Elliot Stoller joins School faculty to work in leadership, management, and governance

The School of Government is pleased to welcome Elliot Stoller to its faculty. Stoller joined the School in December 2023 as assistant professor of leadership and governance. He will focus on serving elected and non-elected officials and contributing to the School’s work in the public service management field. 

Stoller comes to the School of Government after completing his Ph.D. in organizational behavior at Harvard University. He previously held roles in state governments in Illinois, working in legislative and constituent affairs for a state senator; and in New York as an assistant project manager for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

He said he was drawn to the School because of its leading role among academic institutions in using applied research and relationships with government officials to help improve the lives of residents across the state.

“The School directly advises and teaches local government officials, learns from them, and conducts research tailored to their needs,” Stoller said. “My past research is based on engaging with government officials through interviews and observational settings while my previous work experience in government helps me understand the nuts and bolts of how things get done. I’m excited to apply all of these experiences in my new role. 

In this role, Stoller serves municipal, county, and state officials in areas of leadership, management, and governance. His research focuses on how government officials in centralized management positions, such as chief administrative officers or local government managers, can better identify, use, and expand existing capabilities across multiple government departments.

Stoller’s academic background and research is in macro organizational behavior, which he notes is “an interdisciplinary field between sociology and management. It provides practical insights into how individuals can help shape the organizations they are a part of and how the social environment simultaneously influences these organizations and individuals. This academic field helps us figure out what power we, our organizations, and society around us actually have.”

Stoller is deeply interested in using this perspective to help local government officials identify and change formal processes, interpersonal dynamics, and taken-for-granted organizational norms that are holding back organizations from better achieving their goals.

Stoller also brings a strong belief in public service to the School. 

“I’m drawn to public service because it is an opportunity to help advance democratic ideals about accountable and capable self-governance,” he said. “Through my own time in state and local government, I’ve worked with incredible public servants and seen the impact of our actions on strengthening communities and improving peoples’ lives.” 

As he settles in at the School, Stoller is already looking ahead for how he plans to make a difference.

“I hope to help strengthen and expand the School’s ability to apply both practical experience and multiple academic perspectives in service of public officials in North Carolina.”

In addition to earning a Ph.D., Stoller also received a bachelor's degree from Stanford University and a master's degree from Harvard University.