Cultural Competence, Accountability, and Social Justice:
Administrative responsibility and the legitimacy of American democracy
Call for Abstracts Special Symposium
Editor: Dr. Brandi Blessett


Social unrest in the United States (U.S.) and globally has dominated headlines of late and all indications are that is not a passing trend. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in particular highlighted the disconnect between communities of color and the public institutions responsible for administering justice and democracy within American society. For example, videotaped interactions involving deadly force between people of color and law enforcement officers in the U.S. have resulted in massive global protests, as well as calls for accountability and transparency in government and of public administrators.
Oftentimes, the public and political interpretations of frustrated protesters have been characterized as reactionary and unpredictable, and disconnected from the long-standing systemic and institutional factors that have not only contributed to, but also sustained disparity and injustice. More importantly, public administrators, once viewed as advocates for equity, have become in the eyes of many the wellsprings of the inequities.

The ASPA Code of Ethics acknowledges the importance of advancing the public interest, encouraging democratic participation, promoting ethical organizations, strengthening social equity, and demonstrating personal integrity. From an academic and practical perspective, public administrators must be trained with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to fully execute the democratic ideals within which the profession is grounded. It is through their authority that the alleviation of disparities and inequalities will be meaningfully effected throughout all levels of society. Such a cultural shift requires courage, leadership,
and a commitment to the pursuit of justice and equity for all people. Otherwise, we endanger the integrity and legitimacy of our public institutions in the eyes of our citizens as well as the public abroad.

Elie Wiesel said “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.” Public Integrity seeks paper proposals for a special symposium on Cultural Competence, Accountability, and Social Justice: Administrative responsibility and the legitimacy of American democracy. Authors are encouraged to submit abstracts that explore:
  • sources and/or instances of systemic and institutional injustice
  • the consequences of continued social inequality on the legitimacy of American democracy
  • methods to create an operational norm of social equity
  • how to get those in power to accept and enact change based on existing realities of racial, class, gender, and sexual identity diversity.

Abstracts should seek to challenge the status quo and help move the field from an academic and practitioner perspective, toward cultural competence, accountability, and responsiveness to all citizens.

Submission Process and Due Dates
Abstracts should be submitted by November 1, 2016. Authors will be notified by December 1, 2016, whether their proposals have been selected for development into papers.

Submission Guidelines
Authors should consult the manuscript guidelines for Public Integrity, which can be found here. Abstracts should be sent to Symposium Editor Dr. Brandi Blessett, bb520@camden.rutgers.edu. Authors whose abstracts are selected for inclusion in the symposium will be notified by December 1, 2016. Full manuscripts are due June 1, 2017. Acceptance of an abstract and the concomitant invitation to submit a manuscript does not guarantee publication; all submissions will undergo a double blindreview process.