March 2014's Researcher of the Month
Dr. Staci Zavattaro, Assistant Professor of Political Science & Public Adminitration
Dr. Staci M. Zavattaro (2nd from right) is an assistant professor of public administration in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. Staci’s research focuses on place branding practices within local governments, and the idea of place branding is to increase economic resources to the city through tourism, travel, or news business ventures without putting serious strain on existing infrastructure. Since joining the MSU faculty in Fall 2012, her scholarly papers have been featured in journals such as Administration & Society, Government Information Quarterly, Administrative Theory & Praxis, Place Branding & Public Diplomacy, and Journal of Place Management and Development.
In May 2012, the State University of New York (SUNY) Press published her book titled Cities for Sale: Municipalities as Public Relations and Marketing Firms. That work focuses on how cities throughout the United States are adopting and adapting promotional practices that resemble those commonly found within the private sector. Her book details the implication of this change on democratic governance and citizen participation. During 2014, her second book, being published with Palgrave Macmillan, furthers this research agenda by detailing a theoretical framework to showcase the delicate practice of balancing image with substance when undertaking place branding campaigns.
Regarding service to the profession and MSU community, Staci serves as social media coordinator for the journal Public Personnel Management. She also was recently named a Stennis Scholar at the Stennis Institute of Government on campus and participates in the Mississippi Municipal League conferences discussing her research regarding place branding and marketing. She has been an invited speaker throughout the state to detail place branding practices and supervised a group of Master of Public Policy and Administration students doing a capstone seminar project with the City of Brandon, MS to help officials revamp branding and communications plans. On campus, she is a member of Presidents Commission on the Status of Women, and co-founded along with Dr. Joshua Daspit the MSU Junior Faculty Group.
Staci earned her Ph.D. from Florida Atlantic University in 2010, and her B.A. in journalism and B.S. in political science from the University of Florida.