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April 25, 2011


Robert Wassmer
Professor of Public Policy

Photo: Michael McKeough
Robert Wassmer

Professor Robert Wassmer, chairman of the Department of Public Policy and Administration, is accustomed to winning honors.

In 2000-01, he garnered the President’s Award for Research and Creative Activity. As recipient of this year’s Outstanding Scholarly Achievement Award, Wassmer is being recognized for his record in researching topics pertaining to state and local public policy in California.

The professor’s reach has gone well beyond the classroom, where he is held in high regard by his students.

Wassmer teaches graduate Public Policy classes and directs the Master’s program in Urban Land Development. He has been a resource for state and local policymakers since he came to Sacramento State in 1995. His collaborations include the California Senate Office of Research, California Debt Advisory Commission and the city of Sacramento. Yet his greatest reward comes from teaching, where he says, “Research allows me to remain fresh and connected to my students.”

His award lecture on the pervasive neighborhood effects of residential home foreclosure in the Sacramento region reflects that connection. “Some of that material included ideas generated by class discussions that informed many of my students’ master’s theses,” he said, citing the symbiotic relationship between research, teaching and learning.

Wassmer’s students commend him for being exacting, yet fair. That same relationship exists among public policymakers and the media, who routinely seek his perception on a wide range of issues.

Wassmer is an economist who specializes in applied microeconomics, urban economics, public finance and public policy. He’s provided public and private advice on such issues as economic development, land use, local government, taxation and education. He served on a California Forward Stakeholder Roundtable earlier this year to propose improvements in the fiscal relationship between state and local governments.

During Wassmer’s tenure at Sac State, he’s published two books, numerous journal articles and suggested ways to help California resolve its chronic budget crises and education shortcomings. Rather than lurch from one crisis to another, he believes there is a better, rational way forward.

Wassmer is energized by teaching, research and leadership. He’s particularly grateful for the Sacramento State administration’s steadfast support of the Master’s program in Public Policy and Administration.


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