portland state university urban building with street car

A Life Dedicated to Public Service

In early 1970s there was a deep need in Oregon to seek out bold new solutions across its many realms of public service and to deliver those solutions into the hands of the busy mid-career professionals throughout the region who needed it most. To meet those needs, programs were created at both Portland State University and Lewis and Clark College. Following years of collaboration, in 1996 the two centers merged to become what is today the PSU Hatfield School of Government’s Center for Public Service. Now hosting an entire fleet of programs, it continues to empower people from a diverse array of industries with new ways of creating robust, human centered solutions in Oregon and beyond.

The Center believes that public service is a legitimate, proud and essential calling and that innovative leaders and institutions are needed to:

  • Competently execute the programs under their jurisdiction
  • Serve as catalysts for constructive change and innovation
  • Protect and promote justice and democracy
  • Balance liberty and equity

Core Values

The legacy of Senator Mark O. Hatfield informs and inspires the Center's core values.

  1. Community & Public Service: Serving the public is a special calling, inspired and nurtured by core values, and which relies on the constant building of skills and knowledge to promote the public interest.
  2. International Cooperation & Respect for Diversity: The Center is committed to preparing public servants with the capacity to lead in an increasingly diverse and power-shared world, both domestically and internationally.
  3. Fairness, Equity & Social Justice: Building the trust and confidence of citizens requires public servants who are committed to develop policies and build organizations that are effective, fair and equitable.
  4. Civic Engagement: An engaged citizenry and community enhances the quality and legitimacy of public services, fostering accountability and promoting democratic governance.
  5. Sustainable Development: Public leaders have a moral obligation to provide stewardship of the community's scarce resources to meet the needs of future generations.

Vision and Mission

The Center for Public Service synthesizes the Hatfield School of Government's teaching, research and service-related activities and applies this practical knowledge to build leadership and improve the effectiveness of public service professionals and organizations.

center for public service is the center for education and professional development, applied research and consulting, and knowledge creation and dissemination


The Center for Public Service aspires to enhance the legitimacy of—and citizen trust in—public service institutions and the people who work in them. We do this by:

  • Cultivating and empowering effective, ethical and innovative leaders and managers in government, nonprofit, and other mission-driven organizations
  • Improving personal and organizational performance
  • Expanding capacity for effective participation in governance networks
  • Providing intellectual leadership through applied research and the dissemination of practical knowledge.


Through the integration of theory, scholarly research and practice, the Center enhances the legitimacy and effectiveness of public service institutions and democratic governance. We do this through:

  • Training, education and other talent-building programs, which are custom-tailored for the specific needs of public service professionals and organizations
  • Research and consulting services that help leaders and citizens better understand and solve key challenges through leadership and innovation
  • Academically-grounded, practice-centered knowledge created through research, real-world application, and publication
  • A strong grounding in living by and promoting the values of the Hatfield School of Government

Public service professionals and organizations that partner with CPS will acquire knowledge and skills that will tangibly and significantly improve individual performance and leadership and organizational public service capabilities.