Morrison, Jenny Knowles | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Jenny Knowles Morrison brings a unique perspective to her role as an American educator, having taught and researched abroad in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, over the past two decades.  Her teaching specializations include: organizational behavior, community development, nonprofit and public management, leadership, strategic and performance management, and qualitative research methods. 

At the University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School, Dr. Morrison has taught:  (PA397C) Advanced Empirical Methods for Policy Analysis:  Qualitative Research Methods for Development, (PA150S) Issues in Public Affairs: Leadership Through Public Service (Focus on Emotional Intelligence), (PA150S) Issues in Public Affairs:  Collaborative Leadership for Community Development, (PA188G ) Topics in Global Policy Studies:  Becoming a Catalyst: Building Collaborative Leadership Skills for Future Boundary Spanners.

Dr. Morrison is a qualitative researcher and skilled organizational ethnographer, with specialized methodological capacities in surveys, action research, narrative inquiry, focus groups, and in-depth interviews.  Her dissertation, “From Global Paradigm to Grounded Policy:  The Socio-Cognitive Construction of Participatory Development in Cambodia” examined the complex historical, political, and cultural nexus existing as components of collaborations between a range of international donors and local actors in developing countries.  This work has spurred her long-term research interest in how diverse actors, particularly in complex multicultural environments, are able to cross sectoral and institutional boundaries to enact sustainable policy outcomes. 

Dr. Morrison is a two-time National Science Foundation awardee in 2013 and 2014 (“Catalyzing Discovery for Social Impact:  Exploring the Power of the Research-Academic-Policy Nexus to Stimulate Policy Innovation” and “Curriculum Blueprint to Enhance Social Scientists’ Capacities to Create and Sustain Social Change”).  Both grants have focused on the building of new pathways to support social scientists in their efforts to translate innovative social science research to relevant policy stakeholders.  Dr. Morrison also researches and teaches in the area of cross-sector collaboration and is particularly interested in the leadership qualities of catalytic leaders. 

Her current study, “Employer Strategies for Supporting Out of School Time Programming in Texas: Incentives for Action, Opportunities for Collaboration,” funded by the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium, has examined the inter-relationship of working parent challenges associated with providing care to their school-aged children during working hours and how Texas employers manage and support the experience.

Before returning to the United States, Dr. Morrison has been deeply involved in program creation, development and reform during her tenure in Cambodia and the United Arab Emirates, founding the first master’s level Development Studies program in Cambodia and supporting the launch of the first doctoral program in a private university in the United Arab Emirates.  In her role as a faculty member at the Dubai School of Government, Dr. Morrison managed a year-long program accreditation and institutional reform process.  In addition, Dr. Morrison has been a consultant to a range of national government and international donor initiatives, managing several field research teams and facilitating multiple community-based workshops.  She holds specialized skills in group facilitation, cooperative inquiry, and emotional intelligence assessment, as well as has over a decade of experience teaching and managing team process. 

Dr. Morrison holds a Ph.D in Public Administration from the Wagner School, New York University, as well as a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington, and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.

Academic CV