I am Associate Professor at the School of Public Service at DePaul University where I teach graduate courses on sustainable international development, the management of international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), public policy implementation, and cross-sector relations.
My research, spread over three continents, draws on disciplinary perspectives in organizational behavior, urban sociology, planning, anthropology, and political science. My projects are situated in the very organizations that seek my advice in their continuous improvement efforts. In particular, I analyze the behavior of international and domestic NGOs/nonprofit organizations in the context of their interactions with three key stakeholders: 1) government agencies; 2) other NGOs/nonprofits; and, 3) intended beneficiaries.
My most recent works focus on a cohort of diverse women evicted from the slums of Mumbai who then persevered to obtain legal tenure in the city’s high-rise apartments. Although women are frequently assessed to be the most vulnerable “victims” of displacement, they are rarely discussed as agents who understand a home as a place that they must make. I find that women’s strategies to reconstruct lives and livelihoods are effective because they understand state and non-state actors as a highly fragmented and incomplete amalgam of agencies. It is this sense-making that gives way to several alternate strategies of livelihood generation which, I argue, should be considered in organizing effective urban governance.
In the years prior to my academic career in the U.S., I helped start a micro-finance institution in Southern India and worked in housing finance and development agencies in both urban and rural India. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, a Master’s in Social Work, both from India, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Design & Planning from Virginia Tech.