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L. Christopher Plein, Ph.D.


Eberly Professor of Outstanding Public Service


  • Ph.D., University of Missouri, Columbia
  • M.A., East Tennessee State University
  • B.A., Emory & Henry College


L. Christopher Plein, Ph.D. is a Professor of Public Administration and Eberly Professor of Outstanding Public Service at West Virginia University. He served as chair of the Department of Public Administration from 2004 until 2011 and also served as an Assistant and Associate Dean for West Virginia University’s Eberly College of Arts & Sciences from 2005 to 2013. He also holds an appointment as adjunct specialist in community and family development with the West Virginia University Extension Service.

Christopher Plein’s area of research specialty is public policy formation and implementation. His research concentrates on social and health policy; rural development and community transition; and higher education outreach and engagement. He has recently published in such journals as the Journal of Extension, Social Science Quarterly, and the Journal of Applied Social Science. Dr. Plein also studies public administration and policy in West Virginia. He is co-author of Welfare Reform in West Virginia (West Virginia University Press 2004) and West Virginia Politics and Government (University of Nebraska Press, 2008).

Christopher Plein has taught courses across the MPA curriculum, and currently teaches classes relating to healthcare administration, administrative justice and ethics, and the student capstone experience. He has also taught courses in WVU’s social work and leadership studies programs. He is active in the public administration teaching community and regularly serves as a site visitor in accreditation reviews and as a presenter at professional conferences. 

Dr. Plein has been active in service to the West Virginia and its communities. He has served as a citizen member of the West Virginia Legislature’s Legislative Intern Committee; served as a gubernatorial appointee to West Virginia’s high risk insurance program; and has assisted policymakers in both the executive and legislative branches with various policy and program studies.  He has served on the boards of non-profit organizations, and currently is on the Board of Directors for the Allegheny Highlands Chapter of the American Red Cross.  

L. Christopher Plein holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Missouri – Columbia, a Master of Arts in political science from East Tennessee State University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Emory & Henry College.