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 http://www.lanzhou-hatfield.pdx.edu/2011-conference.

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