Two new professors joined the Department of Public Administration this semester! To find out a little more about the newest members of our MPA Community, The Leaders’ Lounge caught up with Stefan and Danielle as the semester began…
Danielle Johnson, Assistant Professor
What is your favorite thing about being a part of Nova Nation? The sense of community. I am a 2007 graduate of the Villanova MPA program, and I as a student I felt that my professions cared deeply about my professional and academic growth. Now as a member of the faculty, that sense of community and support is magnified and extends beyond just the MPA department.
Extracurriculars (Hobbies): I enjoy spending time with my husband and six-year old daughter doing family activities like visiting a museum or going to the park. I also enjoy having brunch with friends.
If you could take any MPA course what would it be and why? Effective-non-Profit Management. As a former graduate of the program, I have taken the majority of the course offerings, but non-profit management was not an option at that time. I am passionate about the work of non-profits and would have loved to formally study them as a part of the program.
What is your favorite movie? Beaches (with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey). Although it is almost 30 years old, I still cry every time I see the end! My daughter and I also love the Pixar movie “Brave.”
What is your favorite book and why? American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass by Massey and Denton. I was first exposed to this book as an undergrad at Penn and it opened my eyes to the class struggles facing many Americans. It also highlights the importance of public policy and how both “good” and “bad” policy can shape people’s life experiences.
What is your hidden talent? I’m a pretty good cook. One of my specialties is Beef Wellington which I make for my family during the holidays.
What tips would you offer for new MPA students? Take full advantage of the program – academically, professionally, and socially. The MPA community is rich in experience and knowledge, but is also very welcoming. Take the initiative to network!
Stefan A. Perun, Assistant Professor
What is your favorite thing about being a part of Nova Nation? I love engaging in intellectual conversations with students and colleagues. The community of inquiry, thought, and reflection in the context of the Catholic faith tradition at Villanova makes me feel free to seek understanding. I have not found that anywhere else. Oh, and I also enjoy attending the Vasey theater, basketball games in the Pavilion, and rooting on Wildcats Football at Franklin field!
Extracurriculars (Hobbies): I’m a family guy that enjoys walks with my wife and son, hanging out at the Tot Lot and playing on the swings, and afternoon picnics in the park. When they’re asleep, I’m usually on Bloomberg following the capital markets. When I can, I (try to) play golf.
If you could take any MPA course what would it be and why? Leadership Ethics; it’s the best course in the program. Sure, I’m biased because that’s what I teach, but the content is stimulating and the application exciting. When I took the course 10 years ago, it made me a better person. I believe I become a better person each time I teach it now. Thank you, Fr. Jacobs.
What is your favorite movie? Back to the Future (the whole trilogy, actually). Wag the Dog and Dr. Strangelove get it done for me, too.
What is your favorite book and why? Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition. It’s refreshingly existential in an unbelievable “postmodern” world. I’m consoled by how closely I can relate to Homo Faber’s lot.
What is your hidden talent? I can weld?
What tips would you offer for new MPA students? Education is a journey of discovery. While we’re all trying to get our ticket punched to make more money or save the world, take the time and do the work to learn something. Submit to the coursework; there’s method to the madness. After graduation it would be a pity to have only earned a degree and promotion.