Dr. Stevenson has been an academic since beginning her career in 1978 upon her completion of her MA in Political Science from the Univeristy of Florida. She worked in the Community Action Agency in Jacksonville, FL until she resumed her studies at UF for a doctoral degree in Urban Politics and Urban Planning. Her professional career began at Florida Atlantic University as an Assistant and then tenured Associate Professor in Political Science where she was the coordinator of the graduate MA program in the department, worked with the Institute of Government on numerous projects, and advised Ph.D. students in the Public Administration Program. Working with students and faculty, she received a grant from the SSRC to study urban poverty, had numerous contracts with local governments and nonprofits, and had a 4 year contract through the MacArthur Foundation to do field work for a study on Community Development Corporations in Palm Beach county that was a national project of LISC.
Dr. Stevenson accepted the position of Schutte/Missouri Professor of Urban Affairs at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2002. There, she also was the first Faculty in Residence at the UMKC Center for the City. Later she became Director of the Cookingham Institute for Public Affairs and Chair of the Department of Public Affairs. She worked with Ph.D. and MPA students on numerous contracts with local governments and nonprofits as well as hosting successful workshops, programs and a certificate in Community Economic Development. The Institute under her leadership was awarded a HUD Minority Graduate Student grant to fully fund students in the MPA, a partnership with the Peace Corp for returning volunteers to become MPA students, and the first university partnership with Social Compact, Inc. to undertake their DrillDown study in Kansas City, MO.
In 2008, Dr. Stevenson joined the faculty at Rutgers University – Camden as the Chair of the Department of Public Policy and Administration where she led the successful creation and launch of the first interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Public Policy with an emphasis on Urban Community Development. The department also successfully began an Executive MPA and took on the undergraduate Urban Studies degree program.
From 2012-2014 Dr. Stevenson took on a new challenge as a social entrepreneur, launching a new company – Viable Third Community, LLC which has successfully operated the Community360 program for transformational leadership for high school and college students as well as education professionals and community organizations. In addition VTC has held contracts for civic and public engagement, strategic management, and organizational planning in areas such as urban food access, social entrepreneurship, and technology access for small business.
Dr. Stevenson’s professional publications and background can be found under her former name – Dr. Robyne S. Turner.
My passion is in urban community development. Broadly defined it centers on the contest over urban land. This entails understanding how neighborhoods compete with commercial and institutional uses of land as well as how the urban land economy forces neighborhood changes. Such changes are many, but my interest lies in how low and moderate income communities are affected by displacement, gentrification, urban redevelopment, systemic discrimination and institutional policies, as well as how community organization, social capital, and social enterprise can create new outcomes.
I have worked with cities, community development corporations, school districts, counties, neighborhood associations, nonprofits, and social entrepreneurs as part of my academic career that has spanned 4 institutions to date: Florida Atlantic University, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Rutgers University – Camden, and now UCF. At each of these institutions I have been involved in creating partnerships between university and community through service learning, research contracts, workshops/talks/programs/ showcases, graduate student internships and practicums, and formal partnership agreements between town and gown. The expansive knowledge of a university is wasted if it is not plugged into the world around it. For me, that world is urban core communities and the development that surrounds them.
Dr. Stevenson’s publications can be found under her former name – Dr. Robyne S. Turner
- interdisciplinary community-based research and evaluation studies
- urban and regional planning
- public policy
- Public Policy Analysis
- public-private partnerships
- Public And Nonprofit Management
PAF7000: Foundations of Public Affairs: People, Places, Policies and Paradigms
Provides an overview of public affairs and is taught from an interdisciplinary perspective focused on the necessary components to effectively address community-based problems. There is an emphasis on translational research as an effective means to bring research to bear on community issues.