Skip to main content
Katie Dunn Tenpas_headshot

Kathryn Dunn Tenpas

Nonresident Senior Fellow - Governance Studies

Kathryn Dunn Tenpas is a nonresident senior fellow with Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution. She also serves as a senior fellow at the Miller Center, senior research director at the White House Transition Project, fellow at the Center for Presidential Transition, and fellow and secretary of the Governance Institute.

Dr. Tenpas’ research addresses the intersection between the presidency and politics, including presidential personnel and staff structure, presidential appointments, reelection campaigns, transitions, and trends in presidential travel and polling expenses. Her work on White House staffing examines the evolution as well as specific entities like the Office of Political Affairs, the Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives, the White House Counsel’s Office and the Staff Secretary.  In addition, she has studied White House staff turnover extensively, and created a staff tracker at the Brookings Institution that reached over 750,000 page views in its three-year run, making it one of the highest performing pages at Brookings.

Dr. Tenpas has authored the book Presidents as Candidates: Inside the White House for the Presidential Campaign, and published over sixty articles, book chapters, blog posts, op-eds and papers on a variety of presidency-related topics.  Her peer-reviewed articles have been published in the Journal of Politics, Political Science Quarterly, Public Opinion Quarterly and Presidential Studies Quarterly.  Recent publications include, a 2018 Presidential Studies Quarterly article, “White House Staff Turnover in year One of the Trump Administration,” and the creation of an appointments tracker for the Biden administration that indicates pace and race/ethnicity of Senate-confirmed nominees, and continued study of White House staffing and trends in turnover rates.

Her insights on the presidency have been quoted in major newspapers like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today.  She has appeared on numerous television and radio outlets (e.g., NPR, Marketplace, CNN, CNBC) in the United States and abroad.

She also served two terms on the Board of the American Political Science Association’s Presidency Research Group, a national organization for presidency scholars, and has been an active participant in the Miller Center Presidential Oral History Program.

Dr. Tenpas’ academic positions include her role as the Director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Washington Semester Program, as a Senior Fellow at the Weidenbaum Center at Washington University in St. Louis, and an Associate Professorship in the Department of Government and International Affairs at the University of South Florida. While there, she won an undergraduate teaching award, directed the Political Science Honors Program and the Washington, D.C. internship program. From 1992-1993, she was a guest scholar with Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Dr. Tenpas earned her B.A. from Georgetown University in 1985, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia (in 1989 and 1993, respectively).

Kathryn Dunn Tenpas is a nonresident senior fellow with Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution. She also serves as a senior fellow at the Miller Center, senior research director at the White House Transition Project, fellow at the Center for Presidential Transition, and fellow and secretary of the Governance Institute.

Dr. Tenpas’ research addresses the intersection between the presidency and politics, including presidential personnel and staff structure, presidential appointments, reelection campaigns, transitions, and trends in presidential travel and polling expenses. Her work on White House staffing examines the evolution as well as specific entities like the Office of Political Affairs, the Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives, the White House Counsel’s Office and the Staff Secretary.  In addition, she has studied White House staff turnover extensively, and created a staff tracker at the Brookings Institution that reached over 750,000 page views in its three-year run, making it one of the highest performing pages at Brookings.

Dr. Tenpas has authored the book Presidents as Candidates: Inside the White House for the Presidential Campaign, and published over sixty articles, book chapters, blog posts, op-eds and papers on a variety of presidency-related topics.  Her peer-reviewed articles have been published in the Journal of Politics, Political Science Quarterly, Public Opinion Quarterly and Presidential Studies Quarterly.  Recent publications include, a 2018 Presidential Studies Quarterly article, “White House Staff Turnover in year One of the Trump Administration,” and the creation of an appointments tracker for the Biden administration that indicates pace and race/ethnicity of Senate-confirmed nominees, and continued study of White House staffing and trends in turnover rates.

Her insights on the presidency have been quoted in major newspapers like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today.  She has appeared on numerous television and radio outlets (e.g., NPR, Marketplace, CNN, CNBC) in the United States and abroad.

She also served two terms on the Board of the American Political Science Association’s Presidency Research Group, a national organization for presidency scholars, and has been an active participant in the Miller Center Presidential Oral History Program.

Dr. Tenpas’ academic positions include her role as the Director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Washington Semester Program, as a Senior Fellow at the Weidenbaum Center at Washington University in St. Louis, and an Associate Professorship in the Department of Government and International Affairs at the University of South Florida. While there, she won an undergraduate teaching award, directed the Political Science Honors Program and the Washington, D.C. internship program. From 1992-1993, she was a guest scholar with Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Dr. Tenpas earned her B.A. from Georgetown University in 1985, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia (in 1989 and 1993, respectively).

Get daily updates from Brookings