Professor and Director of the MPA Program

Chris Koliba is a Professor in the Community Development and Applied Economics Department at the University of Vermont (UVM), the Director of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program, the Co-Director of the Social Ecological Gaming and Simulation (SEGS) Lab ( and a fellow at the Gund Institute on Ecological Economics. He possesses a Ph.D. and an MPA from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.  His research interests include environmental governance, governance networks, community resilience, network performance and accountability, with applications to water quality, food systems, energy systems, emergency and disaster response, and sustainable transportation systems. He has served as PI, Co-PI or Science Leader on grants from the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Transportation, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Vermont Department of Education, and the Spencer Foundation. Koliba is the science leader for the social systems team of Basin Resilience to Extreme Events (BREE) project of Vermont EPSCoR.  He is the lead author of Governance Network in Public Administration and Public Policy published by Taylor & Francis and has published articles in many of the leading public administration and public policy journals.  He is recent past chair of the Complexity and Network Studies section of the American Society of Public Administration. He teaches courses pertaining to public policy and public affairs, public administration, organizational theory and behavior, systems analysis and strategic management, and the intersection of science and society.

Research and/or Creative Works


  • Social Science Leader. Basin Resilience to Extreme Event.  Experimental Program to Stimulate Research (EPSCoR). National Science Foundation
  • Social Science Leader. North East Water Resources Network. Experimental Program to Stimulate Research (EPSCoR). National Science Foundation
  • Co-Principal Investigator. A Human Behavioral Approach to Reducing the Impact of Livestock Pest or Disease Incursions of Socio-Economic Importance. United States Department of Agriculture
  • Social Science Leader. Research on Adaption to Climate Change.  Experimental Program to Stimulate Research (EPSCoR). National Science Foundation
  • Principal Investigator. A Complex Systems Approach to Assessing the Role and Impact of Health Economics in Managing End Stage Renal Disease in Rural Settings. UVM College of Medicine
  • Co-Principal Investigator. Climate Adaptation and Mitigation in the Lake Champlain Basin Program of Vermont. National Institute for Food Research. USDA. Subaward from UVM Food Systems TRI Competitive Research Program


  • Voets, J., Keast, R .and Koliba, C., editors.  2017. Researching Networks and Collaboration in the Public Sector: A Guide to Approaches, Methodologies and Analytics. Oxfordshire, UK: Routledge Press. 
  • Koliba, C., Zia, A. and Merrill, S. 2017.  Using Agent-Based Models to Study Network and Collaborative Governance. In Voets, J. Keast, R. and Koliba, C. (editors). Researching Networks and Collaboration in the Public Sector: A Guide to approaches, methodologies, and analytics. New York: Routledge.
  • Koliba, C. and Koopenjan, J. 2015.  Managing Networks as Complex Adaptive Systems.  Loeffler, E. and Bovaird, T. (eds.) Public Management and Governance (3rd edition). New York: Routledge Press.
  • Koliba, C. 2015. Civil Society Organization Accountability within Governance Networks. Laville, J.L., Young, D., and Eynaud, P. (editors). Civil Society, the Third Sector and Social Enterprise: Governance and Democracy. New York:  Routledge Press.RECENT PEER REVIEW PUBLICATIONS
  • Kapucu, N. and Koliba, C. (accepted for publication). The Use of Competency-based Portfolio as Pedagogical Tool and Assessment Strategy in MPA Programs. Journal of Public Affairs Education.
  • Zia, A., Bomblies, A., Schroth, A., Koliba, C., Isles, P., Tsai, Y., Mohammed, I., Bucini, G., Clemins, P., Turnbull, S., Rogers, M., Hamed, A., Beckage, B, Winter, J., Adair, C., Galford, G., Rizzo, D., and Van Houten, J., 2016. Coupled Impacts of Climate and Land Use Change Across a River-Lake Continuum: Insights from an Integrated Assessment Model of Lake Champlain’s Missisiquoi Basin, 2000-2040. Environmental Research Letters.  11(11).
  • Koliba, C. Wiltshire, S., Scheinert, S. Turner, D., Zia, A., and Campbell, E. 2016. The Critical Role of Information Sharing
to the Value Proposition of a Food Systems Network. Public Management Review.
  • Romolini, M., Grove, M., Ventriss, C., Koliba, C. and Krmkowski, D., 2016. Towards an Understanding of Citywide Urban Environmental Governance: An Examination of Stewardship Networks in Baltimore and Seattle. Environmental Management.
  • Tsai, Y., Zia, A., Koliba, C., Bucini, G., Guilbert, J., and Beckage, 2015.  An Interactive Land Use Transition Agent-Based Model (ILUTABM): Endogenizing Human Environment Interactions at Watershed Scales. Land Use Policy. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2015.07.008
  • Fernandez, L., Koliba, C., Cheung, K., Zia, A., Jones, C., and Solomon, R.  2015. Using System Dynamics Modeling to Project Critical Care Pathways Populations and Costs for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD): US Population to 2020. Journal of Health Economics and Outcomes Research. 3(1): 24-33.
  • Zia, A., Koliba, C., Meek, J., and Schulz, A. 2015. Scale and Intensity of Collaboration as Determinants of Performance Management Gaps in Polycentric Governance Networks:  Evidence from a National Survey of MPOs. Policy & Politics. 43(3): 367-390.
  • Koliba, C., Reynolds, A., Zia, A., and Scheinert, S. 2015. Isomorphic Properties of Network Governance: Comparing Two Watershed Governance Initiatives in the Lake Champlain Basin Using Institutional Network Analysis. Complexity, Governance & Networks. 1(2). 99–118. DOI: 10.7564/14-CGN12

Awards and Recognition

  • 2012 Marshall Dimock Award for Best Lead Article in the Public Administration Review. Accountability within Governance Networks: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina.
  • 2009 Most downloaded article. International Journal of Public Administration for Paper: Koliba, C. and Gajda, R. 2009. Communities of Practice as an Empirical Construct: Implications for Theory and Practice. International Journal of Public Administration. 32 97-135.
  • 2008 Best unpublished work on Accountability and Ethics. Johnson Institute for Shared Responsibility. University of Pittsburgh. For the paper co-authored with R. Mills: Accountability within Governance Networks: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina. (Eventually published in Public Adminstration Review.)
  • 2007 Nominee for Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award, University of Vermont
  • 2007 Inductee. Pi Alpha Alpha (Public Administration National Honor Society)
  • 2005 Best Rural Education Research Article for "Place-based education in the standards-based reform era- conflict or complement?" as selected by Mr. Rural Ed. Blog
  • 2005 Finalist for Thomas Ehrlich Award for Community Service-Learning, Campus Compact.
  • 2005 John Glenn Scholar in Service-Learning. Critical Issues and Priorities. John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy. Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

Associations and Affiliations

  • American Society of Public Administration
  • Public Management Research Association
  • International Research Society for Public Management
  • National Network of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration
Chris Koliba

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

public administration, network governance, critical food, energy, water, transportation infrastructure, community resilience, complex adaptive systems


  • BS Finance. Whitman School of Business, Syracuse University
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA), Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
  • Ph.D. Interdisciplinary Social Science, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University


  • 802.656.3772
Office Location:

103D Morrill Hall

Courses Taught

  • PA 301 Foundations of Public Administration
  • PA 302 Organizational Theory and Behavior
  • PA 317 System Dynamics and Strategic Management
  • PA 375 Public Administration Capstone
  • PA 206 Introduction to Contemporary Public Affairs