James Mayer

James Mayer

Sr. Fellow and Adjunct Professor
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"Today’s public leaders and mangers must deal with increasingly complex challenges and rapidly changing conditions. The McGeorge Program is a deliberate effort to help emerging leaders acquire skills, knowledge, and abilities that will help them effectively respond to significant public problems. My hope is successful students will learn how to assess issues, design responses, manage change — and how to continue learning through their experiences after completing a degree."


Professor Mayer’s expertise includes nonprofit administration and management, organizational governance, policy development and implementation, system change, and civic engagement.


Mayer’s public interest career included tenures as a journalist, public administrator, local government board member and nonprofit CEO. He has worked on a broad range of public issues including education, social services and criminal justice; public finance and fiscal policies; economic development; and natural resource management. Professor Mayer was part of a team that launched California Forward in 2007 where he served as President and CEO for 12 years. California Forward was involved in constitutional changes to the election system that reduced partisan gridlock, fiscal reforms that increased stability, and partnerships with local governments designed to improve outcomes.


California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, BA

California State University, Sacramento, MPPA

University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources, Mid-Career Fellow