Sebawit (Seba) Bishu

Assistant Professor

Sebawit (Seba) Bishu is an Assistant Professor of Public Management at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington, Seattle. She also holds a non-resident research fellowship appointment at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Women and Public Policy Program. Her scholarly work explores race and gender relations in public organizations with a focus on leadership, street-level bureaucracy, identity, and organizational behavior. Bishu’s research asks the question “how do societal, organizational and managerial level factors shape public organizations’ and bureaucrats’ behaviors and decisions, and what are the implications for access to, and quality of, public services?” Examples of her past research include the study of organizational and individual-level gendered practices, and their implications for women public managers and street level bureaucrats. Her research also assesses managerial authority differentials among men and women public managers, compares the career development of men and women public managers, and evaluates the relationship between a leader’s social identity and civilians’ behavior.

Bishu’s work is published in academic journals such as Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Public Administration Review, the American Review of Public Administration, and the Review of Public Personnel Administration.  She is currently conducting qualitative research using data from 143 interviews with municipal managers across the United States. This work investigates how public managers’ social identities influences career development as well as their managerial approaches and experiences.

Prior to coming to The Evans School, Bishu was an Assistant Professor at the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado at Denver, and she has been a non-resident research fellow at the Kennedy School since 2019. Bishu received her PhD in Public Affairs in 2017 from the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Florida International University. She holds an MPA from Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia, as well as an MSc and a BSc in Architecture and Urban Planning from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.


Bishu, S.G., Sabharwal, M. & Reyes, R. (2022) Careers of women public managers: Career needs of women public managers across generations, Public Administration Review

*Bergh, K., Bishu, S.G. & Taddese, H.B. (2022). Identifying the determinants of patient satisfaction in the context of antenatal care in Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi using service provision assessment data. BMC Health Serv Res 22:764

McCandless, S., Bishu, S.G, Hernandez, M.G., Eraso, E.P., Sabharwal, M. Santis, E.L. and Yates, S. (2022). A long road: Patterns and prospects for social equity, diversity, and inclusion in public administration, Public Administration,100(1):129-148.

Bishu, S.G. & Heckler, N*. (2020). Women Municipal Managers Doing and Undoing Gender. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 31(3): 489-505.

Bishu, S.G., Sean, A. M., & Elias, N. R. (2020) Gender in Emergency Services: Foundations for Greater Equity in Professional Codes of Ethics, Public Integrity.

Kennedy, A*. and Bishu, S.G. (2020). This for That: EEOC Outcomes and Representative BureaucracyReview of Public Personnel Administration.

Bishu, S. G., & Headley, A. M. (2020). Equal Employment Opportunity: Women Administrators in Male-Dominated Roles. Public Administration Review, Public Administration Review, 80(6), 1063-1074.

Bishu, S.G. & Kennedy, A.* (2020). Facing the Giant: A Framework to Undo Sex-Based Discrimination in Academia.Public Administration Review, 80(6):1127-1132.

*Indicates that co-author is/was a graduate student

Editorial Board Member:

  1. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (JPART), December 2021-Present
  2. Public Administration Review (PAR), December 2021-Present
  3. Review of Public Personnel Administration (ROPPA), March 2019-Present.

Propheter, G. and Bishu, S. G. Representative Bureaucracy in Property Assessment Appeals Administration: A Group Level Analysis

Bishu, S.G. & Osei-Kojo, A*. A Gendered Interaction: Representative Bureaucracy and Public Health Service Delivery in Tanzania

Bishu, S.G. & McCandless, S. Tracing and Teaching Gender Across Core Public Affairs Curriculum

*Indicates that co-author is/was a graduate student

Research Award (2023): Dr. Rita Mae Kelly Distinguished Research Award which recognizes outstanding research on gender related issues. This award is given by the American Society for Public Administration, Section of Women in Public Administration.
Research Award (2021): Co-recipient of the School of Public Affairs (University of Colorado Denver) faculty excellence award for contributions in research.

Research Fellowship Award (AY 2021/22): Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP).  

Service Award (2020): recipient of the School of Public Affairs (University of Colorado Denver)  faculty excellence award for contributions in service to the University.

Research Fellowship Award (2018): Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management 40 for 40 fellowship for Outstanding Early Career Research Professionals.