Chris Koliba

Dr, Chris Koliba
  • Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor

Contact Info

Wescoe Hall, Room 4060


Christopher Koliba is the Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor of Public Administration, Policy & Governance at the University of Kansas School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA). He possesses a Ph.D. from the Interdisciplinary Social Science Program an MPA from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and a BS in Finance from the Whitman School of Business at Syracuse University.  Prior to joining the SPAA faculty in 2023, he served as Professor in the Community Development and Applied Economics Department at the University of Vermont where he served as the Director or Co-Director of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program for many years.  In 2020 he established UVM’s first Office of Engagement to serve as the “front door” to the university and incubator of community-university partnerships.  Chris has had substantial research administration leadership as well, serving as the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Social Ecological Gaming and Simulation (SEGS) Lab, Associate Director of Vermont EPSCoR, and a fellow at the Gund Institute for Environment. He was elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration in the fall of 2023.


Chris enjoys teaching courses pertaining to public policy and public affairs, public administration, organizational theory and behavior, sustainable and resilient communities, systems analysis and strategic management, and the intersection of science and society. He has advised and supported countless students completing their doctoral dissertations, master’s thesis, and undergraduate research thesis. 


He is married, father to three children and one grandchild. He likes to paint, hike, paddle, meditate and listen to world music.


Chris’ research interests encompass questions at the intersection of governance networks, complex adaptive systems, and community resilience, sustainability, and justice.  He has undertaken empirical research using a diverse array of computational, statistical, and qualitative methods in important areas of “critical infrastructure” including water quality, flood hazard mitigation, food systems, smart grid and green energy, biosecurity, transportation planning, education, public health, and disaster response.  He has served as PI, Co-PI, or Science Leader on grants from the National Science Foundation, the United States Departments of Transportation, Energy, Agriculture, and Education, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the Spencer, Bay Paul, and Miller Foundations.

Selected Publications

He is the lead author of Governance Network in Public Administration and Public Policy (second edition) and co-editor of Networks and Collaboration in the Public Sector: Essential Research Approaches, Methodologies and Analytic Tools both published by Routledge Press.  Chris has twenty-two book chapters on topics relating to public administration and network governance theory and research methodologies.  He has published seventy-six peer-reviewed articles with collaborators in many of the leading public administration and public policy journals, as well as leading domain-related journals pertaining to computer simulation and modeling, risk management and communication, urban planning, ecological economics, food systems, water resources, land use, energy policy, transportation policy, epidemiology, environmental management and law, veterinary sciences, education policy and pedagogy.

Other publications:

Recent books:

Voets, J., Keast, R. and Koliba, C., Editors.  2019. Networks and Collaboration in the Public Sector: Essential Research Approaches, Methodologies and Analytic ToolsLondon:  Routledge Press. 

Koliba, C., Meek, J., Zia, A. and Mills, R. 2018. Governance Networks in Public Administration and Public Policy (Second edition). Oxfordshire, UK: Routledge Press.


Recent book chapters:


Koliba, C. and Spett, E. (accepted). What Public Administrators Need to Understand About Artificial Intelligence and Strategic Management. Handbook on Strategic Management. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.


Koliba, C., Gerrts, L., Rhodes, M-L. and Meek, J. 2022. Complexity Theory and Systems Analysis. Ansell, C. and Torfing, J. (editors) Handbook on Theories of Governance, Second edition. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. 364-379.


Voets, J., Brandsen, T., Koliba, C. and Verschuere, B. 2021. Collaborative GovernanceEncyclopedia of Governance. Springer.


Zia, A. and Koliba, C. 2021. The Complexity of Integrating Sustainability With Transportation Asset Management Processes: Governance Of Intergovernmental Decision-Making On Prioritizing Transportation Infrastructure Projects. J. Meek (editor) Handbook on Collaborative Management. Elgar Press.


Koliba, C. 2021. Mapping the Communities of Practice of Public Administrators. J. Meek (editor) Handbook on Collaborative Management. Elgar Press.


Koliba, C., Egler, M, and Posner, S. 2020. Governing for Sustainable Development: Rethinking Governance and Ecological Economics.  In Costanza, R., Erikson, J., Farley, J. and Kubiszewski, I. (eds.). Sustainable Wellbeing Futures: A Research and Action Agenda for Ecological Economics.  London: Elgar.


Koliba, C. 2019.  The Value Neutrality of “Smart” and “Self” Governance. In Koopenjan, J., Marcel Karre, P., and Termeer, K. (eds.) Smart Hybridity.  Potentials and challenges of new governance arrangements.  Amsterdam: Bestuurskunde (Public Administration).


Voets, J., Koliba, C., and Keast, R. 2019. A Methodological Perspective on Network and Collaboration Research. 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. Pp.1-19.


Koliba, C., Zia, A. and Merrill, S. 2019.  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. Pp. 210-231.


Selected Peer Review Publications:


Liu, T.L., Merrill, S.C., Aislinn, O., Clark, E.M., Langle-Chimal, O., Trinity, L., Shrum, T.R., Koliba, C.J.,

Zia, A., Sellnow, T.L., Sellnow, D.D., Smith, J.M. 2022.  Effects of Message Delivery on Cross-cultural

Biosecurity Compliance: Insights from Experimental SimulationsFrontiers in Veterinary Science. 1673.


Koliba, C., Merrill, S.C., Zia, A., Bucini. G., Clark, E., Shrum, T., Wiltshire, S. and Smith, J.M. 2022. Assessing Strategic, Tactical, and Operational Decision-Making and Risk in a Livestock Production Chain Through Experimental Simulation PlatformsFrontiers in Veterinary Science. 9.


Zia, A., Schroth, A., Hecht, J.S., Isles, P., Clemins, P.J., Turnbull, S., Bitterman, P., Tsai, Y., Mohammed, I.N., Bucini, G., Doran, E.M.B., Koliba, C., Bomblies, A., Beckage, B., Winter, J., Adiar, E., Rizzo, D., Gibson, W. and Pinder, G. 2022. Climate Change-Legacy Phosphorus Synergy Hinders Lake Response to Aggressive Water Policy TargetsEarth’s Future.


Shrum, T.R., Nowak, S.A., Merrill, S.C., Hanley, J.P., Clark, E.M., Zia, A., Koliba, C. 2022. Pro-Environmental Attitudes, Altruism, and COVID-19 Risk Management BehaviorJournal of Risk Research10.31235/


Roy, E., Esham, M., Jayathilake, N., Otoo, M., Koliba, C., Wijethunga, I.B., Fein-Cole, M.J. 2021. Compost Quality and Markets are Pivotal for Sustainability in Circular Food-Nutrient Systems: A Case Study of Sri Lanka. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. 5.


Bitterman, P. and Koliba, C.J. 2020. Modeling Alternative Collaborative Governance Network Designs: An Agent-Based Model of Water Governance in the Lake Champlain Basin, Vermont. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory,  muaa013, 636-655.


Zia, A., Ding, S., Messer, K.D., Haoran, M., Suter, J., Jacob R., Fooks, J.R., Guilfoos, T., Trandafir, S., Uchida, E., Tsai, Y., Merrill, S., Turnbull, S., and Koliba, C. 2020. Characterizing Heterogeneous Behavior of Non-Point Source Polluters in a Spatial Game under Alternate Sensing and Incentive Designs.  Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management.


Clark, E., Merrill, S., Trinity, L., Bucini, G., Cheney, N., Langle-Chimal, O., Shrum, T., Koliba, C., Zia, A., and Smith, J., 2020. Using Experimental Gaming Simulations to Elicit Risk Mitigation Behavioral Strategies For Agricultural Disease ManagementPLOSOne. 15(3)


Wiltshire, S., Zia, A., Koliba, C., Buccini, G., Clark, E., Merrill, S., Smith, J. and Moegenburg, S. 2019. Network Meta-metrics: Identifying Effective Indicators of Epidemiological Vulnerability in a Livestock Production System Model. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (JASS). 22(2). <;


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 Missisquoi 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 Sharingto the Value Proposition of a Food Systems Network. Public Management


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


Koliba, C., DeMenno, M., Brune, N. and Zia, A. 2014. The Salience and Complexity of Building, Regulating and Governing the Smart Grid: Lessons from a Statewide Public-Private Partnership.  Energy Policy

Mills, R. and Koliba, C. 2014. The Challenge of Accountability in Complex Regulatory Networks: The Case of the Deepwater Horizon Oil SpillRegulation & Governance. DOI:10.1111/rego.12062


Koliba, C., Campbell, E. and Zia, A.  2011. Performance Measurement Considerations in Congestion Management Networks: Evidence from Four Cases. Public Performance Management Review. 34(4): 520-548.


Koliba, C., Zia, A., and Lee, B. 2011. Governance Informatics: Utilizing Computer Simulation Models to Manage Complex Governance Networks. The Innovation Journal: Innovations for the Public Sector. 16(1). Article 3:2-25.


Koliba, C., Mills, R. and Zia, A. 2011. Accountability in Governance Networks: Implications Drawn from Studies of Response and Recovery Efforts Following Hurricane Katrina. Public Administration Review. 71(2): 210-220. [Winner: 2011 Marshall Dimock Award for Best Lead Article, PAR]


Zia, A., Kauffman, S., Koliba, C., Beckage, B., Vattay, G., and Bomblies, A.  2013. From the Habit of Control to Institutional Enablement: Re-envisioning Governance of Social Ecological Systems from the Perspective of Complexity Sciences.  Complexity, Governance and Networks. 1(1). DOI: 10.7564/14-CGN4


From 2019 to 2022 Chris served on the Executive Council of the Network of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). He is the past Chair and Treasurer of the Section on Complexity and Network Studies of the American Society for Public Administration, as program committee co-chair or member for the 2018 and 2019 NASPAA conferences, the 2023 Social Equity Leadership Conference, and the 2016 Public Management Research Conference. In 2015, Chris was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, and continues to do collaborative research with colleagues there.  In 2018 he and his colleagues from Vermont EPSCoR won a regional Emmy Award for the documentary series, Saving Our Waters.  In 2012 he won the Marshall Dimock Award for Best Lead Article in Public Administration Review.  He has served stints on the editorial boards for Public Performance Management Review, the Journal of Administrative Science, Complexity, Networks & Governance,Central European Economic Journal, State and Local Government Review, and the Journal of Public Affairs Education.  He has also served as an elected school board chair and member and on his local town planning commission.