2016 International Young Scholars Workshop Studies Equity, Community Engagement
Cape Town Broadens Research and Minds
Twenty-seven young scholars and research fellows gathered in Cape Town, South Africa, last week to share research and comparatively examine public administration and policy issues related to social equity and community engagement. The theme, "Advancing the Understanding of Global Disparities in Public Policy, Public Administration, NGOs, and the Communities They Serve," provided these young public administrators with the opportunity to not only conduct valuable research surrounding equity in public policy, but to also share that research with senior scholars and local South African practitioners while experiencing some of Cape Town's history relative to this theme.
Generously supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, of Battle Creek, Mich., through a $20,000 corporate gift—as well as partner organizations the South African Community Chest, the Conference of Minority Public Administrators and Rutgers-Newark—these scholars learned from each others' research while also hearing from external speakers. Topics discussed included:
- Structural and institutional inequities
- Race, marginalization and privilege
- Women in developing countries
- Disparities in social capital
- Higher education policy
- Equity in emergency management
- Policy challenges in developing countries
The workshop also included several sessions on professional development, including obtaining grants, fellowships and post-docs; preparing for tenure-track positions; pursuing a career in federal employment or research institutes; and improving teaching effectiveness.
Scholars also enjoyed social opportunities through dinners, networking breaks and an off-site excursion to Langa Township and Robben Island, which included a tour led by a former political prisoner who knew Nelson Mandela. (Want to check it out? Head to Twitter to see some photos of the experience.)
Time for celebration and recognition was also included, as awards were given out for the best presentations and papers from this year’s programs. Winners were:
- Best Presentation Award
Ph.D. Student, Department of Political Studies, University of Cape Town
"Budget and Policy Planning in Devolved Kenya: A Case Study of Citizen Participation in Nairobi County"
- Best Presentation Award, Honorable Mention
Michael Perkins, JD
Ph.D. Student, Public Policy and Administration, Virginia Commonwealth University
"The Black Male Collegiate: A Case Study Exploring Crime Alerts and Racial Battle Fatigue"
- Best Presentation Award, Honorable Mention
Ph.D. Student, Public Policy and Administration, Jackson State University
"Economic Determinant Analysis of Student Academic Performance in Mississippi Public Schools"
- Best Paper Award
Andrea Marie Headley
Ph.D. Student, Public Affairs, Florida International University
"Predicting Police Presence: An Application of Social Disorganization Theory"
- Best Paper Award, Honorable Mention
Ph.D. Student, Public Affairs, University of Missouri
"Police Strength in Centralized and Decentralized Police Systems: A Tale of Two Worlds"
- Best Paper Award, Honorable Mention
Ph.D. Student, University of Texas at Dallas
"Examining the Dispositional and Organizational Sources of Job Satisfaction"
More information about this stellar group of individuals, their Cape Town experience and the research they have produced will be on ASPA's new website when it launches in a few weeks. Look for more details and make sure to take a look at what this group of young scholars is bringing to public administration.
More about the scholars' Cape Town experience is on Twitter. Search for #IYSW2016 to find stellar research, Cape Town ambiance, coffee, rainbows and much more.
ASPA 2015 Annual Report Released
In 2015, the American Society for Public Administration's (ASPA's) year was one of significant and sustainable progress. From expanding members' professional development options to enhancing our partnerships with likeminded organizations dedicated to the public good, ASPA saw forward movement of which its members can be proud.
Presented in our Annual Report are the results of our efforts to enhance ASPA's role as the umbrella organization for the field; build our Society, both internally and externally, in meaningful and concrete ways; and more actively engage our members in a broader range of activities that provides value to their daily work whether as practitioners, scholars or students.
As you browse through this publication, we hope you can see the continuation of progress that began in 2014 and continues to yield results in 2016. From strengthening our relationships with Chapters and Sections to further professionalizing our communications and development efforts, we tirelessly work to be the voice of the public administration community, within ASPA and beyond. Serving as the critical bridge between the practitioner and academic communities—long a key objective of our Society—continued to guide all of our work as we launched new initiatives and reinvigorated existing ones.
We invite you to read ASPA's 2015 Annual Report and learn about all the significant accomplishments you helped the Society achieve last year.
Questions or comments? Contact ASPA Executive Director Bill Shields or Communications Chief Karen Garrett.
Webinars and BookTalks on the Horizon
ASPA's professional development webinars are ongoing throughout the year. Averaging 85 attendees per webinar and free to ASPA members, these e-learning opportunities provide you with valuable insights and information at your fingertips. Here's a quick look at upcoming opportunities. Make sure you register today for sessions that interest you and visit our website to review further details about all upcoming webinars and BookTalks.
An Engineer's Perspective on the Flint Water Crisis
Tuesday, August 2, 2016, 2 p.m.
Rebekah Martin, Virginia Tech Water Study Team
Flint, Mich., has been in the news for two years as media and policymakers have examined lead levels in the town's water supply. Now, hear from a doctoral student with the Virginia Tech Water Study Team, which has been on the ground in Michigan since the beginning of the crisis. Rebekah will discuss where Flint stands today from her perspective as an engineer. The Water Study Team was awarded ASPA's prestigious Public Integrity Award this past March for its tremendous work related to this crisis. One of the few trusted sources of information, you will hear from Rebekah about how public administrators are affecting change.
Fundamentals of Project Management
Tuesday, August 16, 1 p.m.
Wayne Brantley, Villanova University
Project management is a position and a skill set we often see and hear about, but what is it really? Projects occur all the time. Most can say they have projects they need to complete. They are started and they are finished. What happens in between the beginning and the end? How are projects planned? How do they compete for resources with other projects? Are they late? Are they over budget? This presentation, brought to you in partnership with ASPA's Indiana Chapter, will answer these questions and many more. You will walk away with tools and techniques to help you better lead the projects on which you are working.
BookTalk: Rethinking Public Administration—The Case for Management
Wednesday, August 24, 1 p.m.
Richard Clay Wilson, Jr., Governing Magazine
When we think about government, our thoughts are almost invariably about politics. Politicians deserve the attention they get, serving at the top of federal, state and local government. But there is a downside to focusing on politics: paying little attention to our public institutions' management. Author Richard Clay Wilson, Jr., a former city manager, argues that the career managers who actually operate government entities have the capacity to significantly upgrade governmental performance. Before that can happen, though, we must rethink the roles of elected officials and career managers. This book points the way.
ASPA Website Gets a Facelift!
Remember, ASPA will be launching an exciting go-to resource in just a few weeks: a new and improved website! Supplementing the new or enhanced benefits ASPA has been providing our members for the past several years, we are pleased our website will now provide you with:
- Easy access to members-only benefits
- More robust professional development resources
- A wide range of important Chapter and Section resources
- Greater informational benefits for Students and New Professionals
- A field-wide calendar listing local, regional and national events
- A cleaner look and feel that is easy to navigate
- Mobile-friendly access
- A more efficient member renewal process
We are also pleased to announce we will be nearly doubling our support for our local Chapters, increasing rebates from $6 to $10 per member, as a product of dues adjustments that will go into effect with the new website.
Members should check their email for messages from us outlining these changes and providing additional details. We look forward to continuing to serve current and future members through this new website and future resources! Please contact our membership department with any questions!
PAR Editor Search Continues; Webinars Planned
ASPA's search for an Editor in Chief of Public Administration Review (PAR), its flagship professional journal, is under way. The Editor in Chief is one of ASPA's most visible public figures and ASPA is looking to the next editor to continue the strides made in the past several years.
Today, July 28, ASPA will host a webinar that will provide more information about the process and practical aspects of managing PAR on a daily basis. We will cover details including:
- Time requirements for the Editor and staff
- Operational requirements for the journal
- Funding expectations for the editorial team
- Sharing duties and areas of responsibility
- Best practices and lessons learned from the current Editor
- Critical elements of a successful proposal
If you or a colleague have been considering submitting a proposal to serve as PAR's Editor in Chief, plan now to attend this online question-and-answer forum. It is important you have all the information you need to provide a competitive proposal. This webinar will help you do that.
A second webinar is scheduled for August 10 for interested parties who cannot attend this week's event.
Please visit our website to review the Request for Proposals (RFP) and other details about the search process. You also may download the RFP here to view it as a PDF.
Proposals are due no later than Friday, Sept. 30, to ASPA Chief of Program Operations Lisa Sidletsky. Contact her at 202-585-4312 with questions.
Want to Serve on National Council? Check Out Our Webinar!
There are only three weeks left in ASPA's annual leadership nomination period. All leadership nominations must be received by August 12, 2016, for consideration by the Nominating Committee. Are you interested in being nominated?
Making the decision to serve can be difficult. You must weigh your current responsibilities with what will be expected of you as a National Council member and take into account how your leadership style will work with others.
Use our webinar, which was recorded last year, to help you determine whether service on the National Council is right for you. Click on the below image to access this resource*:
Far from a name-only role, ASPA looks to its leaders to promote programming, build support and cultivate ASPA's image in front of a variety of audiences. Some of the responsibilities expected of National Council members include:
- Working with ASPA staff to grow Chapters and Sections and increase membership retention
- Working with fellow Council members to connect field leadership with ASPA leadership across all five ASPA districts
- Providing thought leadership to help ASPA staff plan programs throughout the year
- Supporting ASPA's future through contributing to the Endowment
All members are welcome to nominate themselves or a peer for consideration. Visit our online form for more details or to submit a nomination.
Nominations will be accepted until August 12, 2016. Submit your nominee soon to ensure he or she is considered by the Nominating Committee this fall.
*Please note: data listed in the webinar are from 2015. Some data points, including exact dates, will not be accurate for 2016.
2017 Annual Conference Call for Proposals
ASPA is pleased to announce its 2017 Annual Conference proposal submission process is open! Join us in showcasing state-of-the-art practices used in modern public and nonprofit administration, while exploring new approaches and opportunities for continued innovation.
The 2017 Annual Conference will take place March 17-21 in Atlanta, as it focuses on its theme, "Saluting the Public Service: A Bold and Noble Profession." Public service is a bold and noble profession. Our responsibilities are greater, our goals are grander and our challenges are tougher. At its core, public administration at all levels of government—both domestically and internationally—is focused on building a better society. Through 11 program tracks, ASPA's 2017 Annual Conference provides practitioners and academics with the opportunity to showcase our excellence, learn from our failures and devote collective intellectual capital to addressing contemporary challenges—all while honoring public servants' dedication and commitment around the world.
Here is your opportunity to submit a proposal for the 2017 Annual Conference that combines a practitioner's experience with the best scholarly research has to offer. Eleven tracks will provide you with plenty of choices for where to submit your proposal including:
- Budgeting, Financial Management and Procurement
- Comparative Public Administration
- Environmental Sustainability, Climate Change and Technology
- Ethics, Integrity and Law
- Gender Studies and LGBTQ Issues and Policies
- Human Resources, Leadership and Public Management
- Nonprofits, Civic Engagement and Advocacy
- Policy Analysis, Implementation and Evaluation
- Public Administration Theory
- Public Safety and Emergency Management
- Social Equity, Diversity and Immigration and At-Risk Communities
Need more information? View full track descriptions here and view our Presenters' Guidelines online to find more details that will help you shape the perfect proposal. Conference details including hotel information, a registration form and other resources will be announced in the coming weeks.
The deadline for all proposals is September 23! Start planning yours now!
Controlling Administrative Discretion Promotes Social Equity? Evidence from a Natural Experiment
Although social equity has been a formal pillar of public administration for decades, identifying mechanisms through which public officials inadvertently reproduce unfair conditions remains a relevant topic. In particular, it is important to understand how the habits and practices of street-level bureaucrats may result in an unjust allocation of public resources. Sergio Cardenas and Edgar E. Ramírez de la Cruz (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Economicas (CIDE), Mexico) provide evidence on how the administrative discretion conferred on school principals may result in an efficient but unfair condition regarding the allocation of students across schools, thus undermining social equity. By exploiting a natural experiment, they are able to provide reliable evidence on how controlling administrative discretion decreases the segregation of students based on their socioeconomic status. Link to PAR Early View
Managing in the Regulatory Thicket: Regulation Legitimacy and Expertise
Although the influence of government regulation on organizations is undeniable, empirical research in this field is scarce. Anna A. Amirkhanyan (American University), Kenneth J. Meier (Texas A&M University) and Laurence J. O'Toole, Jr. (The University of Georgia) investigate how the understanding of and attitudes toward government regulation among public, nonprofit and for-profit managers affect organizational performance, using U.S. nursing homes as the empirical setting. Findings suggest that managers' perceptions of regulation legitimacy—views of regulation fairness, inspectors' effectiveness and internal utility of the mandates—positively affect service quality. Subgroup analysis suggests that managers' views of regulation matter in nonprofit and for-profit organizations but not in public organizations. In nonprofit homes, performance declines when managers report higher regulatory expertise—better knowledge of the regulatory standards. In for-profit facilities, frequent communication with regulators lowers quality. These findings suggest that the regulated entities' views of government regulation are central to their success, which necessitates improvements in the regulatory process. Link to PAR Early View
What Happens at the Polling Place: Using Administrative Data to Look Inside Elections
Tremendous attention has been paid to local election administration since the 2000 presidential election meltdown, yet policymakers still lack basic information about what happens at the polling place. One strategy to understand the interactions between citizens and street-level election bureaucrats is to turn to administrative data. Using logs collected by polling place workers, Barry C. Burden, David T. Canon, Kenneth R. Mayer, Donald P. Moynihan (University of Wisconsin, Madison) and Jacob R. Neiheisel (University at Buffalo, SUNY) analyze more than 66,000 individual incidents recorded from four different statewide elections. Such data provide novel insights and guidance for the administration of elections. Findings indicate that task scale (in terms of the number of ballots) and complexity (in terms of absentee ballots) increase the incident rate. Managerial choices about how polling places are run also matter: the use of electronic voting machines and central count processing of ballots reduce the incident rate, while splitting poll worker shifts increases it. Operator capacity, measured in terms of experience, also reduces the number of incidents. Link to PAR Early View
Organizations, Policies, and the Roots of Public Value Failure: The Case of For-Profit Higher Education
While public value theory has emerged to offer important insights into the evaluation of social enterprises, little is known about the origins of public value failure and even less about the role that organizations and public policy play in creating public value failure. Accordingly, Derrick M. Anderson and Gabel Taggart (Arizona State University) explore the origins of public value failure using examples from for-profit higher education. A selection of organization and public policy concepts are integrated into a public value mapping framework to develop a theoretical basis for public value "failure drivers." In addition to advancing public value theory, an understanding of the origins of public value failure and the role of failure drivers has important implications for the design of public value–maximizing strategies and institutions. Link to PAR Early View
Transparency by Conformity: A Field Experiment Evaluating Openness in Local Governments
Sunshine laws establishing government transparency are ubiquitous in the United States; however, the intended degree of openness is often unclear or unrealized. Although researchers have identified characteristics of government organizations or officials that affect the fulfillment of public records requests, they have not considered the influence that government organizations have on one another. This picture of independently acting organizations does not accord with the literature on diffusion in public policy and administration. James ben-Aaron (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Matthew Denny (Pennsylvania State University), Bruce Desmarais (Pennsylvania State University) and Hanna Wallach (Microsoft Research New York City; University of Massachusetts Amherst) present a field experiment testing whether a county government's fulfillment of a public records request is influenced by the knowledge that its peers have already complied. They propose that knowledge of peer compliance should induce competitive pressures to comply and resolve legal ambiguity in favor of compliance. Findings indicate peer conformity affects both in the time to initial response and in the rate of complete request fulfillment. Link to PAR Early View
New on PA Times Online
Every Tuesday and Friday, ASPA publishes a curated collection of original content that covers public service, management and international affairs.
For issues being published in the third quarter of 2016, we welcome submissions that focus on infrastructure and public higher education. Send us your submissions now! The deadline is rolling; contact us for more information.
Check out our recent articles and columns:
Towns in the Age of Megacities
Media (Social) = Social Services
New on the ASPA Blog
Looking for interesting commentary on news events and contemporary issues? Check out the ASPA Blog, which features a collection of authors writing on everyday life from the eyes of a public manager, student or young professional.
Featured recently on the Blog:
The Mother of Inventions
What Say You?
Find your next career opportunity at publicservicecareers.org. This online job board is the perfect resource for making a career change or landing your first job in the public sector. It lists dozens of positions in academia, government and the nonprofit sector. Below are examples of current listings.
Associate Dean for Academic Strategies and Innovation – University of Texas at Austin
Business Development Specialist – Virginia Tourism Corporation, Richmond, VA
Senior Data Analyst – Oregon Department of Human Services, Salem, OR