Gerlach appointed director of public affairs program

John “Jay” Gerlach has been named director of Western Carolina University’s master of public affairs degree program, effective July 1.

Jay Gerlach

Jay Gerlach

Gerlach takes the reins from Roger Hartley, who has been named dean of the University of Baltimore’s College of Public Affairs.

Christopher Cooper, head of the political science and public affairs department, made the announcement recently to faculty and students. “When we hired him (Gerlach) away from Texas Tech, we expected to get a superior teacher, researcher, and university citizen but he’s exceeded our expectations in all three of these areas,” Cooper said. “He is uniquely committed to MPA education and has all of the makings of an excellent program director.”

WCU’s MPA program prepares town managers, directors of nonprofit organizations, professors, police officers and other professionals committed to public service. Many courses can be taken during evening hours at the Biltmore Park instructional site in Asheville; some are offered at the Cullowhee campus and online.

For more information about the program or its new director, see or contact Gerlach at