MPA Faculty Attend SECOPA 2013
Three members of the EKU MPA faculty, Drs. LeAnn Beaty, Will Hatcher, and Matthew Howell, traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina from September 25 to September 28 for the annual Southeastern Conference for Public Administration (SECOPA). SECOPA is a part of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), and brings together academics and practitioners to learn and discuss the latest developments in public service and management. SECOPA enhances the public service field in our region by allowing practitioners and researchers to exchange idea, develop professional behavior in the members, network professionals, nurture new practitioners, students, and academics, and develop leaders in the profession.
The conference had workshops, roundtables, panel discussions, and keynote speakers who addressed the conference attendees. As is common at conferences, the faculty members chose the events most relevant to them, individually. At the lunches on Thursday and Friday, the conference was addressed by speakers from both Charlotte and across the world. Thursday’s speaker was Sharon Allred Decker, Secretary of Commerce for North Carolina, who spoke about private-public partnerships and how they can revive local economies. On Friday, Dr. Bolatbek Abdrassilov, Rector of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of Kazakhstan addressed the lunch about the development of the Kazakh civil service reforms in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Of particular interest, he described how, under Communism, there was no concept of a non-party public administration. Now, Kazakhstan is trying to separate political parties from their bureaucracy to reduce corruption and improve government performance in ways similar to the US and European Union.
The MPA faculty also attended the workshops and sessions. They all attended a panel session on e-government which discussed how to involve citizens in government through the Internet for better public administration. Dr. Hatcher presented research examining the opinions held by municipal budget directors regarding the effectiveness of public participation in the budget process. Dr. Howell attended a panel where local officials explained how they developed measures of quality performance for city employees and connected employee performance to city goals. Dr. Beaty was particularly interested in Dr. Charles Goodsell’s panel discussion on his forthcoming book, A Case for Bureaucracy. Other panels ranged across topics such as local participation in the creation of city charters, the behavior of program managers developing new weapons for the US Military, and the influence of the local farm movement on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP –also known as Food Stamps).
The faculty were also able to meet with friends, former advisors and researchers from the southeast region to exchange ideas between panels and during the evening mixers. SECOPA is operated by several committees; members of the EKU MPA faculty serve on these committees. For example, Dr. Hatcher serves on the Finance Committee and will be in charge of getting the plaques for next year’s awards given to student, practitioners, andfaculty.s. Dr. Beaty serves on the Endowment Committee, which funds scholarships and awards for attendees. For the next three years, Dr. Beaty will also serve on the SECoPA Board of Directors. Dr. Howell is new at this, but has been asked to serve on the Communications Committee, which oversees the website and communications between conferences. EKU’s former faculty, Dr. Jo Ann Ewalt, is the incoming president of SECOPA.
The conference was successful, and the faculty brought back ideas and stories for their teaching, administration, and research.
Published on October 03, 2013