2022 Annual Conference Puts Community at the Forefront
ASPA’s 2022 Annual Conference took place in person, March 18-22 in Jacksonville, Florida, for the first time in three years. Attendees were excited to see each other again, share experiences and spend valued time together.
The conference theme, "Democracy under Threat: The Future of Equality in a Post-COVID World," was well-timed as three significant undercurrents wound their way through attendees’ minds: the status of COVID around the world, the war in Ukraine and increasing inequities within society, as well as sanctioned by the state.
"I am pleased that so many of our events will deal especially with the two major themes of the conference: democracy under threat and the future of equality in this country," said ASPA President Allan Rosenbaum. "These obviously are critical issues ASPA as an organization and its individual members are concerned about and I urge all attendees to share that sense of concern and commitment."
Against that backdrop, presentations throughout the conference emphasized the need for community—the communities in which we live and the feeling of community that accompanies interaction and engagement. Concurrent panelists zeroed in on this theme as part of their research, while presidential panel presenters and keynote speakers pointed to community in practice.
"Yes, I am my brother's keeper," stated Harvey White (University of Delaware) during a presidential panel focused on the impacts of COVID-19. "It's in our self-interest and your self-investment to know what's going on and what will impact us," he continued as he reflected on the research provided by representatives from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One of more than 10 presidential panels that took place during the conference, "Global Challenges of COVID-19" provided in-depth data related to efforts around the world to fight the pandemic, as well as how global communities have reacted.
Other presidential panels discussed a range of topics including issue advocacy, social equity, international scholarly engagement, the U.N.’s sustainable development goals, democracy, public service and more. Focusing on current topics of interest as well as long-term initiatives, these panels provided an ongoing dialogue throughout the conference that all attendees could join as schedules permitted.
Plenary keynotes and lectures—six in all—emphasized public administration practice: from opening keynote speaker Tom Nichols, who turned attendees’ attention to the role narcissism and self-interest plays in authoritarianism, to Aretha Ferrell-Benavides, who demonstrated how self-interested citizens warp the work being done at the local level, to Carissa Slotterback, who reminded attendees of the importance of applied research that makes an impact on communities. All of this year’s plenaries reminded those in the room how specifically tied we are to each other, and how one person’s actions can have dramatic effects on everyone around them.
"Cultural changes have encouraged us to expect high living standards," Nichols said. "If we don't get them, democracy has failed us. [Democracy] no longer means protecting rights, voting and standing equally in a court of law. Now, democracy is about living standards and meaning... Can a republic survive on resentment and ignorance? No," he stated.
"Good ideas are only as good as their implementation and management," observed Mary Guy (University of Colorado Denver), this year’s Nesta M. Gallas Lecturer. "They are only successful when they work day in and day out."
Sprinkled throughout the panels and sessions were a variety of networking opportunities—receptions, the Gloria Hobson Nordin Social Equity Luncheon, SWPA’s Annual Awards Breakfast, Saturday evening’s welcome reception and Chapter and Section events—awards ceremonies and plenty of ways for attendees to connect with each other, all intended to provide conference-goers with a well-rounded experience they could fit to their needs.
"It’s been really great to see each other again, especially after being apart for so long," commented ASPA Immediate Past President Kendra Stewart. "I especially enjoy hearing students provide their research and watching us all learn from each other how to improve our work. You get a little bit of everything here and that’s what makes it such a great event.”
ASPA hosted a Highlights Week immediately following the conference, during which all plenary and presidential panel recordings were posted to the website along with some additional Zoom panels. Conference attendees can log into the website to find these recordings and listen to the remarks at any time.
Public Service Recognition Week Just Around the Corner
National Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW), an annual opportunity across the United States to pay tribute to public service employees, will take place May 1-7, 2022. How are you planning to celebrate the public servants in your community?
The past two years (and prior) have been difficult for the public service profession. From pandemic woes to increased inequities to general unrest, it seems no one is happy with “government,” and those in local government agencies take the most heat for their hard work. While we should work all year long to help our public servants know they are appreciated, PSRW provides a special opportunity to inundate those in our community with kindness and appreciation.
Just a few things your local public servants do for you include:
Make the most of PSRW2022 and show your local public servants how much you care and appreciate their efforts. From letter-writing campaigns to social media posts to op-eds in your local newspapers, there are many options to demonstrate to your area public administrators that their work is valued. Efforts do not have to stop there, either. Your state and federal workers are equally ignored and unpraised. Use online forms or op-ed columns to recognize those who run agencies and work in state offices—and not just policymakers, but their staff and those who execute public programs year-round.
- Collect your garbage and recycling
- Manage your health care
- Run your local elections
- Manage property
- Ensure your locality’s finances are well-run
- Maintain your roads, bridges and highways
- Help rebuild utilities after natural disasters
- Run your school board
- Support families in crisis
- Keep the peace
- Manage emergencies
- Take care of your community's needs
ASPA Chapters (and some Sections!) use PSRW each year to promote the good work our public service community is doing, award those in their communities and provide educational opportunities to learn more about local government, so keep an eye out through ASPA resources to see more about upcoming events and ways Chapters are celebrating PSRW2022. (Chapter leaders: If you are planning an event this spring to honor public servants, make sure ASPA knows about it so we can share the details!)
For the public servants reading this message, we hope you enjoy a fulfilling PSRW and you know how much the American Society for Public Administration—all 8,000 members—appreciates you! Thank you for your service!
E-Learning at Your Fingertips
ASPA staff work tirelessly to keep your skills up to date and the information flowing all year long through our e-learning program. Visit our website to see more details about upcoming KeepingCurrent, BookTalk and Students and New Professionals series programming.
KeepingCurrent: International Scholarly Engagement—Respecting Human Rights and Academic Freedom
In Partnership with ASPA's International Scholarly Engagement Committee
April 20 | 10 a.m. EDT
International engagement is an essential part of scholarly work in public administration but it poses challenges when academic freedom and human rights are disrespected and placed at risk. The global resurgence of authoritarianism has intensified these challenges. What should individuals and institutions—universities, academic associations, journals and accrediting bodies—do to assure that core values like human rights and academic freedom are protected when they work in other jurisdictions?
Michael Brintnall, Discussant, Trustee, Montgomery College, Maryland, and former Executive Director, American Political Science Association and National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration
Chelsea Cohen, Acting Director, Membership and University Relations, Scholars at Risk, New York
Corinne Lennox, Co-Director, Human Rights Consortium, University of London; Member, UK Academic Freedom and Internationalization Working Group
Alasdair Roberts, Moderator, Director, School of Public Policy at University of Massachusetts—Amherst
Meghna Sabharwal, Discussant, Chair, ASPA Section on International and Comparative Public Administration, and Head, Public and Nonprofit Management Program, University of Texas at Dallas
KeepingCurrent: A Model for Evidence-Based Performance Management: The New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee
In Partnership with ASPA's Center for Accountability and Performance
Sponsored by the University of New Mexico School of Public Administration
April 26 | 1 p.m. EDT
There is a great deal that state legislatures and professionals working in program evaluation and performance measurement can learn from the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee (LFC), winner of the 2022 Center for Performance and Accountability (CAP) Organizational Leadership Award. The LFC has been working on various performance improvement, program evaluation and accountability projects for more than 20 years. Their work has demonstrated a commitment to evidence-based budget decisionmaking, which, according to the Pew Charitable Trust's Results First initiative, makes New Mexico a leader in evidence-based policymaking. This webinar, co-sponsored by CAP and the University of New Mexico School of Public Administration, will explore the LFC’s innovative data analysis and presentation approaches during legislative hearings, as well as its latest endeavor: a performance-driven legislative Stat system.
Jon Courtney, Deputy Director for Program Evaluation, State of New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee
Patria de Lancer Julnes, Moderator, Rosenthal Endowed Professor and Director, The University of New Mexico
Charles Sallee, Deputy Director for Budget, State of New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee
From the Archives
KeepingCurrent: Getting Serious About Intergovernmental Data Sharing in Times of COVID-19
COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance of being able to share data quickly between levels of government, but this does not come easy. Our presenters offered case studies that provide insights and recommendations that may be helpful in guiding your city, state or federal agency on ways they can undertake data sharing initiatives.
ASPA National Council Releases Resolution in Support of Ukraine
The American Society for Public Administration stands in solidarity with our Ukrainian colleagues, including Oleg Amosov, professor in the Institute of Public Administration at Karazin Kharkiv National University, who died from injuries suffered as a result of the indiscriminate and criminal bombing of his home by Russian forces. We also express our support for our many Ukrainian public administration colleagues who have remained in their country to resist, as well as to others who have been forced to leave their homes and country as a result of the violent bombing that is an increasingly central element of the Russian invasion.
We express our gratitude and support to the public administration communities of several neighboring countries for their important efforts to assist the millions of current and future refugees driven from Ukraine by the actions of the Russian dictator and the military which he commands.
We condemn the horrendous actions of the Russian government and its military forces in Ukraine. We fully understand that public opposition to, or deviation from, government policy in Russia could easily lead to immediate incarceration or worse, often absent due process. Nevertheless, we call upon our Russian public administration colleagues to seek any way possible to express their opposition to the rapidly expanding totalitarian aspects of government in their country and to share with their fellow citizens the realities of the terrible tragedy being inflicted upon the Ukrainian people, including our public administration colleagues, practitioners and academics alike.
We call upon our sister and brother organizations throughout the nation and world to join us in calling for an immediate end to this invasion, as well as to other armed hostilities which tragically are underway in several parts of the world beyond the borders of Europe.
Approved by National Council, March 18, 2022
ASPA's Bookstore Gains New Editions!
ASPA’s 2022 Annual Conference included two book signings: Our Own Worst Enemy by Tom Nichols and Gimme Shelter by Bonnie Stone. We have extra signed copies of each book for sale on our website. If you're interested in expanding your library with these must-reads, now is your chance to purchase a copy of either book!
Our Own Worst Enemy ($20)
Over the past three decades, citizens of democracies who claim to value freedom, tolerance and the rule of law have increasingly embraced illiberal politicians and platforms. Democracy is in trouble—but who is really to blame?
In Our Own Worst Enemy, Tom Nichols challenges the current depictions of the rise of illiberal and anti-democratic movements in the United States and elsewhere as the result of the deprivations of globalization or the malign decisions of elites. Rather, he places the blame for the rise of illiberalism on the people themselves. Nichols traces the illiberalism of the 21st century to the growth of unchecked narcissism, rising standards of living, global peace and a resistance to change. Ordinary citizens, laden with grievances, have joined forces with political entrepreneurs who thrive on the creation of rage rather than on the encouragement of civic virtue and democratic cooperation. While it will be difficult, Nichols argues that we need to defend democracy by resurrecting the virtues of altruism, compromise, stoicism and cooperation—and by recognizing how good we've actually had it in the modern world.
Trenchant, contrarian and highly engaging, Our Own Worst Enemy reframes the debate about how democracies have ended up in this dire state of affairs and what to do about it.
Gimme Shelter ($20)
Now and then, there really is good government. Bonnie Stone spent 40 years in New York City and social services-oriented not-for-profits. She doggedly and ingeniously tackled some of New York's most urgent issues, particularly chronic homelessness. Undaunted, Stone negotiated choppy waters, working with the expert, the difficult, the skeptical, the next-to-impossible, the determined and the inspired.
Gimme Shelter has a cast of characters as colorful and varied as the city itself. There are big stories of apparently insurmountable odds, surmounted-and smaller stories of people who with dedicated help were able to beat terrible odds. At a time when government is viewed as ineffective or even as a saboteur of people's best interests, Gimme Shelter reveals how the men and women who work for the City of New York can bring positive change to the lives of its citizens.
2022 Transatlantic Dialogue Takes Place This June!
The 16th Transatlantic Dialogue (TAD16), an annual conference bridging scholarly communities on either side of the Atlantic Ocean, will take place June 9-11, 2022, in Roskilde (Denmark). Co-sponsored by ASPA, the European Group for Public Administration/International Institute of Administrative Sciences and Rutgers University, we are pleased to join with our European counterparts to support this event and the scholarly communities it enhances.
Under this year's theme, “Strategic Management of Public Sector Transformation in Turbulent Times: Enhancing Collaborative Governance and Co-creation of Public Value," TAD16 will organize a broad range of workshops led by pairs of American and European scholars:
This event also will feature several keynote speeches, a roundtable discussion of public governance responses to COVID-19 and a fun social event. More details will be provided as the schedule evolves.
- Building capacities for collaborative governance and co-creation through strategic management
- Enhancing public performance through interagency and cross-sector collaboration
- Public innovation through networks of public and private actors: theory and practice
- Improving the performance of contracts, procurement and public-private partnerships
- Co-creating public value outcomes with citizens and voluntary organizations
- Public leadership and motivation in public value production
- Designing institutional platforms and arenas for collaborative governance and co-creation
- Political leadership and policy entrepreneurship in a turbulent world of collaborative governance
- Democratic legitimacy and accountability in collaborative governance arrangements
All registrations are due by May 10, 2022. Find more details on the TAD16 website and we'll look forward to seeing you in Roskilde in June!
National Civic League Releases Updated Model City Charter
Following a year-long revision process, the National Civic League has released the ninth edition of the Model City Charter. The revision process was led by a steering committee of 22 national representatives and experts. The newly released edition continues the League’s tradition of helping cities implement professional, ethical and representative governance, and also includes a new emphasis on civic engagement and equity. For a limited time, the new edition of the Model City Charter is available for free.
Tips and Resources
Public Service Loan Forgiveness: 100,000 Borrowers Are Eligible So Far under New Rules
The Department of Education said it has so far identified 100,000 borrowers who are eligible for student debt cancellation due to the changes the agency made to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program in October.
Why Daylight Saving Time Is Unhealthy—A Neurologist Explains
By altering the body’s internal clock, "springing forward" may contribute to an increase in heart attacks and strokes.
Managing Effectively from Afar: Lessons from Anthropologists During the Pandemic
Federal leaders can learn a lot from anthropologists about observing agency culture and listening to employees.
The Normal Retirement Age May Be on the Way Up
It’s one way to help keep Social Security solvent.
In the News
Today's headlines contain plenty of news coverage of some of our nation's most pressing public administration challenges. ASPA has curated some of the most important stories from recent weeks. If you have not seen these yet, make sure you read them now!
COVID In the News
Here are stories specific to the coronavirus that are noteworthy, in addition to our usual assortment of news headlines above.
Members in the News
ASPA members are in the news in a variety of ways. If you have been featured, please send a link to the article to us and we will be happy to include it in a future newsletter.
Federal Billions and a Lost World of Accountability
By Don Kettl
UM Alum Appointed to Federal Salary Council
Profiling Steve Condrey's appointment to the White House's Federal Salary Council. Condrey was appointed alongside ASPA Past President Janice Lachance and member Jared Llorens.
Successful Strategies for Attracting and Retaining Public Employees
By Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene
Around Public Administration
Here are the most recent updates from across the profession. Did we miss you? Send us your news and we'll include it in the next round!
Calls for proposals and other updates:
Marc Holzer Public Performance Symposium
Online | April 22, 2022
Submit proposals here
30th NISPAcee Annual Conference
Bucharest, Romania | June 2-4, 2022
Theme: Crises, Vulnerability and Resilience in Public Administration
NAPA's Social Equity Leadership Conference
Online | June 8-10, 2022
The Call for Papers is open.
Contact Chair Richard Greggory Johnson, III for more details.
16th Transatlantic Dialogue (TAD)
Roskilde, Denmark | June 9-11, 2022
Registration is open
2022 Korean Association for Public Administration (KAPA) International Conference
Online | June 22-24
Theme: Green, Digital, COVID-19: Rethinking Public Administration in an Era of the Great Transformation
2022 Midwest Public Affairs Conference
University of Illinois Springfield | June 23-24, 2022
The Call for Papers and registration is open
Lexington, Kentucky | September 29 - October 2
The Call for Papers is open and registration is open; the early-bird deadline is June 15
2022 KAPA Conference Call for Proposals
The Korean Association for Public Administration (KAPA) will host its 2022 conference online, June 22-24. The theme is “Green, Digital, COVID-19: Rethinking Public Administration in an Era of the Great Transformation.” The 2022 conference seeks multi-disciplinary research on organizational, managerial and policy challenges and opportunities that have emerged during the tumultuous times. Tracks include: equity, inclusion and social justice; environment, climate and sustainable governance; managing effective and resilient public service; digital transformation of public service; and good governance in the era of the great transformation. All proposals are due April 17, 2022. Contact KAPA with any questions.
2022 SECOPA Call for Proposals
The program committee for the SECOPA meeting in Lexington, Kentucky (September 30 – October 1, 2022) invites participants to offer papers and presentations on all topics of public administration, but particularly encourages proposals dealing with the many ways public administrators across agencies, sectors and levels of government build and promote community. Recent events—even those only peripherally related to the pandemic—have heightened public awareness of the importance of community in all its forms. As the hallmark of our profession, public administrators rely on technical expertise to identify and address the needs of our communities. No stranger to collaboration or conflict before the Age of COVID, public administrators now face new and more intense challenges in providing public goods and services as we are battered and bolstered by the forces of politics. Public administration research and practice have consistently emphasized mechanisms of accountability as important tools to combat negative images and document the positive impact of public agencies. We rely on evidence from research and practice to develop and utilize management tools to help eradicate corruption and build trust while meeting public needs. The challenges of the pandemic were exacerbated by a divisive and highly partisan political environment, drawing additional attention to the importance of technical expertise and ethical competence in public service. For more than 50 years, practitioners and academics have come together at the Southeast Conference for Public Administration to address the challenges and celebrate the impact of public administrators. For SECOPA 2022, we once again issue the call to academics and practitioners to provide research and reports to assist public administrators at all levels as they build community through the collaborations and conflicts that characterize practice. If you have questions, please contact conference chair Matthew Howell, or visit the website. All proposals are due by May 1, 2022.
Editor in Chief Search: Public Administration and Development
Public Administration & Development is a long-running journal dedicated to publishing the best research in the field. For more than 50 years, it has been reviewing and assessing the practice of public administration at the local, regional, national and international levels. It gives special attention to investigations of the management of all phases of public policy formulation and implementation which have an interest and importance beyond a particular government and state. The journal is looking for two new editors in chief who will relish the opportunity to develop the journal in line with the discipline, with the changing publishing landscape, and will be able to work together to bring different perspectives to the journal. All applications are due June 1, 2022. Click here for more details.
PA TIMES Online
Here's a selection of current pieces on PA TIMES Online, covering a range of issues within the profession. We accept individual articles on a rolling basis; if you have a piece you think would fit our publication, submit it to [email protected] for consideration. (Please review our submission guidelines in advance!)