Former President Donald Trump will be in Conway over the weekend.

Experts say you can’t understate the importance of the Palmetto State in this year’s campaign.

“From a practical standpoint, it would be very difficult in the Republican primary for somebody to beat former President Trump,” said Professor of Public Administration at Augusta University, Dr. William Hatcher.

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Answers

Are local governments taking cybersecurity threats and steps to prevent themselves against being attacked?
William Hatcher, PhD, MPA

The research shows local governments recognize the need for cybersecurity but are not taking crucial next steps to ensure cybersecurity by integrating policies into daily management practices. Not just that, some local governments were unaware how often they were under cyberattack.

Why should a long-term deal on federal spending be a necessity? 
William Hatcher, PhD, MPA

We should be passing budgets for at least an entire fiscal year, not stopgap measures for weeks or even days. However, there is a logic to this happening. The incentive in the Republican Party reward members of Congress, especially those in the House, from making deals and support the necessity of this government spending, which makes it difficult for agreements to come together.

With a federal shutdown still on the horizon, the White House mentioned numerous agencies that could have services curtailed, did they do this for a strategic reason?
William Hatcher, PhD, MPA

They are doing a public service by pointing out all that will be affected via a shutdown. Scholars have said Americans are often theoretical conservatives about the size of government, but when it comes to practice, we support public programs, and many who may say they oppose government, when you start asking them about individual programs, they have a high level of support. 

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Articles

Telework and Work Flexibility in the United States Federal Government Post-Pandemic

Sage Journals

Lance Y. Hunter, Martha Ginn, Wesley L. Meares, William Hatcher

2024-04-11

A decade before the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States (US) federal government was working to create flexible work environments for employees under the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act. Given this reality and the growing desire for greater flexibility of workers inspired by the “Great Resignation” during the pandemic, the US federal government appears to have recovered lost employees faster than other levels of the public sector. Still, given that federal workers skew older with less than a tenth of the workforce being under age 30 years and nearly a third reaching retirement age, a true crisis still looms in our administrative state. Using the 2021 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Data, we analyze what factors predict turnover intention post-pandemic, focusing the analysis on teleworking and other workplace flexibility policies. We use the findings to make recommendations to help increase employee recruitment and retention within the US federal government.

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COVID-19 and 2020 presidential election speeches: A content analysis of pandemic campaign rhetoric

Wiley Online Library

William Hatcher, Martha H. Ginn

2024-01-17

This study examines how public health issues were communicated during the 2020 US presidential campaign, particularly those concerning the global COVID-19 pandemic. Using content analysis, we examined the available campaign speeches of the two major candidates, Donald Trump and Joseph R. Biden. We examined how the candidates discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and vital areas of public health in those speeches. Analysis of these speeches found little discussion on healthcare in general and little to no discussion on the vital areas of public health. We also found that COVID-19 statements were not as prevalent as we anticipated, given the unprecedented scope of the pandemic. Even during a pandemic, public health matters received very little attention during a Presidential campaign. Public health topics accounted for less than 1% of the content in candidates' official speeches. Given that elites help increase knowledge of public health concerns and influence policy, the lack of attention given to the pandemic in the 2020 general election cycle is surprising, if not alarming.

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Surveys show US local governments must do more to address their cyber insecurity.

London School of Economics

William Hatcher Donald F. Norris Laura Mateczun Wesley L. Meares John Heslen

2023-12-20

Cyberattacks on organizations and institutions have unfortunately become commonplace, and the 90,000 local governments in the US are often targets for these incidents. Taking data from local government surveys, William Hatcher, Donald F. Norris, Laura Mateczun, Wesley L. Meares, and John Heslen assess the current state of cybersecurity in state and local government, finding that these organizations are in fact practicing cyber insecurity. Considering these findings, they make a number of recommendations, including better funding for cybersecurity measures in local government budgets, and improved staff training and management practices.

During the summer of 2023, New York City’s school system was hit by two successful cyberattacks that left the data of over 45,000 students and their families vulnerable. In response, the NYC Department of Education centralized management of school websites, email systems, and other information technologies. This is one of the hundreds or thousands of examples of cyber-attacks on the public sector. It is telling, though, that the largest city in the US, even with its significant resources, struggles to ensure cybersecurity.

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