University of Vermont

Curt Ventriss Named a 2013 University Scholar

Faculty profile

Professor Curt Ventriss, a 2013 University Scholar. Photo credit: Sally McCay, UVM Photo Services
Professor Curt Ventriss, a 2013 University Scholar. Photo credit: Sally McCay, UVM Photo Services

Curtis Ventriss, professor of public policy and natural resources in the Rubenstein School, was recognized as one of four 2013 University Scholars.  Curt has researched and published extensively in the areas of economic development, public policy, policy and administrative ethics, public management, and citizen engagement in the policy process. His current research and teaching focuses on three major areas: policy formulation, policy implementation, and civic engagement in the policy process.

Each year, distinguished UVM faculty, two from basic and applied sciences and two from social sciences and humanities, are named as University Scholars in recognition of their sustained excellence in research and scholarly activities. They are selected by a panel of faculty scholars based upon nomination by UVM faculty.

In his letter of nomination, Rubenstein School Professor Bob Manning wrote that “I am honored to nominate Curt for the University Scholar Award because I believe he embodies the objectives of this award. He has conducted a long-term program of research and scholarship that has attained national and international recognition.  He has worked hard across multiple academic units to advance the study of public administration and policy at UVM.  And his impact on undergraduate and graduate students has been substantial.”

In the 1980s and ’90s Curt directed UVM’s Master of Public Administration program and served on the faculty of UVM’s Political Science department. In 2003, former Dean Don DeHayes of the Rubenstein School recognized a need for public policy expertise in the School and brought Curt on as a full-time faculty member to fill the gap in the School where he already held a secondary appointment.

Because of his interest in graduate level education, Curt developed and still instructs NR 354 Environmental Policy and Management.  He also teaches the graduate level Public Policy and Participation (NR 385), and Environmental Governance (NR 385), as well as PA 306 Policy Systems (through UVM’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences).  In addition, he offers undergraduates NR153 Introduction to Environmental Policy, NR 254 Advanced Natural Resources Policy, and NR 285 Environmental Policy.

Curt has advised numerous graduate students in the School and across campus and has served on graduate committees of countless others.  He plays an especially important role in advising many of Bob Manning’s graduate students who study policy and management of national parks in the Rubenstein School. He has been recognized with a UVM Class Council Certificate “For Having Such an Extraordinary Impact on the Lives of UVM Students.”

“Curt Ventriss is an exceptional professor, mentor, colleague, and scholar,” says Tina Nabatchi (UVM-MPA ’99), now assistant professor in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.  “He ignited my love of public administration and inspired me to pursue a PhD in the field. It's been more than a decade since I was in his classroom, yet I still recall his lessons and continue to learn from him and his work. His scholarship is thoughtful and meaningful and has made important and lasting contributions to the field of public administration and policy. He is very deserving of the University Scholar Award.”

A longtime visiting professor at Oxford University in the United Kingdom and Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore, Maryland, Curt maintains a close relationship with Johns Hopkins.  He intends to conduct some of his research at the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health during a sabbatical leave for the 2013-14 academic year.  He served on the Board of Directors of the Jeffords Center for Policy Research at UVM and served for many years with the Vermont World Trade Center to which he was appointed for his international trade expertise by former Governor Howard Dean.

Curt has published two books and over 100 book chapters, academic journal articles, and research papers, which have resulted in a number of awards. One of his articles received the Brownell Award as the best research essay in public affairs by the journal Public Administration Review, and two of his articles, selected as classics in public affairs (civic engagement), were published in a Classics Volume sponsored by the American Society for Public Administration.

He was also selected as one of five “distinguished scholars” at the Minnowbrook III Conference sponsored every twenty years by the Maxwell School which brings together the top emerging and established scholars in public affairs. He has been invited as a keynote speaker at a number of national and international policy conferences and held editorial positions with many of the premier journals in public affairs, including appointment as associate editor of Pubic Administration Review, the leading journal in the field.

Curt and his wife Lisa Ventriss, president of the Vermont Business Roundtable and member of the UVM Board of Trustees, live in South Burlington with their 14-year-old son, Alex.  Curt has two stepsons: Finn, who lives in Boston, and Ian (UVM ’10), who lives in Lake Tahoe. Curt jogs 2-3 miles a day, hikes, and spends summers at their cabin on Lake Dunmore in Middlebury, Vermont.