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Dora Kingsley Vertenten

Professor of Public Policy, University of Southern California

Dora Kingsley Vertenten is a practitioner of public policy through the American political system. Since joining USC’s faculty in 1996, she focuses her teaching in public administration and political management including USC’s Semester in Washington Politics program. In the Masters of Public Administration online program, Dr. Vertenten teaches full time including the courses: Public Administration and Society, Fundamentals of Policy Analysis and The Professional Practice of Public Administration, the Capstone Course, having recruited international and domestic, public and non-profit agencies to work closely with more than 50 graduate student teams. Dr. Vertenten has also taught Intersectoral Leadership courses and the International Laboratory in Dublin, Ireland. Vertenten is an elected lifetime Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration (, an independent organization chartered by Congress to help public organizations’ strategic planning and managing for results.

Dr. Vertenten is an avid participant in social media useful for public policy debates and studies new information technologies and digital literacy. As the CEO of Trenton West, a research consulting firm, she advised Governors, Attorney Generals and other statewide Constitutional officeholders, U.S. House of Representatives’ leadership, Ambassadors, senior Party officials and major donors. Vertenten has directed statewide political operations beneficial to the White House Administration and its federal surrogates as Senior Advisor to the Chairman of the University of California’s Board of Trustees, Gerald L. Parsky for six years and was director of the California Republican National Convention Delegation 2004 in New York, NY. In 2008, Vertenten participated in her seventh national Presidential nominating convention, five times as a voting Delegate representing the State of California. A commentator on current political activities with implications for the future of American Democracy, Dr. Vertenten has written columns for Campaigns and Elections Magazine’s Campaign Insider on tactics and strategies and appeared in interviews on NBC, PBS, BBC and New York One. She is an oft requested keynote speaker and provider of seminars nationwide in social media, digital literacy and digital tools for civic engagement.

Dr. Vertenten has served in numerous non-profit organizations and is particularly interested in K-12 education reform. Her leadership responsibilities have included service as President of a charter school Board of Trustees and as senior manager of a national education foundation. Additionally, Vertenten has held positions working with the California State Treasurer’s office for Jesse Unruh, the Reagan Administration’s U.S. Department of Energy Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration, U.S. House Appropriations Committee member Steny Hoyer (MD), and the City of Concord, CA Redevelopment Agency. Dr. Vertenten worked on Wall Street for Bear, Stearns and in San Francisco for an institutional investment advisory firm, Dynamic Funds Management.


  • –present
    Professor of Public Policy, University of Southern California