November 3, 2011

EMPA 2010 Cohort Visits Hanoi, Vietnam

Our Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) 2010 cohort is visiting Hanoi, Vietnam November 5-13. The members are preparing for an amazing experience focusing on political leadership challenges unique to Vietnam.

The weeklong program is incredibly eye opening as students explore the challenges and opportunities facing public administration and government organizations. These sessions quickly turn into dialogues for collaboration as the peers bond over shared experiences.

While in Hanoi, the CPS faculty utilize the EMERGE curriculum to present case studies on leadership development and public administration in Vietnam’s urban areas. This allows the students to gain a global viewpoint on public service and new perspectives on issues in their home communities.

Previous International Field Experiences have included visits to Lanzhou, China and Seoul, Korea.

EMPA is designed for forward-looking public and nonprofit professionals who have more than10 years experience successfully managing people, programs and organizational units, and our now ready to assume a role of advanced leadership.

June 22, 2011

Sustainable Tribal Forestry Seminar

Institute for Tribal GovernanceThis summer, CPS is happy to be working with the Institute for Tribal Government (ITG) and Ecotrust to present a seminar on Sustainable Tribal Forestry. This partnership strengthens PSU’s commitment to sustainable development and community leadership. The ITG strives (among other goals) to provide tribal leaders with the tools necessary to effectively manage their natural resources. The upcoming Sustainable Tribal Forestry Seminar (August 8-11) will be conducted with this ambition in mind. Main themes of the seminar will include: how to utilize forest carbon credits, new market tax credits, forest stewardship council certification, and holistic watershed restoration strategies. Tribal leaders and staff are invited to register now. Continue reading

June 22, 2011

New Energy Economy Summer Series

Wind turbineIn response to the needs and desires of local public agencies and energy organizations, CPS Adjunct Assistant Professor Jeff Hammarlund is coordinating with other faculty and industry experts to offer a series of two- and three-day workshops over the summer focused on what we are calling the “New Energy Economy.” Workshops will focus on using a systems approach to analyzing and understanding the complexities of the electric energy system; new and evolving business models for the energy industry; climate change and its effect on business as well as policy; project and program management for energy efficiency professionals; and the smart grid and sustainable energy systems.

Details and Registration Information

Continue reading

June 22, 2011

New at CPS: Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit and Public Management

The Institute for Nonprofit Management and Center for Public Service at Portland State University are pleased to announce a new Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit and Public Management. Currently known as the Graduate Certificate in Public Management, the expanded program represents a new initiative joining our robust collection of nonprofit programs with the public management offerings at the Center for Public Service. This summer we are recruiting our first cohort of students with an emphasis on nonprofit management. Applications are due July 31.  Continue reading

June 22, 2011

Letter from the Director – Summer 2011

Photo of Phil Keisling, Director, Center for Public Service

Phil Keisling, Director, Center for Public Service

In these challenging times, certain phrases seem increasingly common in discussions about the public sector — e.g, “outcomes-based budgeting”; “performance measurement,” “lean management” and “government transformation.”

But how well do public administration scholars and practitioners understand some of the subtle but often powerful differences between such core concepts as “management” and “leadership”; “outputs” and “outcomes”; and program “efficiency” and “effectiveness”? What insights can the latest academic research provide to practitioners wrestling with these concepts on a regular basis? And in return, how can and should the work and experience of practitioners best inform future scholarship and inquiry?

These and related questions will be center stage this October 1-2 as Portland State University and our Center for Public Service plays host to the Second International Conference on Government Performance Management and Leadership. And I’d like to personally invite elected officials and leaders in local, state, federal, and tribal governments throughout the Northwest to be part of this important gathering.

Through generous donations from the community, we’re able to offer a reduced registration rate for those interested in observing the conference presentations and having a chance to learn from – and compare notes with – more than 120 scholars and practitioners from around the world. Conference co-sponsors include China’s Lanzhou University; Japan’s Waseda University; Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh Academy of National Politics and Public Administration; and Rutgers University and its Public Performance Measurement and Reporting Network.

The theme of this year’s conference – “Innovations Toward Sustainable Solutions” – is also especially timely and relevant. We’re also viewing the conference as another key milestone in the Center for Public Service’s evolving mission to better connect scholars and students with the needs of real world practitioners.

Your participation will help inform that important work – and hopefully will give you new ideas and perspectives on how these challenges aren’t just unique to our communities. I hope you will be able to join us.

More details about the conference and how to register can be found at

June 20, 2011

International Spotlight: Japan

2009 cohort engaging in group discussion, facilitated by Professor Nishishiba

2009 cohort engaging in group discussion, facilitated by Professor Nishishiba

The Tokyo Foundation and the Center for Public Service at PSU’s Hatfield School of Government have jointly developed a specialized professional development training program for Japanese municipal government managers. This program is designed to prepare local government managers in Japan for the increased responsibility placed upon them as a result of a major initiative to decentralize governing responsibility in Japan. Since 2004, a talented group of municipal managers from around Japan are appointed by their mayor to partake in this educational experience.

Continue reading

June 15, 2011

Announcing 2011-2012 Executive Seminar Program Case Studies!

The Executive Seminar Program is a professional education program for mid-career managers and senior staff in public, private, tribal and non-profit organizations. This program uses live case studies of controversial natural resource issues as a focal point for leadership development.  Each seminar reconstructs the natural resource policy controversy by visiting the site of the issue, reviewing background materials and meeting with the decisive players in the conflict. Through study of these cases, participants come to understand the complex social, legal and political context of today’s environmental and natural resource problems. They can then identify improved approaches, learn effective techniques, and develop greater ability to lead in the policy context natural resource managers face.

The case studies for the 2011-2012 program year are:

  • Wolf Management in Oregon: October 24-28, 2011 (La Grande & Enterprise, OR)
  • Allocating Oregon’s Near Shore for Marine Reserves and Wave Energy Projects: February 27 – March 2, 2012 (Newport, OR)
  • Aquatic Invasive Species Management: April 30 – May 4, 2012 (Lake Mead, NV)

A two-day program wrap up will take place on June 7-8, 2012, on the Portland State Campus.

Continue reading

April 11, 2011

Did you know? CPS is going social.

Stay up to date with all the exciting happenings here at the Center for Public Service! Join the conversation about public policy, sustainable development, collaborative governance, and more! Tell us what we can do for you!

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April 8, 2011

Performance Management & Leadership: International Conference Oct. 1-2, 2011

The Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University is pleased to announce our 2nd International Conference on Government Performance, Management, and Leadership. Working in tandem with the School of Management at Lanzhou University in China, the conference has been designed to focus on government innovations that foster institutional trust and accountability, while promoting sustainable solutions. The partnership between the two schools, beginning in June of 2006, has led to greater educational cooperation and exciting research advances regarding public performance management. Other conference cosponsors include: Japan’s Waseda University, Rutgers University, and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh National Academy for Politics and Public Administration.

The conference will convene from October 1st – 2nd of 2011 with a full speaking schedule of leading scholars and practitioners in the field of performance management. The Hatfield School of Government has issued a corresponding call for papers on themes of importance to conference sponsors. These include: initiatives that integrate “management” and “leadership” innovations as related concepts, growth models which promote sustainable development, and creative strategies for addressing institutional trust and accountability. We hope that both attendees and presenters will consider submitting papers in order to ensure a more diverse and accessible marketplace of ideas. Please note that the submission deadline for abstracts is April 30th, 2011. For registration forms and other information, please visit

Whether you are a scholar in the field, a practitioner, or simply an attendee, the Conference provides an excellent opportunity to learn, share and engage in dialogue with others on developing new approaches to performance management that provide sustainability for future generations without sacrificing the stability of present ones. We hope that you will join with the Hatfield School of Government and its partners to chart a new course in performance management and leadership. See you at the conference!

March 15, 2011

Executive MPA Field Experience

Public Service Leadership at Home and Abroad

Executive MPA students in Seoul, Korea

Executive MPA students and faculty present a PSU banner to the city of Seoul, Korea, as a symbol of mutual respect and cooperation.

One of the distinct features of Portland State University’s Executive Masters in Public Administration Program is the Field Experience component. Field experiences can take place around the country and across the globe, exposing students to a variety of public service philosophies and practices.

In the fall of 2009, our first cohort’s field experience took them to Lanzhou, China, where they participated in the first annual international conference on Government Performance Management and Leadership. For the fall of 2010, a dozen members of the 2009 Cohort were hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) and the University of Seoul in South Korea to learn more about the policy and administrative challenges faced by one of the fastest growing cities in the world.  The students were challenged to compare and contrast policies and administrative initiatives being implemented in Seoul with those in the U.S.

“Our Korean field trip was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that brings home the fact that public administrators across the world face similar problems. To my surprise other countries can be far more advanced in finding creative solutions to our common problems than is the case here in the United States.”
— Chris Gibson, Executive Director, OR High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program

Other 2009 Cohort members went to Washington D.C. as part of their field experience, and met with high level government leaders who play critical roles on the federal stage both for the State of Oregon and the national government. In addition to obtaining a “hands-on understanding” of how our national governing institutions work in practice, participants gained an appreciation for today’s leaders in Washington who endeavor to fulfill their agencies’ responsibilities while being challenged to cut costs and be more innovative.

Executive MPA students in Washington, DC

Members of the 2009 cohort visited Washington, DC in December 2010 to learn about the national policy process.

“The Washington D.C. Field Trip was a mind-changing experience.  For the first time I came to fully understand and appreciate the reasons for the complexity of our system of separation of powers, checks and balances and federal system of government.”
— Scott Weninger, Deputy Chief, Operations Division, Clackamas Fire District #1

The 2010 Cohort members are planning on a field trip to Vietnam this fall, with special focus on the leadership development work CPS faculty members have been undertaking in partnership with the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Public Administration (HCMA).  As with previous Executive MPA cohort members, the 2010 group will play an important role in the ongoing development and evaluation of the sustainable leadership framework and curriculum that is unique to the partnership between the Hatfield School of Government and HCMA.

For more information about the Executive Masters Degree in Public Administration, visit


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