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 work is a book titled A Place to Call Home: Women as Agents of Change in Mumbai. The book is based on an ethnographic field study that examines the lives of women displaced by slum clearance and relocated to the largest slum resettlement site in Asia. Through conversations with diverse women of different ages, levels of education, types of employment, marital status, ethnicity, caste, religion, and household make-up, I recount how women negotiate a drastic change in environment, from makeshift housing in a park slum to ownership of a high-rise apartment in a posh Mumbai suburb. Each phase of their city lives reflects how women initiate change and disseminate a vision valuable to planners intent on urban and residential transformations. The book urges the concerted engagement of residents in design, development, and evaluation of place-making processes in cities and within their own neighborhoods especially. This book will interest scholars of public policy, women and gender studies, South Asian studies, and urban planning.
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.