hero image
William Hatcher, PhD, MPA - Augusta University. Augusta, GA, US

William Hatcher, PhD, MPA

Chair of the Department of Social Sciences | Augusta University


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






loading image


3Qs with William Hatcher on diversity in Augusta's MPA program 3Qs with Dr. William Hatcher on running a country like a business Unlocking Jaguar resilience: A mental health discussion | In the Wild




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 (5)

Public Administration

Public Policy

Community and Economic Development

Health Policy

Public Budgeting and Finance

Accomplishments (5)

Co-editor-in-chief (professional)

Journal of Public Affairs Education

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award (professional)

An award presented by the Georgia Political Science Association.

H. George Frederickson PA Times Best Article Award (professional)

American Society for Public Administration

Distinguished Education Leader Award, Excellent Student Support (professional)

Student Government Association at Eastern Kentucky University

Distinguished Education Leader Award, Outstanding Service (professional)

Student Government Association at Eastern Kentucky University

Education (3)

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 (5)

  • 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 (11)

Best car insurance in Georgia

WalletHub  online


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.

view more

Trust in government, and opportunities to rebuild it

Route Fifty  online


"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.”

view more

Augusta University professor weighs in on S.C. Primary

WRDW  tv


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.

view more

What does the continuing resolution that the US government keeps open consist of?

Voices of America  online


In a race against time are lawmakers in the United States Congress, who currently have 40 days to approve annual budgets that keep government agencies open. Last Saturday, with the new fiscal year imminent, the US government was under threat of a shutdown due to lack of funding. However, just hours before midnight, lawmakers reached a bipartisan agreement to enact a continuing resolution that will keep the government open until November 17, 2023. The continuing resolution was enacted after then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy relented in seeking Democratic support and gave up on demanding deep spending cuts. This move cost McCarthy his position, and he was removed from his position on Tuesday following a historic vote in the legislative body. Given the vacancy in the presidency of the House of Representatives, and the lack of negotiations on final budget laws, the outlook after November seems to become complicated, according to experts.

view more

Early Voting kicks off: WJCL 22 anchor Olivia Wile interviews Dr. William Hatcher about history

WJCL  tv


Local elections in both Georgia and South Carolina are less than a month away, with early voting underway in the Peach State. WJCL 22 News Anchor Olivia Wile breaks down the history behind early voting, and how long it lasts in both states. “I am joined now by Dr. William Hatcher who is the chair of social sciences at Augusta university and a political science professor. Thank you for joining us this morning,” said WJCL 22 News Anchor Olivia Wile. “Thank you for having me,” said Hatcher. “I’m excited to talk about early voting.” “Talk me through when early voting started," said Wile. “It’s an effort to expand democracy in the us compared to others the us has more restrictions on voting, some states have you have to register days or weeks before the election. So it was an effort along with expanding absentee ballots and reforming our system and increasing democracy,” said Hatcher.

view more

2016’s Best-Run Cities in America

WalletHub  online


William Hatcher, director of the Master of Public Administration program, was featured in a 2016 WalletHub analysis of the best-run cities in America. For the analysis, WalletHub compared 150 of the U.S.’s top cities in areas like financial stability, education, health and safety, then asked Hatcher and other local government, economic and diversity experts how to evaluate how well a city is run.

view more

How can diversity make us stronger?

Jagwire  online


William Hatcher, director of the Master of Public Administration Program, talks about how diversity makes Augusta University – and the U.S. – a stronger, more inclusive place.

view more

MPA program receives prestigious accreditation

Jagwire  online


Augusta University’s Master of Public Administration program was recently reaccredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration – a hallmark of excellence in public service education that is earned by only 63 percent of the world’s graduate public administration programs.

view more

What happens when you value diversity? Success, for a start August 15, 2016by Nick Garrett

Jagwire  online


Having a diverse campus is more than just a feather in the cap of a good university. It’s also the best way to bring the world to your own hometown. Watch to hear about some of the ways Augusta University’s various departments are bringing the wide world to classrooms, clinics and offices across the state of Georgia.

view more

Can you really run a country like a business?

Jagwire  online


William Hatcher, director of the Master of Public Administration program, talks about the feasibility of running a country (or a public institution) like a business.

view more

What will be Mike Johnson's first challenges as president of the US House of Representatives?

Voices of America  online


Republican Representative Mike Johnson began his presidency of the House of Representatives with important pending legislative challenges, such as the approval of aid packages for Israel and Ukraine, and new funds for the southern border, as well as the urgency of passing a new budget governmental. Although Johnson set out to make up for lost time during the three weeks of chaos that followed Kevin McCarthy's impeachment , experts anticipate that he would face the same negotiating challenges to pass the 12 appropriations bills needed to fund the government. Congress must approve the new funds before November 17 or the risk of a federal government shutdown would return. President Joe Biden has asked for an additional $106 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Israel and Ukraine. While Republicans hope to resume the investigation with a view to impeaching Biden for his son's business dealings.

view more

Answers (4)

Are local governments taking cybersecurity threats and steps to prevent themselves against being attacked?

View Answer >

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? 

View Answer >

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?

View Answer >

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. 

Articles (13)

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

Sage Journals

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


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.

view more

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

Wiley Online Library

William Hatcher, Martha H. Ginn


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.

view more

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


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.

view more

Local Government Cyber Insecurity: Causes and Recommendations for Improvement

Wiley Online Library

Donald Norris, Laura Mateczum, William Hatcher, Wesley Meares, John Heslen


In this paper, we address several facets of the problem we call local government cyber insecurity – a problem that plagues such governments across the nation, if not the world. We describe this problem and discuss its manifestations in local governments. This is followed by our analysis of why, on average, local government cybersecurity is managed and practiced so poorly. Next, we discuss several constraints on local governments that may help to explain why so many of these governments are not able to provide highly effective cybersecurity. We then discuss steps that local governments can and should take to improve their cybersecurity, including adopting dedicated cybersecurity budgets, adopting several highly recommended cybersecurity policies, and following best cybersecurity practices.

view more

The Curious Public Administrator

Routledge Taylor & Francis Group

William Hatcher


Louis Brownlow, one of public administration's historical thinkers, once argued that “the principal requirement of a good administrator is an insatiable curiosity.” This book is rooted in the notion that public administrators must practice insatiable curiosity to be effective, fair, and democratic. By seeking to uncover how the world works, and therefore practicing curiosity, public administrators may be more likely to move toward evidence-based decisions, improving the efficacy and efficiency of public service. Curiosity encourages public administrators to seek answers in a caring manner, and in doing so empathize with the communities that they serve. First, the book incorporates the concept of curiosity into the field of public administration. Scholarship in philosophy, business administration, social science, and other scholarly fields address curiosity, but public administration has yet to examine this concept in detail. This book fills that hole in the literature. Second, the book presents novel primary data on curiosity in public agencies by examining curious organizations and surveying local government officers. Third, the book presents novel primary data on how public affairs faculty view curiosity and incorporate the concept in their research and the classroom. Lastly, author William Hatcher integrates this information in the book’s final chapter to present a model of administrative curiosity, focusing on creating a guide for future research and teaching. Thus, this book serves as a roadmap for developing a new doctrine of curiosity in public administration theory and practice, and it will be of enormous interest to students enrolled in public affairs courses as well as practicing public administrators and nonprofit managers.

view more

Using the Asset-Building Model of Development in Teaching the Politics of Community Development in Appalachia

Journal of Appalachian Studies

2016 This teaching note discusses an undergraduate course on the politics of community development in Appalachia. The course teaches students that the economic issues facing Appalachia are the product of not only economics but also social and political factors. The goal of the course is to teach students the role that community development can play in the region...

view more

From Compassionate Conservatism to Obamacare: Funding for the Ryan White Program During the Obama Administration

American Journal of Public Health

2016 Objectives: To examine President Obama's fiscal commitment to the Ryan White Program (formerly Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resource Emergency Act), which provides funding for economically disadvantaged people and families affected by HIV.

view more

The Efficacy of Public Participation in Municipal Budgeting: An Exploratory Survey of Officials in Government Finance Officers Association's Award Winning Cities

Public Administration Quarterly

2015 Municipal reformers often call for more public participation in the budget process. However, few studies have surveyed the viewpoints of budget practitioners on the efficacy of public involvement in municipal budgeting. In this paper, we report a survey administered by e-mail to budget directors in cities that won the Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) distinguished budget presentation award in 2011.

view more

Reflecting on over 100 years of public administration education

Wiley Online Library

William Hatcher, Catherine Farrell, John Diamond


Public administration education has an interesting history rooted in numerous scholarly disciplines, such as sociology, political science, economics, and engineering. The article reflects on the last 100 years of scholarship on public administration education, starting with an article on the topic in the first issue of Public Administration in 1923. We provide a concise review focused on the development of public administration education over this time. Next, we discuss scholarship in top journals on public administration education, Journal of Public Affairs Education and Teaching Public Administration. We use Denhardt's (2001) big questions in public administration education as a framework to examine this scholarship. We conclude by discussing the future of public administration education and advocating a community-based approach to pedagogy practice and research in the field.

view more

The career paths of the chief administrative officers of U.S. cities: a survey of city managers and content analysis of how they discuss their careers

Taylor & Francis Online

William Hatcher, Beth Rauhaus, Wesley L. Meares


We expand the research on the career paths of the chief administrative officers managing cities of all sizes in the United States (U.S.) by surveying the chief administrative officers working in the small, medium, and large cities throughout the U.S. We collected 345 surveys from chief administrative officers. The survey included questions on the career paths of managers and asked respondents to discuss factors and challenges that have influenced their career paths. From our analysis, we find that the career path to city management positions often begins with prior experience in local government administration and higher educational attainment, such as an MPA degree.

view more

Introduction to the symposium on international and comparative public administration education

Journal of Public Affairs Education

William Hatcher, Bruce D. McDonald


We live in a global society. Our countries may maintain their own borders and bureaucratic structures, but the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the problems that arouse out of it have highlighted the intermingled relationship we have with all parts of the globe (McDonald et al., 2022). The interconnectedness of the globe can even be seen from our own experience as co-editors-in-chief of the Journal of Public Affairs Education. In the early days of the pandemic, printing of the journal was temporarily halted as our publisher had challenges getting access to paper from its distributor in one country, trouble shipping the paper to its printer in another, and finally delivering the hardcopies to the United States. Although this example focuses on JPAE, we are not alone. What happens in one country impacts and effects those around it. But what does this mean for public affairs education? From our standpoint, we believe that it means we should be preparing our students to engage in an international arena.

view more

Work-Life Balance in Higher Education

Routledge Taylor & Francis Group

Bruce D. McDonald III, William Hatcher


This book explores the issue and struggle of work-life balance in higher education. It provides a rare opportunity to shape the conversation surrounding work-life balance in academia and provide a venue for dialogue around balance that had previously been forced into secret. The challenges that surround work-life balance are something that we must all confront, but they are also something that is rarely discussed within academia. Faculty and graduate students face increasing demands to publish, while also being expected to effectively teach and engage in service to both the university and the community. The demands of an academic career have been cited as a reason for faculty and students to leave the academy, but they have also been tied with rising rates of depression throughout the community. Concerns about balance have led to challenges in recruiting diverse students and faculty for academic careers.

view more

Community-level internet connectivity and mental health: an analysis of United States counties

Journal of Mental Health

William Hatcher, Lance Hunter, Wesley Meares, Mary-Kate Lizotte, Dustin Avent-Holt


Background: Access to the Internet is often viewed as a positive feature of communities, but little research has been conducted examining the effects of internet access on mental health at the community level. Aims: To examine the relationship between internet connectivity and mental health in United States (US) counties, an analysis that has not been conducted in the public health literature. Methods: We analyzed predictors of mental health in US counties. Data from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the U.S. Bureau of the Census, and the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps were used to construct a time-series regression analysis. The data were available from 2013 to 2016. Results: US counties that increased their internet connectivity over this period also had more citizens report suffering from mental health conditions. Conclusions: Public health needs to focus on the county-level predictors of mental health and how internet connectivity may not always produce positive effects and may be contributing negatively to the mental health of communities.

view more