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, performance and human resource management, and qualitative research methods. She especially is interested in supporting public policy and management students in the design and implementation of socially impactful innovations.
Dr. Morrison is a qualitative researcher and skilled organizational ethnographer, with 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 and impactful policy outcomes.
Dr. Morrison is a three-time National Science Foundation awardee in 2013-2015 (“Catalyzing Discovery for Social Impact: Exploring the Power of the Research-Academic-Policy Nexus to Stimulate Policy Innovation;” “Curriculum Blueprint to Enhance Social Scientists’ Capacities to Create and Sustain Social Change;” “Catalyzing Innovation for Social Impact”). All three 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 molding students into entrepreneurial policy catalysts capable of supporting successful social science research transmission to the policy and nonprofit spheres.
Dr. Morrison is also an education specialist, currently studying the endorsement implementation process as mandated by House Bill 5 in 2013. Through in-depth interviews with district administrators and counselors, as well as a parent survey, she is building a multi-lens narrative of the opportunities and challenges related to Texas public high school students’ participation in the endorsement process. Her past study, “Employer Strategies for Supporting Out of School Time Programming in Texas: Incentives for Action, Opportunities for Collaboration,” was also funded by the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium, and examined working parent challenges associated with providing care to their school-aged children during working hours and how Texas employers manage and support the experience. In 2014-2015, Dr. Morrison led a Bush capstone team supporting the McKenna Foundation’s (New Braunfels) efforts to develop a community-wide school readiness initiative across Guadalupe and Comal Counties.
Dr. Morrison teaches in the online program, including Performance Management, Management of International NGOs, Management and Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations, and Volunteer and Human Resource Management.
Before returning to the United States, Dr. Morrison was deeply involved in higher education 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 almost two decades of experience teaching and managing team process.
Dr. Morrison holds a PhD 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.