TSU public administration faculty member and TN-ASPA past president Meg Streams offered some news from this year’s annual Southeastern Conference for Public Administration, held from September 25-28 in Charlotte, NC. Membership in SECoPA comes with ASPA membership in the District III states, which include Tennessee, and the group holds a regional conference each year – our own TN-ASPA chapter hosted the conference in Nashville in 2008:
“ASPA members, practitioners, scholars and students from around the Southeast enjoyed our annual opportunity to join together for learning and networking at this year’s SECoPA (full program). Charlotte was a great venue, and the conference co-chairs from the Central Piedmont Chapter of ASPA ensured that everything went without a hitch in this energized city. Panel topics covered a broad range, with policy-specific elements such as ‘Inside the Administration of Justice’ and ‘Green Horizons: Choosing an Effective Future for Environmental Policy’ as well as elements common to all kinds of public administration such as ‘Public Employee Turnover’ and ‘Ethics in the Public Sector.’ I presented work with my co-authors Walt Matwijec and Lisa Lankford, ‘Determinants of workforce engagement at a public authority,’ as part of a panel on public employee motivation and leadership; TSU PhD student in public administration and TN-ASPA member Kenyatta Lovett presented part of his dissertation research, ‘The diffusion of governance in state economic development,’ in a panel on Economic and Community Development.
“Two distinguished speakers addressed the luncheon events. North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Sharon Allred Decker discussed a new public-private partnership which will take on some of the traditional agency functions in state economic development. International public administration was also on the agenda – Bolatbek Abdrasilov, Rector of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, offered a fascinating look at ongoing civil service reform and development in a republic of the former Soviet Union. He discussed how new partnerships with educational institutions around the world and groups such as ASPA are connecting the Academy with leading trends in public administration education and civil service preparation. These efforts are in contrast to the past environment, he described, when the formal study of public administration was prohibited in the Soviet era – deemed as a responsibility of the Party rather than a scholarly activity.