ASPA is proud to host a robust e-learning program including three series of webinars: BookTalks, KeepingCurrent events and Students and New Professionals topics. This list is refreshed constantly as new events are added to our calendar. Please contact us if you have any questions about our upcoming discussions or would like to join us to host an event.

BookTalk: Experts in Government

April 25 | 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. EDT

From Caligula and the time of ancient Rome to the present, governments have relied on experts to manage public programs. But with that expertise has come power and that power has long proven difficult to hold accountable. The tension between experts in the bureaucracy and the policy goals of elected officials remains bitter. President Donald Trump labeled these experts as a "deep state," seeking to resist the policies he believed he was elected to pursue—and he developed a policy scheme to make it far easier to fire experts he deemed insufficiently loyal. The age-old battles between expertise and accountability have come to a sharp point and resolving these challenges requires a fresh look at the rule of law to shape the role of experts in governance.

Don Kettl, Professor Emeritus and Former Dean of the University of Maryland, College Park

BookTalk: The Curious Public Administrator

May 14 | 1 p.m. EDT

Louis Brownlow, one of public administration's historical thinkers, argued that “the principal requirement of a good administrator is an insatiable curiosity.” This book is rooted in the notion that public administrators must practice insatiable curiosity to be effective, fair and democratic. By seeking to uncover how the world works, and therefore practicing curiosity, public administrators may be more likely to move toward evidence-based decisions, improving the efficacy and efficiency of public service. Curiosity encourages public administrators to seek answers in a caring manner and, in doing so, empathize with the communities that they serve.

This book incorporates the concept of curiosity into the field of public administration. Scholarship in philosophy, business administration, social science and other fields address curiosity, but public administration has yet to examine this concept in detail. The Curious Public Administrator fills that hole. The book also presents novel primary data on curiosity in public agencies by examining curious organizations and surveying local government officers, and on how public affairs faculty view curiosity and incorporate the concept in their research and the classroom. Finally, Hatcher integrates this information to present a model of administrative curiosity, focusing on creating a guide for future research and teaching.

Will Hatcher, Chair, Department of Social Sciences and Professor, Augusta University