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Symposium with Dr. Douglas Morgan

Public Service Leadership Symposium

September 30, 2011 – Portland State University, Portland Oregon
Smith Hall 327, 328, 329 from 8am-5pm

*Please click here to view a detailed program and schedule


Public Service Leadership in a Globalized World

A Symposium devoted to the restoration of leadership

as the centerpiece for Public Administration Education and Scholarship

Public administration continues to face an "identity crisis" that has been at the center of the discipline since its inception. The crisis turns on the answer to the following question: Are the animating principles of public administration to be discovered in the political foundations of a given regime or are they to be found in the more universal and transcendent principles of scientific management? The debate over the proper connection between politics and administration manifests itself today in numerous ways: whether the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration can and should accredit programs in other countries; how we should design culturally appropriate programs for international students interested in the study of public administration in the United States; the role of American scholars in assisting China, Vietnam and other countries who have made a national commitment to "scientific development." The Leadership Symposium provides an opportunity to re-examine the continuing identity crisis through the lens of the leadership role public administration can and should play in the 21st century.

This symposium is occasioned by the retirement of Professor Douglas Morgan whose scholarly career has been singularly focused on enhancing the leadership role and capacity of public administration and its career public servants through scholarship, curricular development, leadership training and the preparation of students for careers in public service.  Papers will be solicited for the following topical areas with the goal of publishing the best papers in a collection of essays with the tentative title, Restoring Leadership in Public Administration: The Role of Public Administration in the 21st Century. The goal is to solicit some exemplary case studies provided by practitioners as well as conceptual and research-based papers provided by members of the academic community for each of the thematic areas listed below.

1. Public Administration Catechisms: Implications for Leadership - The history of Public Administration scholarship and practice has been characterized by waves of reform that call into question previous foundations and "reset" the framework for understanding the role of public administration in democratic governance. Whether it be the wave of scientific management, new public administration, post-modernism, the reinvention of government, constitutionalism or any number of other "schools of thought", public administration education and practice is left to connect these initiatives to work that serves the public interest. What have we learned from the history of the development of public administration that sheds light on how we think about the leadership role of our public bureaucracies and their public servant stewards?

2. Emergent Governance Modes and Forms: What are the Leadership Implications? - Public service at all levels of government  throughout the United States is undergoing experimentation with new modes and forms of governance. We continue to experiment with the possibilities and limits of contracting out public services to non-profit or for-profit entities, privatizing traditional public sector functions, re-thinking the limits of de-regulation, and creating new governing networks across organizational and jurisdictional boundaries. What are the implications of these changes for leadership development and preparation of our career public servants?

3. Citizens and Public Service: Civic Republicanism and the Role of Administrative Leadership - American public service is unique in the role that citizens and civic associations have played in constituting and defining the meaning of the public interest in the United States. Over the past several decades the relationship between the public sector and civil society, especially the role of nonprofits, has been undergoing some dramatic changes. What is the role of public service in cultivating a healthy civil society and in developing an informed and engaged citizenry? What kind of leadership preparation is necessary for public administrators to successfully perform this civic engagement role?

4. Globalization: What Difference Does it Make for Leadership Development? – Globalization has affected both the thinking and practice of public service in the United States.  Our schools of public administration are filled with students from abroad who want to learn how to manage and govern more effectively. NASPAA is awash with debate over the extent to which public service should be "value-centered" and, if so, whether such an approach is compatible with serving as an accrediting body for schools in other countries. All of this raises questions about the way we frame the leadership role and responsibilities of public servants at various levels of government as well as within various levels of public bureaucracies. What difference does globalization make to the way we prepare public servants for carrying out their fiduciary responsibilities?

5. Academia and Public Administration: Leadership Education for the Public Good – What does it mean to educate students and  professional career administrators for public service leadership? What kind of education is most appropriate to different target audiences to ensure that those responsible for the public interest can successfully carry out their roles and responsibilities? What is the ideal preparation for undergraduate students interested in public service careers? How is that different than graduate professional preparation for pre-service students? For experienced practitioners?


Symposium Schedule.pdf 9 KB