Vanessa Fenley is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Policy and Leadership at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She received her PhD in Public Affairs from the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado – Denver. Her research addresses the broad issue areas of collaboration, citizen engagement, and civic participation, particularly in the context of programs and policies impacting the lives of marginalized communities. By focusing on populations that are often overlooked and excluded from decision-making processes, her research draws heavily on the concept of equity and contributes to our collective knowledge around creating equitable and engaged public and nonprofit sectors. Her work has been published in Public Performance & Management Review, Administrative Theory & Praxis, Politics & Policy, and Public Integrity.
Fenley’s research is informed by her experience working in the public and nonprofit sectors in the areas of behavioral health, homelessness, and affordable housing. In her previous roles, she served as the Director of the Office of Drug Strategy and the Denver Drug Strategy Commission for the City and County of Denver and as the Director of Homeward 2020, a 10-year plan to make homelessness rare, short-lived, and non-recurring, in Fort Collins, Colorado. Her career in public service started as an AmeriCorps National Direct member in Denver, Colorado.