Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Blessett’s research examines the role of public administrators as either facilitators or inhibitors of fairness, equity, and justice for historically marginalized groups. More specifically, her research focuses on administrative responsibility, cultural competence, social equity, reentry, and disenfranchisement. She is a Center for Accountability and Performance Fellow; serves on the editorial board for Public Integrity; and is the Program Evaluator for ReNew Camden, a Federal Reentry Program that seeks to help formerly incarcerated persons successfully reintegrate back into society.
Discusses the case of Overtown, a predominantly African American neighborhood near Downtown Miami that was once dubbed the Harlem of the South, to explore the ethics of administrative actions. Argues for ethics testing to accompany any moves to institutionalize managing-for-results in cases of community development, housing, health, and other areas that affect people directly.
Discusses the fines and fees charged to lower-income people, mostly African Americans, who have long been a mainstay of the revenue stream for the city of Ferguson, Missouri, and other local governments. Argues that this current policy issue shares characteristics with the much older technique of sharecropping, suggesting a long-term pattern of financial exploitation based on race. Establishes a critical race theory framework to examine the question of administrative ethics raised by this practice.
Draws from models in health-related academic programs, and introduces the diversity and inclusiveness framework (DIF), with six interdependent components: addresses the program’s mission, identifies core competencies, develops diversity and inclusiveness plans, requires faculty and staff training, implements curricular and co-curricular components, and assesses student’s perception of diversity.
Argues that disenfranchisement becomes apparent through the implementation of colorblind policies that impose a financial hardship, create confusion, limits access to the ballot, dilutes the vote geographically, or uses subjective measures of eligibility. Discusses the disproportionate effect on racial and ethnic minorities that prevents full access to the rights and privileges associated with being an American citizen.
Illuminates the reasons why ex-offenders are left out of workplace diversity literature; to explicate the consequences of such exclusion; as well as to highlight the benefits that can be attained by diversity management geared toward the inclusion of ex-offenders. Suggests ways that inclusion of the ex-offender population can be achieved both theoretically and in practice.