The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) has appointed Dr. Gloria Billingsley as Chairperson of the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) for the 2023-2024 academic year. NASPAA-COPRA is a part of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), accrediting master’s degree programs in public policy, affairs, and administration globally for over 200 programs across eleven countries.
As Chair of COPRA and a key member of NASPAA leadership, Dr. Billingsley is responsible for setting the strategic direction of NASPAA Accreditation and leading the fourteen-person board. The Commission performs its function with the highest level of professionalism and a demonstrated commitment to good practice as an accrediting body. The Commissioner’s service represents a substantial contribution to the field of public service education. With this role, Billingsley is committing a significant amount of her time and energy to review self-study reports, write reviews, and liaise directly with programs and volunteers.
Dr. Billingsley took the opportunity to announce her appointment to her New Hope Missionary Baptist Church (Pearl, MS) family and community as a personal testimony. During her testimony she explained that she came from very humble beginnings so this type of appointment was inconceivable at the time she arrived at Jackson State University as a student. Her testimony spoke to teenagers, young adults, and older members of the congregation, informing them of God’s favor and faith along with the notion that perseverance can and does pay off in the long run.
She further stated, “You don’t always start out at the top, but patience and persistence are part of the journey that makes one appreciate the end result. I never could have imagined the space that I am in now. The responsibilities of my new appointment makes me know that God has had a purpose for me all along. God has been working on this testimony back when I knew not what was in store for me… a little girl from Mississippi, a place where we are rarely recognized on a global stage. I owe everything to God, who has always had my back.”
According to her biography, Dr. Gloria Billingsley is a native Mississippian. She earned her B.S., Master’s in Business Administration, and Ph.D. in Public Administration degrees from Jackson State University. She is a professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Jackson State University and has over 20 years of teaching experience in the discipline.
Prior to assuming the role as department chair, she served as the MPPA (Master’s in Public Policy and Administration) Program Director for 8 years. In service to NASPAA, she has served on the standards committee, as a site visitor and site visit team chair, National Co-Chair of the NASPAA 2021 Conference and as COPRA member since September 2021. She is active in the American Society of Public Administration and has served on the national council, finance committee, audit committee, publications committee, as well as president of the Conference of Minority Public Administrators where she has received several awards. She is active in the American Society of Public Administration and has served on the national council, finance committee, audit committee, publications committee, as well as president of the Conference of Minority Public Administrators where she has received several awards.
Dr. Billingsley is also a member of the ASPA Pandemic Taskforce and former managing editor of the Journal of Public Management and Social Policy. She has served in several non-academic positions including Vice President for Evaluation Services for Professional Associates, a minority owned training and technical assistance company; Project Director for federally funded projects to build community partnerships and coalitions to address substance abuse prevention; and Policy and Special Initiatives Officer for the Mississippi Department of Human Services where she coordinated efforts among three state agencies in the implementation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Additionally, Dr. Billingsley has served as a grant reviewer for the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the areas of community partnership and coalition development, substance abuse prevention and treatment, HIV/AIDS in the African-American population, and culturally appropriate programs for persons of color.
Dr. Billingsley has published in several journals such as Public Management and Governance, Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration; Public Administration Quarterly, National Political Science Review; Race Gender and Class; Public Administration & Management; and Ethnicity and Disease on topics such as voting rights, issues of race, gender and class, minority participation in health research, crises communications, nonprofit management and governance, and issues of spirituality and health. She is also currently serving as one of the co-editors for a crisis handbook contracted by Routledge with an expected 2024 release date; Co-PI with Princeton University Researchers through the Princeton Alliance for Collaborative Research and Innovation (PACRI); and a PI for the One Million Black Women Research Partnership funded by Goldman Sachs and the Urban Institute.
Dr. Gloria Billingsley is married to Jimmy Billingsley. The couple share one daughter – Jimmya.