Robert F. Blair, PhD

Associate Professor of Public Administration and Urban Studies




School of Public Administration
University of Nebraska at Omaha
Omaha, Nebraska 68182



College of Public Affairs and Community Service Building, 111C

Telephone 402/554-3865 (Office)


FAX  402/554-2682





·         Ph.D., Political Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, August 1996. Concentrations: American national government and public administration/policy. Collateral field: urban planning. Dissertation: The Effect of Program Structure on Policy Implementation—A Policy Design Analysis of Economic Development.

·         Master of Public Administration, University of Nebraska at Omaha, December 1975. Area of Specialization - Local Government.

·         Bachelor of Arts, University of Nebraska at Omaha, May 1973. Major - Political Science, Public Administration; Minor - Economics






University of Nebraska at Omaha

·         Associate Professor, School of Public Administration, August 1996 to present. Teach undergraduate classes and graduate seminars, conduct management and policy research, advise students, and engage in university, professional, and community service activities. Director of Urban Studies Program, 2002-2009, 2011 to present. 

·         Senior Research Associate, Center for Public Affairs Research, April 1989 to August 1996. Provided technical assistance to more than 25 communities preparing economic development plans. Conduct applied and policy research in community development and housing, economic development, and urban development. Prepare resource and training materials in community development. Develop and conduct workshops for community leaders. Adjunct instructor.




Nebraska Department of Economic Development

·         Coordinator of Community Assistance Programs, October 1985 to March 1989. Managed 4 statewide programs providing technical assistance to Nebraska communities in economic and business development. Assisted community leaders formulate plans and programs for local economic development. Conducted policy analysis.

·         Industrial Development Consultant, November 1981 to October 1985. Provided technical assistance to companies actively evaluating Nebraska for branch manufacturing locations. Marketed the state to companies initiating expansion studies. Worked on 8 plant location and expansion projects that resulted in more than 300 new jobs for the state.

City of Kearney, Nebraska

·         Assistant City Manager, January 1979 to November 1981. Assisted chief administrative officer in the management of a municipality having a population of 22,000 and a city workforce of 175. Served as city personnel officer. Administered a comprehensive development program in the central business district.

City of Grand Island, Nebraska

·         City Personnel Director, August 1977 to January 1979. Managed a personnel program in a community of 33,000 with a city workforce of 330. Served as chief negotiator in contract sessions with 4 nationally affiliated unions representing 60 percent of workforce and chief examiner for independent civil service commission.

·         Assistant to Public Works Director, March 1975 to August 1977. Assisted head of line agency in the management of 75-person department. Served as department personnel, fiscal and budget officer. Conducted management and planning studies.






Faculty Appointments

·         Associate Professor, School of Public Administration, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Director of Urban Studies program, 2002-2007. Director of Local Government Programs, 2007 to present.

·         Assistant Professor, Department of Public Administration, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 1996 to 2002.

·         Instructor, Department of Criminal Justice, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1994-1995.

·         Senior Research Associate, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Center for Public Affairs Research, 1994-1996.  


Visiting International Appointments

·         Lecturer: 2012, Siauliai University, Siauliai, Lithuania, to conduct seminar on comparative public policy.

·         Researcher: 2009, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway, to study Norwegian local government management.



·         Graduate: Introduction to Public Administration, Municipal Administration, Policy Design and Implementation, Community Organizing and Development, Economic Development, The Policy Process, Interdisciplinary Seminar on the Urban Community, Program Evaluation, Applied Urban Analysis, Housing and Community Development, Capstone Research Project.

·         Undergraduate: Introduction to Urban Studies, Research Methods.


In classroom.jpg


In the classroom



Agenda and interests


·         Policy implementation: policy tools, policy networks, policy communities, neighborhood associations.

·         Policy specializations: economic development, community development, housing.

·         Public management: local government, intergovernmental collaboration, and state government. 


Selected Publications


Peer reviewed journal articles

·         City Management in the United States and Norway: A Comparative Analysis of Professional Orientations. Christian Janousek, co-author. International Journal of Public Administration, forthcoming.

·         Collaborative Mechanisms in Inter-local Cooperation: A Longitudinal Examination. Christian Janousek, co-author. State and Local Government Review. 45(4) December 2013.

·         Demographic Foundation of Rural Education in the Great Plains: The Impact of Urbanization. David Drozd and Jerry Deichert, co-authors. Great Plains Research. 23(3) Fall 2013.  

·         Smart Growth Principles and the Management of Urban Sprawl. Gerard Wellman, co-author. Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society. 42 (4), October-December 2011.

·         State Rural Development Policy: The Role of the Community Development Block Grant Program. Jerry Deichert and David Drozd, co-authors. Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management. 20 (1), Spring 2008.

·         Public Participation and Community Development: The Role of Strategic Planning.  Public Administration Quarterly 28 (1) Spring 2004.

·         Policy Tools Theory and Implementation Networks: Understanding State Enterprise Zone Partnerships. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 12 (2) April 2002

·         Managing Urban Growth: Can the Policy Tools Approach Improve Effectiveness? Public Works Management and Policy 6 (2): pp. 102-113, October 2001. 

·         Policy Implementation Networks: The Impact of Economic Development on New Public Management. International Journal of Economic Development 2(4) 2000.

·         Strategic Planning for Economic Development: A Suggested Model for Program Evaluation. Public Administration Quarterly 22: pp. 331-348, Fall 1998.

·         Economic Development in Rural Communities: Can Strategic Planning Make a Difference? B.J. Reed, co- author. Public Administration Review 53 (1), January/February 1993.          


Book chapters

·         Nebraska. In Political Encyclopedia of U.S. States and Regions, edited by Donald P. Haider-Markel. 2009, CQ Press: Washington, D.C., pp. 591-600.

·         The Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act of 1990: A Study of Congressional Policymaking. In Government at Work: Issue Evolution, Passage, Implementation, and Feedback, edited by Sunil Ahuja and Robert Dewhirst, 1998, Kendall-Hunt Publishing, pp 177-201.

·         Applying Strategic Planning to Rural Economic Development. B.J. Reed, co-author. In Rural Development Strategies, edited by Norm Reed and David Sears, 1995, Nelson-Hall: Chicago, pp. 29-58.



·         The Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program and Rural Development: A Description of Awards Granted in Nebraska during Fiscal Years 1993-2004. Jerry Deichert, David Drozd, and Nathan George, co-authors. Center for Public Affairs Research and the Nebraska Public Policy Center, University of Nebraska. April 2005.

·         Nebraska’s Community Airports: A Study of Organizational, Financial and Management Practices. Jerry Deichert, David Drozd, and Aleksandra Tepedelenova, co-authors. Aviation Institute, University of Nebraska Omaha. November 2004.

·         The Influence of Small Airports and Air Transportation on Local Economic Development: A Study of Nebraska. Jerry Deichert and David Drozd, co-authors. Aviation Institute, University of Nebraska Omaha. September 2004.

·         Nebraska Home Rule Project Phase II: Model Legislation. Dale Krane, co-author. Nebraska Commission on Local Government Innovation and Restructuring. April 2000.

·         The Practice of Home Rule. Dale Krane, co-author. Home Rule Study, Phase I. Nebraska Commission on Local Government Innovation and Restructuring. February 1999.

·         Tools for intergovernmental cooperation: The experience of Nebraska local governments. John Bartle, co-author. Nebraska Rural Development Commission, 1999.

·         Evaluation of the Nebraska Community Development Block Grant Administration Certification Program. Coordinated, edited, and contributed to student and consultant research evaluation study for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, 1998.

·         Strategic Planning: The Nebraska Way.  Orly Gilat, co-author.  Partnership for Rural Nebraska. September 1997.

·         Attitudes and Experiences in Omaha Neighborhoods.  Omaha Conditions Survey: 1993. Center for Public Affairs Research, Omaha, Nebraska, May 1994.

·         State of Black Omaha, 1992: Housing Conditions. Urban League of Nebraska, April 1992.


Applied Research Studies  

·         Strategic Management Plan for Douglas County, Nebraska Housing Authority. 2008. Center for Public Affairs Research, University of Nebraska Omaha.

·         Strategic Management Plan for Council Bluffs, Iowa Community Development Department. 2007. Center for Public Affairs Research, University of Nebraska Omaha.

·         Neighborhood Redevelopment Plan for Benson District, Omaha Nebraska. 2006. Omaha by Design, Center for Public Affairs Research and Gould Evans planning consultant.

·         Overall Economic Development Plan for North Omaha. Jerry Deichert and Heather Bloom, co-authors. Omaha Economic Development Corporation. November 2005.

·         Needs Assessment Survey of Nebraska Rural Communities. Jerry Deichert and Jordan Fuller, co-authors. Nebraska Department of Economic Development. April 2004.


Management Guides

·         Practice of Local Development: A Guide for Nebraska Communities on Creating Jobs and Business Investment. Jerry Deichert, Jordan Fuller, and Nathan George, co-authors. US Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. March 2005.

·         Community Development and Business Location Decision Making. CD Practice: Promoting the Principles of Good Practice, No. 2. Community Development Society, 1994.

·         Attracting Primary Jobs: A Guide for Nebraska Communities. Department of Economic Development, May 1993.

·         Improving the Climate for Business Expansion and Retention, Guidelines for Communities. Duane Olsen, co-author. Nebraska Cooperative Extension Service, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Fall 1987.






University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway






Siauliai University, Siauliai, Lithuania




·         Member of Editorial Board for Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society.

·         National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. Member of national task force on urban management education, 2002 to present. In 2009 began working with the International City/County Management Association in reviewing academic curricula for the education of city managers.

·         International City/County Management Association. Faculty associate member of professional organization supporting the field of city and county management. Active in international association and state chapter by attending annual and regional meetings, helping coordinate various professional development activities, promoting internships and facilitating students networking with area professionals, helping create a scholarship, and serving on the professional development and training committee.

·         Member, Economic Development District Advisory Board, Metropolitan Area Planning Agency, Omaha, Nebraska. 2008 to present.

·         Advisory Board Member and workshop presenter, Nebraska Certified Public Management program, 2008-2010.

·         Coordinator and founder, Great Plains Seminar on Local Government Management. An annual regional workshop on professional development for city managers: 2005, 2006, 2007.

·         Director, Nebraska Community Development Block Grant Certified Administrators Program, 1996 to 2001. Coordinated and helped deliver a comprehensive training program to 300 certified local CDBG administrators on technical topics relating to block grant management for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.

·         Executive Editor, Journal of the Community Development Society, 1991 to 1997, a biannual research journal on community development research, theory, and practice.

·         Strategic Training and Resource Targeting Program, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Center for Public Affairs Research: provided community and economic development planning assistance to 26 communities in Nebraska, 1989-1991.





Blair competes in sprint triathlons and is patiently waiting for the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series.



University of Nebraska Omaha,

College of Public Affairs and Community Service Building