Vision, Mission, and Values

The Department of Public Administration’s vision is to be an agent of change to develop and enhance public leadership through education, scholarship and service. Building upon Portland State University’s commitment to community-engaged scholarship and service, the Department of Public Administration is uniquely placed to prepare current and emergent leaders in local, regional, national and global communities.

We recognize that solutions to contemporary problems require innovative approaches and alliances among governments, nonprofits and businesses, and encourage our faculty and students to engage in multidisciplinary and collaborative approaches to advance the public interest.

We aim to contribute to the integrity, effectiveness, and transparency of the next generation of trusted public leaders.

The Department of Public Administration at Portland State University is dedicated to preparing individuals for ethical, competent and effective public service in a range of roles in policy, management and leadership. We seek to improve practice by facilitating learning through community engagement, promoting scholarship, and encouraging reflection as we develop and work with leaders representing diverse communities across all domains of public service.

We recognize that public service professionals work within a complex set of constitutional, institutional, socio-cultural, and legal structures. We believe that they must understand the ways in which economic and political interdependence, both global and domestic, shape the exercise of administrative leadership and management. Our collective efforts support the educational and professional preparation of public service professionals and new scholars.

Based on this recognition, we are guided by the following values which encompass our commitment to integrated, rigorous and relevant teaching, learning, and scholarship, all geared toward the sustainability of our increasingly diverse and rich communities:

  • We believe that the integration of theory and practice is essential for successful management and leadership in public, nonprofit and health organizations, and that reflective practice enhances this integration.
  • We believe that a public service education that integrates ethics and experience is essential to our society.
  • We seek to model in ourselves and develop in our students values of public service and provide mechanisms through which students can explore potential roles for engaging the public in their work.
  • We are committed to addressing the life-long learning needs of our graduates and career public service professionals.
  • We value scholarship that is both rigorous and relevant.
  • We value Portland State University's commitment to community-engaged teaching and scholarship.
  • We are committed to collaborating with public and nonprofit organizations and communities to create rich learning experiences that both assist the community and prepare graduates for productive public service careers.
  • We believe that public service professionals must understand the ways in which a multiplicity of interests help to shape, and in turn are shaped by, the underlying values of our systems of democratic governance.
  • We believe that understanding the dynamic social relationships in diverse and global communities is essential for public service leaders and managers.