As the new director of Western Carolina University’s Local Government Training Program and assistant director of WCU’s Public Policy Institute, Bob Boylan finds himself a colleague with many of the professors he learned from while earning his bachelor’s degree in political science in 2007.
Boylan took over the positions on June 1. Prior to that, he was an administrative assistant in WCU’s Division of Information Technology.
The Local Government Training Program was started in 1984 to provide assistance and leadership instruction to public officials and staff members of the 26 westernmost counties of North Carolina. It provides UNC School of Government courses, offers workshops, seminars, consultations and video conferences with state officials and experts, and addresses local technical and informational needs.
The Public Policy Institute aims to empower the region to effectively manage real policy problems by mobilizing students, community leaders, faculty and citizens to discuss and develop viable policy options to create more effective policies.
“I’ve spent the last two months trying to learn the ins and outs of the program,” Boylan said. “Now, I get to meet the people that I’m going to be working with.”
Earlier this month, Boylan was involved in his first program, a “WNC Capital Finance” course at WCU’s Biltmore Park instructional site. From there, he visited the UNC School of Government in Chapel Hill.
Boylan, who completed his master’s in project management in May, was born in Thailand, but grew up in Chapel Hill. Politics always has been an interest and he is looking forward to being able to make an impact locally.
“One of the things that’s really appealing to me about the local government program is the optics of politics today,” he said. “So many people are focused on what’s going on in Washington. A lot of people don’t realize what happens on the local level – state, county, city – it affects your day-to-day life a lot more.”