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Quick Facts

  • Top 25% - Ranking among doctoral programs in "Public Policy, Public Affairs and Public Administration" according to the National Research Council
  • 72 - Number of students enrolled in the program in Fall 2016
  • 12 - Number of program graduates in 2015-16

Recent Graduates

 Matt Bagwell - Governance and Policy Track

Dissertation Chair: Professor Thomas Wan

Dissertation Title: Disparities in Emergency Room Utilization Among Older Adults Treated by Rural Health Clinics

The aim of this study is to analyze race, ethnicity, place of residence, socioeconomic, and clinic type influence on emergency room utilization of older adult patients treated by Rural Health Clinics (RHCs). A prospective, 2-level, longitudinal, non-experimental, design will be employed to analyze potential health disparities that may exist among Black, Hispanic, rural, Dual Eligible and RHC Medicare (65+) beneficiaries and the organizational-level factor of clinic type, using survival or event history analysis as a time-factoring statistical method. The years under investigation in this proposed study are from 2010 through 2012.


   David Kanaan - Governance and Policy Track 

Dissertation Chair: Thomas Wan

Dissertation Title: Social Disorganization and Florida Public High School Academic Performance. 

This research examines how social disorganization is associated with Florida public high school academic performance. The study is a cross-sectional, non-experimental design utilizing secondary data in a structural equation model to measure community-level associations and multiple linear regression to measure district-level (county) associations. Whether there is a moderating effect associated with a statewide family and community participation policy incentive is also examined. The State of Florida Department of Education provided data for each indicator comprising the latent variable (dependent) measuring Florida public high school performance. The School Attendance Boundary Survey (SABS), an aggregate of the U.S. Census American Community Survey (ACS), provided data for each indicator comprising a latent variable (independent) measuring social disorganization. Results show a significant, negative association between social disorganization factors and high school academic performance at both the community and district levels. In addition, a significant positive association between receiving the Florida Five Star School Award and high school academic performance was found at the community-level with social disorganization factors simultaneously considered.


Yi-Ling Lin - Health Services Management and Research Track

Dissertation Chair: Thomas Wan

Dissertation title: The Diffusion and Performance of the Accountable Care Organization Model

This study examined ACO formation and performance using an integrative theoretical framework, Rogers' diffusion of innovation theory and Duncan's POET model. The primary purpose of this study was to determine the relative influences of contextual variables and ACO characteristic variables on how early an ACO model was adopted. The secondary purpose was to examine how executives' perceptions of ACO performance and the ACO first-year performance are influenced by the contextual variables, ACO characteristic variables, and timing of the adoption of an ACO model.  A cross-sectional design was formulated to gather data from a survey supplemented by secondary data with the analysis unit at the organization level. Study participants in the ACO survey included 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 ACO cohorts. ACO first-year performance dataset consisted only of ACO cohorts from 2012 through 2014.  


    Anastasia Miller - Health Services Management and Research Track

Dissertation Chair: Lynn Unruh

Dissertation Title: The Influence of Perceived Organizational Support, Perceived Coworker Support & Debriefing on Secondary Traumatic Stress, Compassion Fatigue & Burnout in Florida Public Safety Personnel

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationships between perceived organizational support, perceived coworker support, and debriefing on the one hand, and secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, and burnout on the other hand in Florida law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, and dispatch public safety workers. In order to explore the relationships between these constructs, the research questions will examine the relationships of the work environment of Florida public safety by administering surveys gauging perceived organizational support, perceived coworker support, and debriefing activities that the personnel participate in. The Professional Quality of Life: Compassion Satisfaction and Compassion Fatigue Version 5 will also be sent out to establish the self-reported levels of Secondary Traumatic Stress, Compassion Fatigue, and Burnout. This study will further the literature by being the first  study to compare the four different public safety fields in the state of Florida and with regards to Secondary Traumatic Stress, Compassion Fatigue, and Burnout.


    Angela White-Jones - Governance and Policy Track

Dissertation Chair: Visiting Professor Robyne Stevenson

Dissertation Title: The Missing Middle: Understanding the Effects of Social Enterprise on Nonprofit Performance

The recent financial recession has seen increased poverty, job loss and homelessness as well as decreased spending in health care, education, sanitation and housing. These factors can lead to tensions across a number of sectors and underscore the need for innovation in for-profit, nonprofit and government organizations. One area of innovation in the nonprofit sector is the social enterprise. Social enterprise is the pursuit of earned income activities for an organization that is driven by a community mission or value. Because financial and social problems are becoming increasingly intertwined, this study seeks to understand the impact of social enterprises on nonprofit organizations. The research proposes using existing data from Guidestar based on nonprofit IRS Long Form 990 as well as surveys from nonprofit organizations throughout Florida to determine financial and social outcomes of organizations using a social enterprise model. Using financial and social outcomes, the end result of the study is to determine the impact of social enterprises on nonprofit finances and mission.  

Professionally, Angela works for Quest, Inc., a nonprofit organization helping individuals with disabilities, managing its grant and advocacy program and strategies.


If we can change the system and bring people together to have the right kind of conversations, then we can really make a long-term change in people's lives -- and that is the goal.
— Nancy Ellis,  Director, Center for Community Partnerships, UCF; Ph.D., public affairs, '07
I am especially proud to be a graduate of the program. The outstanding faculty and multidisciplinary curriculum have provided me with the unique opportunity to enjoy the kind of academic career I always envisioned.
— Joe Saviak,  Assistant Director and Associate Professor, Public Administration Program, Flagler College; Ph.D., public affairs, '07
Our goals are to offer students a venue for exploring interdisciplinary approaches to policy issues, building various skills for the professional work environment and creating comradery among PAF students.
— Lauren O'Bryne,  Doctoral Student and Secretary, Doctoral Program in Public Affairs Student Organization
I like the interactions that I have with my professors as advisors in developing my dissertation because they are critical, yet encouraging at the same time.
— Matt Bagwell,  Doctoral Student and Graduate Research Assistant, Rural Health Research Group
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