Ashley E. Nickels, Ph.D. is an award-winning, interdisciplinary public affairs scholar. She works at the intersections of community development, urban governance, and civil society, centering her research on issues of power, civic/political engagement, and local democracy. She is the author/ co-editor of 5 books, including the award-winning book, Power, Participation, and Protest in Flint, Michigan (TUP, 2019) and the author of numerous peer-reviewed chapters and journal articles.
As an Associate Professor in the School of Peace and Conflict Studies at Kent State University, Nickels teaches classes in conflict management, community organizing, and community-based conflict transformation. She also holds faculty status in the department of Political Science, teaching courses and advising students in the M.A./Ph.D. program.
Dr. Nickels is the co-founder and co-organizer of the Growing Democracy Project, co-facilitating the democracy roundtable; co-host of the Growing Democracy Podcast; and PI for the Democracy Lab, which undertakes community-engaged research projects focused on civic life, local democracy, and urban politics.
Nickels is the incoming (beginning Jan 2023) Co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Administrative Theory & Praxis. She is also a member of the executive board of the Urban and Local Politics section of APSA, past-chair of the PA Theory Network, and past-chair of ARNOVA’s section on Community and Grassroots Associations. She also serves on the editorial boards for Public Integrity and Urban Affairs Review.
In 2023 Ashley was awarded an ICER Fellowship with the Institute of Civically Engaged Research. In 2021-2022, she was awarded a Democracy Visiting Fellowship with the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Dr. Ashley E. Nickels received her Ph.D. in public affairs with a specialization in community development from Rutgers University- Camden. She is originally from Grand Rapids, MI. She completed both her bachelors (psychology & gender studies) and masters (MPA) degrees at Grand Valley State University (Laker for a Lifetime!), before leaving the state to pursue her doctorate at Rutgers. She was recently named Outstanding Alumni-in-Residence by the GVSU College of Arts and Sciences.