Kelley T. O'Brien

Director for Strategy and Innovation

Areas of Expertise

Facilitation; grant writing; strategic planning


Kelley O'Brien joined the School of Government in 2002 as project director for the NC Civic Education Consortium's 2003 Civic Index, the first-ever statewide study of youth and adult civic engagement. O'Brien's experience in the education sector includes teaching English as a Second Language; managing school-to-career programs in Durham, NC; and overseeing the expansion of the Consortium's curricular resources. O'Brien teaches grant proposal writing and professional communications for the Master of Public Administration program. She has secured more than $5 million in private and public grants. She led the drafting and publication of the 2010 North Carolina Civic Health Index and her research has been published in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector QuarterlyPopular Government, and the Kappa Delta Pi Record. O'Brien earned a BA in honors interdisciplinary studies from the University of Georgia and an MPA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Selected publications

John R. Stephens, Ricardo S. Morse, and Kelley T. O’Brien. 2011. Public Outreach and Participation. Monograph part of the Local Government Board Builders Series, ed. Vaughn Mamlin Upshaw. Chapel Hill, NC: UNC School of Government. 47 pages.

Kelley O’Brien. 2011. Engaging North Carolina’s Generation Z in Civic Life. North Carolina State University: Institute for Emerging Issues.

Kelley O’Brien. 2010. North Carolina Civic Health Index 2010, Democracy in Action: Strengthening Civic Life in North Carolina. National Conference on Citizenship.

Maureen Berner and Kelley O’Brien.  2004. The Shifting Pattern of Food Security Support: Food Stamp and Food Bank Usage in North Carolina. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Vol 33 No 4: 655-672.

Kelley O’Brien. 2003. Measuring Citizen Engagement: The North Carolina Civic Index. Popular Government, Fall 2003: 5-12.


Member for
5 years 24 weeks