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Zachary D. Wood, PhD

Assistant Professor


Zachary D Wood CV

Zachary D. Wood is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Public Service at Seattle University, primarily assigned to the undergraduate Public Affairs program. He holds a PhD in Public Affairs from Rutgers University, with a specialization in Community Development. Wood’s primary research foci center on issues of urban poverty and social change through civic engagement and political advocacy. Much of his recent research explores the role of non-profits as advocates for social change, and how the traditional non-profit service delivery model has often engaged in system-conforming behavior as opposed to system-transformation behavior, with significant and potentially problematic effects for their constituents. Wood’s research has been published in Urban Affairs Review, Community Development and Public Administration Theory: Promoting Democratic Principles to Improve Communities (Routledge),  Shared Prosperity in America’s Communities (UPenn Press), and Journal of Emergency Management. Wood commonly presents his work at annual conferences, including the Association for Research on Nonprofits and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) and Urban Affairs Association (UAA), and has recently given keynote addresses at the annual conferences of DC Alliance of Youth Advocates, Youth Collaboratory, and Valley Youth House.

Wood is a tireless advocate for social change and marginalized populations. He has a passion for analyzing social issues and finding new solutions, which has contributed to his constant quest for a deeper knowledge about the complexities of our most challenging social crises. Wood has extensive professional experience in various roles with nonprofits, and is uniquely tailored to couple that experience with a deep academic pursuit, with an aim to truly bridge the chasm between theory and praxis.

Previously, Wood has held leadership roles in the non-profit sector, most recently as the Director of Development and the Director of Advocacy and Public Policy for Covenant House Pennsylvania, a shelter and service provider for homeless and marginalized youth in the Philadelphia area. He has also served as Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity on the Crow Creek Lakota Reservation in South Dakota. 



  • PhD, Public Affairs, Rutgers University