Get to Know Dean Aimee N. Wall

Since being named dean of the School of Government in February 2023, Aimee N. Wall has been hard at work leading the School's mission to improve the lives of North Carolinians. In between meetings, visits with communities across the state, and overseeing the day-to-day direction of the School, Wall sat down to discuss what she looks forward to in her tenure, her path to public service, how she hopes to lead, and more.


What are you looking forward to about your deanship?

I'm really excited to start my deanship and learn more about North Carolina. I've been here for a long time, been in the faculty for a long time, but this is an opportunity to get to know all the public officials across the state, get to know all the different ins and outs of state and local government, and find new ways to serve. I think that it's a tremendous opportunity. It's exciting. It's just going to be fun to get to know people.


What did you want to be when you grew up?

What I was absolutely convinced I would never do was go to law school or go into government work in any way, shape or form, because my mom worked with the state government and my dad was a lawyer and he was working all the time. And I thought, "Oh, I don't want to do either of those things."

And then as I got a little bit older, I realized, "Wait, I actually do like a little bit." It was hard to admit to my parents that I actually liked their worlds and I found them attractive, but it drew me in pretty quickly once I realized how exciting the two worlds were and then the possibility of bringing them together into one profession.


How would you describe your leadership style?

When I go into a classroom to teach something, I feel like I need to be very prepared. I have to have done my homework, I have to know the subject area. I have to be on top of everything. But as soon as I walk into the classroom, I realize that everyone sitting across from me knows just as much or more, and they have so much to contribute to whatever it is we're going to learn together. And I feel like that's something that I've brought into my leadership style here at the school, and I want to continue to feel that way, to feel like this is a collaborative process with the people that I'm working with and the people that I'm supporting: the staff, the faculty, and the public officials and students. I feel like I have an open style and that's nice.


What is the most rewarding part of working for the School of Government?

I absolutely love working at the school. I wouldn't want to work anywhere else. I think that the draw for the School for me, and the thing that makes me feel connected to it every day is the service orientation and recognizing that everybody here is part of the same mission. We're all here to serve the state. We're all here to support each other in this service mission, and we all care. And that's amazing. That's a wonderful place to be a part of.


What’s the best part of your day as dean of the School of Government?

At the end of every day, being able to stand up from my desk and walk away and realize that I probably helped someone in North Carolina, that's a great feeling.


As dean, how will you maintain connections with the people of North Carolina?

One of the things I was worried about is am I going to lose touch with the people on a daily basis? Answering the phone, responding to emails, administering listservs, just being connected to the daily issues that are facing our public officials around the state. I was worried I was going to lose that, and I feel really good about the fact that I'm not. I am finding new ways to do it. Getting out and meeting new groups, spending time in conferences and connecting with folks through other opportunities, through challenges that are arising and helping navigate through those, through fundraising, through going out and talking to people and telling the story of the School of Government, explaining why we are the best investment that they could possibly make.