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Presidential Panels

The 2018 Annual Conference will feature eight Presidential Panels, looking at some of the most important issues in public administration today. Read on for more information about the panels being planned!

Lessons Learned for How to Change the World

Saturday, March 10 | 10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Frequently in public service we look at the challenges we face through one of several lenses: public administration, military service, private enterprise, higher education. This very special panel will now tie together these focal points through four prestigious speakers, all of whom have had a clear impact on this country:

  • Bobby Inman, Admiral U.S. Navy (ret.) and Lyndon B. Johnson Centennial Chair in National Policy, LBJ School, University of Texas at Austin
  • William McRaven, Admiral U.S. Navy (ret.) and Chancellor, University of Texas System
  • Mark Welsh, III, General U.S. Air Force (ret.) and Dean, Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University
  • Jefferson Davis Howell, Jr., Moderator, Lt. General U.S. Marine Corps (ret.) and Senior Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor, LBJ School, University of Texas at Austin

Each of these individuals has enjoyed a robust career in the military services—representing the Navy, Air Force and Marines—and has followed it with further service in civilian contexts. Whether it is chairing a federal reserve bank, leading one of the biggest names in the electronics sector or overseeing one of the largest higher education systems in the United States, each has taken the leadership lessons they learned in service to our country and successfully applied them to other public service outlets to continue making an impact.

Inman, McRaven, Welsh and Howell will engage in a robust discussion about what radical experiences have taught them throughout their careers and how lessons in military leadership translate to the public sector, and vice versa. What similarities do they see between military and civilian leadership? Where are the differences? And why does it matter? Make sure you are in the room for this powerful conversation and take away your own lessons learned for how you too can make a difference in public service.

Bad Data

Saturday, March 10 | 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

States and local governments are increasingly driven toward a reliance on data to guide decisionmaking and program improvement, but data quality problems abound. This is particularly true when states rely on multiple local governments or nonprofits to collect data without consistent definitions or sufficient attention. This discussion will cover the most common contributing factors to poor quality data including poor planning, unprotected databases, missing documentation, inconsistent data, poorly trained data collectors and antiquated technology that compromises data accessibility. The panel will also look into ways that governments can improve data quality, a vital step in moving toward reliable data-informed decisions.

Katherine Barrett
, Partner, Barrett and Greene
Richard Greene, Partner, Barrett and Greene

Ally Training for Social Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Saturday, March 10 | 2:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Several ASPA Sections, including COMPA, SNAPS, SWPA, SDSJ, LGBT Advocacy Alliance and SPALR, are collaborating to offer a social equity, diversity and inclusion workshop at the 2018 Annual Conference.

Following opening remarks, participants will be divided into groups for activity-based training that aims at helping participants become allies and take concrete actions to achieve welcoming environments for fellow colleagues, students, professors and others, no matter the context. The training will conclude with a closing panel to share actionable advice for how to foster more equitable, diverse and inclusive public service institutions. We'll be learning how to become friends, not foes; allies, not enemies; be welcoming, not divisive; and create safe spaces for others.

All ASPA members—students and professionals, academicians and practitioners—are invited to participate in this session. 

Speakers Will Include:
Marc Fudge, California State University San Bernardino and COMPA President
Susan Gooden, Immediate Past President, ASPA and Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, L. Douglas Wilder School
Mary Guy, University of Colorado Denver
Richard Greggory Johnson III, University of San Francisco
Janice Lachance, ASPA President

Innovate, Elevate, Repeat

Sunday, March 11 | 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Brian Elms is the former director of Denver’s Peak Academy, an organization that aims to make government fun, innovative, and empowering to citizens and employees by training city employees to eliminate waste, improve efficiency and ultimately create a higher standard of government. Through Peak Academy, trainees learn techniques and strategies for implementing Peak Performance throughout their department, taking personal investment in the city’s continuous improvement initiatives.

Elms and his colleagues from the Change and Innovation Agency are working with governments around the country to help increase capacity in a constantly constricting environment. Learn about how to take these small innovations to your community to make your day and your job better.  

Through this entertaining discussion, Elms will provide practical examples of ways employees in Denver and around the country have made dramatic impacts in all phases of government.

Brian Elms, Innovation Expert

Inclusion in Public Spaces

Sunday, March 11 | 1:30 p.m - 3:00 p.m.

This panel will focus on where public administration intersects with ongoing current debates surrounding "safe spaces" in the public domain. How do we address historic racism? How do public administrators endeavor to be ethical and fair in their public treatment of all? This panel will look at these questions and many others.

James Grossman, Executive Director, American Historical Association
Gregg Ivers, Professor of Government, American University School of Public Affairs
Carla Kimbrough, Program Director/Racial Equity, National Civic League
Mary Guy, Moderator, Professor, University of Colorado Denver


He Gave Us So Much: Reflections on Paul L. Posner

Sunday, March 11 | 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Paul Posner’s many public administration colleagues were saddened by his recent passing; his life and career touched countless individuals. He was a professor and director of the Master of Public Administration program at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. Formerly, he was the managing director for strategic issues at the U.S. General Accounting Office, responsible for work on the federal budget and intergovernmental fiscal policy and management. From 2010-2011, Posner served as president of the American Society for Public Administration. He was also the Chairman of the National Academy of Public Administration’s Board of Directors from 2014-2016. He once stated, "We enter our profession not because it is easy, but because it is hard. When the going gets tough, it is our business to rise to the challenge." During this session, some of his colleagues will reflect upon his lifetime of contributions, as well as his legacy. Audience members are encouraged to share their memories as well.

Erik Bergrud, Associate Vice President for External Relations, Park University    
Dan G. Blair, President and CEO Emeritus, National Academy of Public Administration
Timothy J. Conlan, University Professor of Government, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University
Carl Stenberg, James E. Holshouser, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Public Administration and Government, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tonya T. Neaves, Moderator, Director, Centers on the Public Service, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University

Smart Cities: Current Trends

Monday, March 12 | 11:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.

The future is here—do you have the skills for it?

"Smart Cities" are no longer just about technology. They showcase the intersection of finance, governance, land use, planning, infrastructure and economic development. A public administrator needs the skills to match this intersection, including cross-sector relations, business and finance modeling for technology, digital infrastructure planning, cybersecurity and threat analysis, data privacy, land use and ethics training. What best practices exist to manage this convergence and what other issues are brought to light in the process? This expert panel will examine this convergence and provide a breadth and depth of new research opportunities for addressing public administration's role in the smart city.

Julia Richman, Chief Innovation and Analytics Officer and Interim Chief Information Officer, City of Boulder
Emily Silverman
, Technical Program Manager, City and County of Denver
John Tolva, Principal, CityFi
Paul Teske, Moderator, Dean, School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado, Denver

A Look at the Commission on Evidence Based Policymaking

Monday, March 12 | 3:15 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.

The Commission on Evidence Based Policy Making was established by an Act of Congress to develop a strategy for increasing the availability and use of data in order to build evidence about government programs, while protecting privacy and confidentiality. The Commission released its report this past fall and members of that Commission will now join us at the Annual Conference to discuss substantive areas of the report, its implications and recommendations for performance management, program evaluation and strategic planning.

Make sure you are in the room to hear from these prominent advisors and policy influencers about what may be coming next for public administration.

Maria Aristigueta, Moderator, Professor, University of Delaware
John Kamensky, Discussant, The IBM Center for the Business of Government
Nick Hart, Bi-Partisan Policy Commission
Robert Shea, Principal, Grant Thornton LLP