Director

"Classroom Learning is just a small piece of what happens in the school."

Meet Mary Tschirhart, Director of the Trachtenberg School

Urgent and complex questions face the nation and world – only by developing and critically examining perspectives on health care, education, economic development, security, the environment and other domains can we hope to answer them. Effective and ethical approaches to these questions often require analysis and action across the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

At the Trachtenberg School, students, faculty and partners actively engage in emerging and ongoing policy and administration issues. Just imagine the potential for raising the quality of education in the United States by applying the evidence base that Prof. Stephanie Cellini recently presented to policymakers “on the Hill” or the lives transformed by the students planning to implement the innovative entrepreneurial ideas they developed in Prof. Jasmine McGinnis Johnson’s Nonprofit Enterprise course.     

George Washington envisioned a university that would prepare leaders for the nation. The George Washington University has advanced that vision since its founding in 1821. We humbly continue the tradition of preparing individuals for public service careers and see our alumni in positions of leadership around the globe. 

The Trachtenberg School is based in the nation’s capital but has a broad reach. About one-fourth of students pursue interests in international contexts. While historically focused on government and public policy, the school’s programs extend to provide a cross-sector perspective, essential to addressing today’s issues. In 2018, 41% of our graduates work in the nonprofit sector, 34% in public sector, and 26% in private sector firms that serve government and nonprofits.

We are not an isolated academic enclave. Classes are taught by experts with both a theoretical background and hands-on experience in public service, including part-time faculty who are current leaders in their fields. Students graduate prepared with the practical skills needed for their careers. They gain experience by undertaking pro bono consulting for government agencies and nonprofit organizations as part of their degrees.

Washington, D.C. is not only the seat of the national government, but also includes the headquarters of major nonprofit organizations, associations and international institutions. But we do not limit our scope to this arena. Our conferences, seminars and convenings draw a diverse crowd and we participate in conferences and projects outside our Foggy Bottom home.

We invite all to engage with us in achieving our mission. In my short time here, I have found a welcoming place that inspires me to expand my view of what is possible. I see a bright future and hope you do too. 

-- Mary Tschirhart
Director, The Trachtenberg School and Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Professor of Public Service

Mary Tschirhart

  • Director of The Trachtenberg School starting August 2019
  • Past President of Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) and Pi Alpha Alpha (honorary society for public administration and policy students)
  • Current research projects include focus on credentialing programs, membership associations, national service, and human resource management  
  • Author of over 100 peer-reviewed articles, two books, and other publications 
  • On editorial boards of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly and Public Management Review
  • Board member for nonprofit organizations, most recently Columbus Humane, CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive), and ARNOVA 
  • Courses taught include Fundraising, Nonprofit Management, Organizational Behavior, Organizational Theory, Doctoral Workshop, and Capstones
  • Grant-funded project partners include AmeriCorps state programs and ASAE 
  • B.A. in Philosophy, M.B.A. in Arts Administration and Ph.D. in Business (Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management)