Deborah L. Kerr, PhD, joined the graduate faculty of the Bush School of Government & Public Service in 1999 and is a Professor of the Practice. She teaches graduate courses in public policy theory, organizational performance measurement, and management. Her teaching has been recognized with the University's 2008 Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching (based on nomination and support from current and former graduate students) and with Silver Star Awards given by the graduating classes of 2009, 2014, 2015, and 2018 for outstanding service and dedication. She conducts research on performance measurement use in small- and medium-sized nonprofits.
She has been an executive in private, public, and nonprofit organizations. Her academic and practice expertise includes performance management and measurement, talent management, and manager and executive performance. She has served on the board of the Central Texas Food Bank and currently serves on the board of Family Eldercare.
While an executive at the Texas State Auditor's Office (SAO), she led the development of one of the nation's first public sector balanced performance measurement scorecards; in 2004, the SAO and its measurement system was recognized as one of the world's best when it was elected to the Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame. She also helped implement other innovative work processes that were adopted by audit organizations across the US. She served as an executive at the American Heart Association.
Dr. Kerr teaches occasional classes for the University of Texas’ Continuing Professional Education program; in 2016, she received the UT Continuing Professional Education Excellence Award for outstanding teaching and service. At the Maxwell School of Government, Syracuse University, she served on the National Advisory Panel for Human Resource Performance Measurement to develop public sector performance measures for the "Grading Government" studies published by Governing magazine.
Dr. Kerr’s work in organizational measurement was named a "best practice" by the Society for Human Resource Management. Her methodology for performance measurement systems was featured in both Paul Niven's book Balanced Scorecard Step-by-Step and Mohan Nair's Essentials of the Balanced Scorecard. The Austin American-Statesman, Austin Woman, and Financial World magazines have written about her work.
Her articles have been published in Texas CEO, the Austin Chamber Magazine, Perform magazine, and the Journal of Accountancy. They have been republished in Italy and India as well. She coauthored a chapter on consulting to public sector organizations for the textbook In Action: Building a Successful Consulting Practice. She is frequently asked to speak at national, regional, and state conferences about performance measurement and evidence-based management.
She holds degrees from St. Mary's College (Notre Dame), Columbia University (New York), and the University of Texas at Austin.