Image of Carl W.  Stenberg III

Carl W. Stenberg III

James E. Holshouser Jr. Distinguished Professor of Public Administration and Government

Carl Stenberg is the James E. Holshouser Jr. Distinguished Professor of Public Administration and Government at the School of Government. He is an expert on local government management and structure.

Stenberg joined the School of Government in 2003 and instructs in the UNC Master of Public Administration program. Stenberg founded and served as the lead faculty member in the School's Public Executive Leadership Academy. He served as director of the UNC MPA program from 2006 to 2011.

Previously, Stenberg served as dean of Yale Gordon College of Liberal Arts, the University of Baltimore; director of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, University of Virginia; executive director of the Council of State Governments; and assistant director of the US Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. He is co-author of Managing Local Government: An Essential Guide for Municipal and County Managers. Stenberg is a Fellow and former chair of the board of directors of the National Academy of Public Administration and past president of the American Society for Public Administration.

Stenberg holds a bachelor's degree from Allegheny College and an MPA and Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Albany.


Selected Publications

 Managing Local Government Services: Meeting the Challenge of Change (Washington, DC: ICMA; in process, to be published in 2021), with Kimberly L. Nelson

Managing Local Government: An Essential Guide for Municipal and County Managers (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2018), with Kimberly L. Nelson

Intergovernmental Relations in Transition: Reflections and Directions (New York Routledge, 2018), with David K. Hamilton, eds.:

 The Scope of State Preemption and the Ghost of Judge Dillon,” in Russell L. Hanson and Eric S. Zeemering, eds. Cooperation and Conflict Between State and Local Government (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2020), with David Swindell and James Svara

 “Pulling the Lever: The States’ Role in Catalyzing Local Change,” in Carl W. Stenberg and David K. Hamilton, eds. Intergovernmental Relations in Transition: Reflections and Directions (New York: Routledge 2018), with Ricardo Morse

 “The Future of Local Government: Will Current Stresses Bring Major, Permanent Changes?” State and Local Government Review, Vol. 44, Supp.1, 2012, with David N. Ammons and Karl W. Smith

Additional Publications


Managing Local Government Services: A Practical Guide (Washington, DC: International City/County Management Association Press, 2007), with Susan Lipman Austin, eds.

America’s Future Work Force: A Health and Education Policy Issues Handbook(Westport, CN: Greenwood Press, 1994), with William G. Colman.

Articles and Book Chapters

An ACIR Perspective on Intergovernmental Institutional Development,Public Administration Review (March/April 2011).

Big Questions’ about Intergovernmental Relations and Management: Who Will Address Them?” Public Administration Review (March/April 2011), with John Kincaid.

Historic Relevance Confronting Contemporary Obsolescence? Federalism, Intergovernmental Relations and Intergovernmental Management,” in Donald C. Menzel and Harvey L. White, eds., The State of Public Administration: Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities (New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2011, with Deil S. Wright and Chung-Lae Cho.

Continuity and Change: A Ranking of Key Issues Affecting U.S. Intergovernmental Relations,” (1995-2005), Publius (Fall 2009) with Carol S. Weissert and Richard L. Cole.

The Community Development Balancing Act: Reconciling Expectations for a Hybrid Block Grant,” Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management (Spring 2008).

 “The Changing Landscape of Intergovernmental Relations and Multi-Level Governance in the United States,” in Edoardo Ongaro, Andrew Massey, Marc Holzer, and Ellen Wayenberg, eds., Governance and Intergovernmental Relations in the European Union and the United States: Theoretical Perspectives (UK: Edward Elgar, 2010), with Deil S. Wright and Chung-Lae Cho.

Voter-Owned Elections in North Carolina: Public Financing of Campaigns,” Popular Government (Winter 2009), with Philip G. Rogers and Sarah J. Waterman.

Governmental Fragmentation and Metropolitan Governance: Does Less Mean More? The Case of the Baltimore Region,” in Don Phares, ed., Who Will Govern Metropolitan Regions in the 21st Century? (New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2009), with Donald F. Norris and Tonya Zimmerman.

"Block Grants and Devolution: A Future Tool?” in Timothy J. Conlan and Paul L. Posner, eds., Intergovernmental Management for the Twenty-First Century (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2008).

Fragmented Structures and Blurred Boundaries: Strategies for Regional Governance,” in Iwan W. Morgan and Philip J. Davies, eds., The Federal Nation: Perspectives on American Federalism (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2008).

From Local Managers to Community Change Agents: Lessons From an Executive Leadership Program Experience,” in Ricardo S. Morse and Terry F. Buss, Innovations in Public Leadership Development (New York: M.E. Sharpe 2008), with Vaughn M. Upshaw and Donna Warner.

Managing the Challenge of Change,” in Carl W. Stenberg and Susan Lipman Austin, eds., Managing Local Government Services: A Practical Guide (Washington, DC: International City/County Management Association Press, 2007).

Leading and Governing in Council-Manager Counties and Cities,” in David Lawrence, ed., County and Municipal Government in North Carolina (Chapel Hill, NC: UNC School of Government, 2007).

Running Clean in the American States: Experience with Public Funding of Elections,” in Philip Davies and Bruce Newman, eds., Winning Elections with Political Marketing (Oxford: The Haworth Press, 2006).

Federalism, Intergovernmental Relations, and Intergovernmental Management: The Origins, Emergence, and Maturity of Three Concepts Across Two Centuries of Organizing Power by Area and Function,” in Jack Rabin, W. Bartley Hildreth, and Gerald J. Miller, eds., Handbook of Public Administration (New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc. 3rd edition, 2007), with Deil S. Wright.

Reflections on Intergovernmental Re-balancing: Back to the Future,” The Book of the States (Lexington, KY: The Council of State Governments, 2005).

“The Block Grant Balancing Act,” in Louis Gawthrop, ed.,Maryland Policy Issues,     Vol. 1., No. 1, (Baltimore: Schaefer Center for Public Policy, Fall 1997).

Reversing Directions:  A Ranking and Comparison of Key Intergovernmental Events, 1960 - 1980 and 1980 - 1995,”Publius(Summer 1996), with Richard Cole and Carol Weissert.

Engines of Change: Leading from the States,” in James Perry and Associates, Handbook of Public Administration, 2nd edition (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1995).

“Recent Trends in State Spending: Patterns, Problems, Prospects,” Publius (Summer 1994).

How will the Clinton Era Affect State and Local Government?"  State and Local Government Review (Fall 1993), with James E. Kunde.

“Intergovernmental Ironies,” ASPA Section on Intergovernmental Administration and Management, Intergovernmental News(Fall 1988).

“New Federalism and the States: Crosscurrents, Challenges and Crossroads,” Intergovernmental News (Summer1987).

States under the Spotlight: An Intergovernmental View,” Public Administration Review (March/April 1985).

“Intergovernmental Relations,” The Book of the States” 1984 - 85 (Lexington, KY: The Council of State Governments, 1985).

“Coping with Cutbacks:” “The States ‘Make Do’ in 1982, “Intergovernmental Perspective” (Winter 1982), with Jean Lawson.

Beyond the Days of Wine and Roses: Intergovernmental Management in a Cutback Environment,”Public Administration Review (January/February 1981).

“Federalism in Transition: 1959 - 1979,” Intergovernmental Perspective (Winter1989), reprinted in Readings in Federalism: Perspectives on a Decade of Change (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, May 1989).

The Block Grant: Lessons from Two Early Experiments,” Publius (Spring 1977), with David B. Walker.

“Crime Control Block Grants: City Perspectives,” Urban Data Service Report (Washington, D.C.: International City Management Association, June 1975).

Revenue Sharing and Governmental Reform,” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (April 1975).

“The Regionalization of Environmental Management,” Public Management (March 1974).

A Substate Districting Strategy,” National Civic Review (January 1974), with David B. Walker.

“Regional Council Performance: The City Perspective,” 1973 Municipal Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: International City Management Association, 1973), with Jean M. Gansel.

Citizens and the Administrative State: From Participation to Power,” Public Administration Review (May - June 1972).

“Labor-Management Relations in State and Local Government: Problems and Prospects,”Public Administration Review (March - April 1992).

“Some Comments on Reorganizing the Federal Executive Branch,” The Bureaucrat (Spring, 1972).

Decentralization and the City,” 1972 Municipal Yearbook (Washington, D.C.       International City Management Association, 1972).

American Intergovernmental Relations: A Selected Bibliography (Monticello, Illinois:  Council of Planning Librarians, October 1971).

"The Council-Manager Derby," in Joseph F. Zimmerman, ed., Sub-National Politics:  Readings in State and Local Government (New York:  Holt, Rinehardt & Winston, Inc.,



Co-editor, The Regionalist, 1997 - 2002.

Editor, University of Virginia News Letter, 1994 - 1995.

Feature Editor, “Public Management Forum, ”Public Administration Review, January 1977 - December 1983.

Managing Editor/Editor, The Bureaucrat: The Journal for Public Managers, April 1972 -, January 1977 (now The Public Manager).



Intergovernmental Management and ACIR Beyond 50: Implications for Institutional Development and Research,” Public Administration Review (March/April 2011), with John Kincaid.

“Federalism in Transition: 1959 - 1979,” Intergovernmental Perspective (Winter 1989).

"Contemporary Public Administration:  Challenge and Change," Public Administration Review (September-October 1976).

Regional Governance:  Promise and Performance (Washington, D.C.:  Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, 1973).

"Reorganizing the Federal Executive Branch," The Bureaucrat (Spring 1972).


Fields of Expertise
City and County Managers
City Government (Management)
Councils of Government
County Government (Management)
Elected Officials (Non-Legal)
Form of Government
Governing Boards (Management)
Intergovernmental Relations
Interlocal and Regional Cooperation (Non-Legal)
Leadership Development
Local Government Organization/Administration
Public Administration
Public Executive Leadership Academy
Public Management
Strategic Planning and Visioning
Regional Governance
This list consists of courses, e-learning modules and webinars which are associated with this profile. Use the filter provided to aid in your search.
Results: {{}}
This list consists of books, book chapters, bulletins, and reports which are associated with this profile. Use the filter provided to aid in your search.
Results: {{node.publications.length}}
This list consists of blogs, blog posts, FAQ collections, legal summaries, listservs, microsites, pages and tools which are associated with this profile.
Results: {{node.resources.length}}