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Trenton Davis - Georgia Southern University. Statesboro, GA, US

Trenton Davis

Chair and Associate Professor of Public Administration | Georgia Southern University


Trenton Davis' research focuses on leadership and effective human resource management.



Professor Davis received his Ph.D. in Political Science (with fields in Public Administration and American Government-Public Law) from Northern Illinois University in May 2007. He also holds a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) and Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from Missouri State University. His research primarily focuses on organizational change, small group behavior, public service motivation, compensation practices, innovation management, and leadership within public organizations. Professor Davis has research appearing in the Review of Public Personnel Administration, Journal of Public Affairs Education, State and Local Government Review, Nonprofit Management and Leadership, The Social Science Journal, and Human Resource Management: Problems and Prospects (5th and 6th editions). He joined the faculty at Georgia Southern University in August 2007. Professor Davis has served as the MPA program director since January 2009. He is also the founding director of the Institute for Public and Nonprofit Studies (now the Department of Public and Nonprofit Studies).

Areas of Expertise (5)


Organization Development and Behavior

Public Administration

Human Resource Management

Local Government Management

Education (3)

Northern Illionis University: Ph.D., Public Administration, Political Science 2007

Missouri State University: M.P.A., Public Management 2003

Missouri State University: B.S., Public Administration 2002

Articles (3)

Revisiting the Information Technology Skills Gap in Master of Public Administration Programs

P. Cary Christian, Trenton Davis,

Journal of Public Affairs Education

2016 This study investigates how employees in government entities develop information technology (IT) competence and the extent to which training in Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs contributes to such competence. To facilitate this evaluation, we surveyed government employers and MPA program alumni and carried out a content analysis of MPA program offerings. We use results from the employer survey to gauge employer perceptions of IT-related knowledge levels of employees with MPA degrees, and we use the survey of MPA program alumni to ascertain alumni perceptions of their own competence. Our content analysis of MPA program technology offerings provides insight into what IT training is available to help students meet the identified functional IT needs of the organizations surveyed. Our findings indicate a gap between MPA curricula and such critical skills, and we provide recommendations for curricular changes to address this gap.

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Of politics, self-preservation, and symbolism: An investigation of jurisdiction-stripping and legislative redistricting

The Social Science Journal

Brett W. Curry, Trenton Davis

2014 Jurisdiction-stripping has long been a questionable component of Congress's power to supervise the judiciary's policymaking role. It has gained notoriety in recent debates surrounding judicial involvement in areas including religious establishment and privacy issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Most scholarship equates the advocacy of jurisdiction-stripping measures with symbolic position-taking that is unmotivated by the goal of traditional policy success. This work, a quantitative case study of the first such measure to pass the House of Representative since Reconstruction, seeks to isolate legislative motivations for exerting jurisdictional controls against the Supreme Court. Legislators’ votes on this measure were multifaceted. While those decisions were guided in part by the symbolic and representational considerations that traditionally underlie the advocacy of such legislation, there is also evidence more substantive motivations played a part. The study highlights the evolving objectives of jurisdiction-stripping's advocates and, more broadly, Congress's objectives vis-à-vis the courts.

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Understanding the Compensation of Nonprofit Executive Directors: Examining the Influence of Performance and Organizational Characteristics

Nonprofit Management and Leadership

Trenton Davis, Nathan J. Grasse, Douglas M. Ihrke

2014 In this study we aimed to provide a better understanding of executive compensation in nonprofit organizations. We examined factors including organizational size, market, subsector, organizational type, staffing level, and organizational performance as potential influences driving variation across the nonprofit sector. The models utilize data on the population of nonprofit organizations required to file Form 990 returns with the Internal Revenue Service in order to broadly examine compensation. The results indicate associations between various measures of performance and compensation in nonprofit organizations and also suggest that different types of nonprofits may be sensitive to different measures of performance.

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