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Joshua D. Ambrosius

Associate Professor, Director of the Master of Public Administration Program

Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: Master of Public Administration, Political Science


Email: Joshua D. Ambrosius
Phone: 937-229-3626
SJH 215
Curriculum Vitae: Read CV


  • Ph.D., Urban and Public Affairs, University of Louisville
  • M.A., Public Policy, Johns Hopkins University
  • B.A., Political Science, York College of Pennsylvania


Joshua D. Ambrosius is an Associate Professor of Political Science and is the Director of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at the University of Dayton (UD). Dr. Ambrosius previously taught at the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Louisville and West Virginia State University. He regularly teaches courses related to applied quantitative research methods; urban, housing and faith-based social policy; and innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to space exploration. The latter course, “Toward a Spacefaring Society,” taught for UD’s Common Academic Program’s interdisciplinary social science requirement, is the subject of a profile in The Conversation’s “Unusual Courses” section and a peer-reviewed article in the journal Space Policy. The online version of this course, developed with an E-Learning Fellowship, was chosen to represent an exemplary use of a learning management system at SakaiCon 2022.

Dr. Ambrosius is an interdisciplinary social scientist and avid researcher who is passionate about improving public policy through data-driven decision-making at all levels of government and in coordination with the other sectors. His diverse research agenda addresses many unique questions related to a variety of social dynamics, including the social science of space exploration, religious institutions such as the Catholic Church and Protestant megachurches, sustainability and environmental attitudes, housing policy and community development, and social capital in real and virtual communities.

Courses taught

  • Introduction to Public Administration
  • Public Policy Analysis
  • Public Sector Human Resource Management
  • Fiscal Administration/Public Budgeting
  • Quantitative Methods for Public Administration
  • Applied Research Techniques
  • Cities: Our Past, Our Future
  • Urban Politics & Policy
  • Housing & Community Development
  • Religion & Politics
  • Christianity, Citizenship, & Society
  • Faith-Based Social Policy
  • Space Exploration: Toward a Spacefaring Society

Selected publications

Ambrosius, J. D. (2023). “Toward a spacefaring society: Enhancing undergraduate general education and learning outcomes with space policy course themes.” Space Policy, 65, 101535.

Ambrosius, J. D. (2020). "Reexamining the 'Separation of church and space': Evangelical Protestant support for space exploration in the Trump-Pence Age." Religions, 11, 590.  

Ambrosius, J. D. (2016). "Blue city…red city? A comparison of competing theories of core county outcomes in U.S. presidential elections, 2000-2012." Journal of Urban Affairs, 38(2), 169-195.

Ambrosius, J. D., and Valenzano, J. M., III (2016). "'People in Hell want Slurpees': The redefinition of the zombie genre through the salvific portrayal of family on AMC’s The Walking Dead." Communication Monographs, 83(1), 69-93. 

Ambrosius, J. D. (2016). Review of the book Religion and Community in the New Urban America, by Paul D. Numrich & Elfriede Wedam. Urban Studies, 53(14), 3131-3134.

Ambrosius, J. D. (2016). Review of Supersized Christianity: The Origins and Consequences of Protestant Megachurches in America, by David E. Eagle. Dissertation Reviews (Economic History).

Ambrosius, J. D. (2016). “Our cosmic future? How religion might shape it,” in Touching the Face of the Cosmos: On the Intersection of Space Travel and Religion, edited by Paul Levinson & Michael Waltemathe. New York: Fordham University Press.

Ambrosius, J. D. (2015). "Separation of church and space: Religious influences on public support for U.S. space exploration policy." Space Policy, 32(May), 17-31.

Ambrosius, J. D., and Gilderbloom, J. I. (2015). "Who’s greener? Comparing urban and suburban residents’ environmental behaviour and concern." Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, 20(7), 836-849.

Ambrosius, J. D., Gilderbloom, J. I., Steele, W. J., Meares, W. L., and Keating, D. (2015). "Forty years of rent control: Reexamining New Jersey's moderate local policies after the great recession." Cities, 49(Dec.), 121-133.

Hanka, M. J., Ambrosius, J. D., Gilderbloom, J. I., and Wresinski, K. E. (2015). "Contemporary neighborhood housing dynamics in a mid-sized U.S. city: The policy consequences of mismeasuring the dependent variable." Housing and Society, 42(1), 40-68.

Ambrosius, J. D. (2015). Review of the book Religion and Organization Theory, edited by Paul Tracey, Nelson Phillips, and Michael Lounsbury. Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review, 76(2), 246-247.

Ambrosius, J. D. (2014). Review of the book God Talk: Experimenting with the Religious Causes of Public Opinion, by Paul A. Djupe and Brian R. Calfano. The Journal of Politics, 76(4), e25.

Ambrosius, J. D. (2013). Review of the book Rob Bell and a New American Christianity, by James K. Wellman, Jr. Review of Religious Research, 55(4), 647-649.

Gilderbloom, J. I., Hanka, M. J., and Ambrosius, J. D. (2012). "Without bias? Government policy that creates fair and equitable property tax assessments." American Review of Public Administration, 42(5), 591-605.

Gilderbloom, J. I., Ambrosius, J. D., Squires, G. D., Hanka, M. J., and Kenitzer, Z. E. (2012). "Investors: The missing piece in the foreclosure racial gap debate." Journal of Urban Affairs, 34(5), 559-582.

Ambrosius, J. D. (2011). "Religion, politics, and polity replication: Religious differences in preferences for institutional design." Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, 7(9), 1-35.

Ambrosius, J. D., Gilderbloom, J. I., and Hanka, M. J. (2010). "Back to black…and green? Location and policy interventions in contemporary neighborhood housing markets."Housing Policy Debate, 20(3), 457-484.

Gilderbloom, J. I., Hanka, M. J., and Ambrosius, J. D. (2009). "Historic preservation’s impact on job creation, property values, and environmental sustainability."Journal of Urbanism, 2(2), 83-101.

Ambrosius, J. D. (2009). "Why urbanists need religion." Urban News (Newsletter of the Urban Politics Section, American Political Science Association), 23(1), 2-6.

Other media

public scholarship Contributions

Ambrosius, J. D. (2022).This Course Takes College Students Out of this World – and Teaches Them What it Takes to Become Space Pioneers.” The Conversation, Dec. 5.

Ambrosius, J. D. (2019). “Whom you supported in ‘Game of Thrones’ says a lot about your real-world politics.” Monkey Cage blog, The Washington Post, May 24. 

Ambrosius, J. D., and Lumpkin, J. (2017). “Elections, we should remind ourselves, are fickle things that defy single narratives.” USAPP United States Politics & Policy blog, London School of Economics, Nov. 21.

Ambrosius, J. D. (2016). “Clinton performed very well in most urban areas relative to Obama, despite losing the Rustbelt—and the Presidency with it.” USAPP United States Politics & Policy blog, London School of Economics, Nov. 22.

Ambrosius, J. D. (2015). “Presidential candidates in 2016 should not underestimate the power of urban identity—it allowed Obama to halve Bush’s urban victories.” USAPP United States Politics & Policy blog, London School of Economics, Mar. 19.

Ambrosius, J. D. (2014). “What does it mean to be ‘pro-science’? (and why it matters for space exploration).The BioLogos Forum: Science & Faith in Dialogue, Dec. 15.

Invited Lecture

Ambrosius, J. D. “Separation of church and space? How religion shapes our views of space.” Interfaith Lecture Series, Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, New York, July 2016.

Selected Media Profiles/Interviews

Duncan, Robert. (2023). “Aliens, demons or PSYOPS? Catholics study, debate UFO allegations.” Catholic News Service, Sep. 26.

Brownstein, Ronald. (2019). “Why Trump’s favorite 2016 map should scare him.” The Atlantic, Oct. 3.

Kowarski, Ilana. (2019). “How to choose between an MBA and an MPA degree.” U.S. News & World Report, Mar. 7.

Koren, Marina. (2018). “Mike Pence’s outer-space gospel.” The Atlantic, Aug. 23.

Frolik, Cornelius. (2016). “Some say merger plan doesn’t go far enough.” Dayton Daily News, Feb. 19.

Clary, Grayson. (2015). “Why Sci-Fi has so many Catholics.” The Atlantic, Nov. 10.

Howell, Elizabeth. (2015). “How to bolster space exploration: Get religious groups onboard.”, June 15.

Grant, Tobin. (2015) “How do Americans balance science and religion? A Q&A on recent research.” Corner of Church & State, Religion News Service, Feb. 23.

Florida, Richard. (2015). “What makes a dense urban county vote Republican?” Bloomberg CityLab, Feb. 9.

David, Leonard. (2014). “Study eyes influence of religion on future space exploration.” Space Insider,, Dec. 9.

Merritt, Jonathan. (2014). “Why Christians should get on board with space exploration.” The Week, Nov. 18.

Grant, Tobin. (2014) “Interstellar religion? How religion shapes views of space exploration.” Corner of Church & State, Religion News Service, Nov. 12.