Category Archives: Newsletter

New Energy Economy

Depiction of Energy GridBeyond the Smart Grid: Partnerships for Sustainable Communities

We all certainly know what America’s “Old Energy Economy” looks like; it’s (still) everywhere around us.

More than 90% of the U.S. transportation sector now relies on petroleum products like gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Most of this oil comes from foreign sources, including many autocratic and unstable regimes. Meanwhile, our U.S. domestic oil production is increasingly coming from environmentally sensitive and even risky locales such as deep-water wells in the Gulf of Mexico.

For electricity, most American consumers rely on coal, natural gas, or even nuclear power. Here in the Northwest, we’re fortunate to derive most of our electric power from an “old renewable” source: hydroelectricity. But even that has its challenges, reflected in the environmental challenges of dams and long-running issues over endangered species such as salmon.

So what would a “New Energy Economy” look like – and what will it take to get us there?

Across many divisions and disciplines, including the Center for Public Service, faculty and students at PSU have been exploring how we might redesign existing courses and develop new ones that will help answer these questions – and prepare the energy industry and society for this new energy economy.  In March, CPS will offer its fourth “Smart Grid” related course, with a particular focus on the intricacies of effective policy within the context of the state’s Public Utility Commission recent investigation involving Smart Grid initiatives and plans. Beginning in June, the Hatfield Summer Institute will likely feature additional courses designed and offered with other PSU partners such as the School of Engineering and the School of Business.

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Introduction to Collaborative Governance

Photo from Collaborative Government Workshop

Participants work together on real-time, practical issues.

Learn to Tackle Tough Issues Together

The creation of sustainable solutions for complex public issues is increasingly dependent on assuring meaningful public involvement and the establishment of effective collaborative partnerships with public, private, and civic stakeholders. To increase their effectiveness, the public and government institutions tasked with addressing these difficult issues are shifting toward integrating more collaborative problem solving approaches. President Obama’s Memorandum on “Transparency and Open Government” has called on Federal Agencies to be more open, transparent, and collaborative in carrying out their missions. (January, 2009)  Until now, public sector employees wanting to utilize these new governance models have been challenged by their lack of experience in applying successful collaboration problem solving approaches and the lack of training programs to teach the skills essential to effective collaboration.

The next workshop will take place  May 9-13, 2011.  Register by April 15 for the earlybird rate of $1300, or after April 15 for $1450.  Registration details are online at:

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Call for Papers: 2nd Annual Conference on Government Performance Management and Leadership

Photo of Hatfield School Director Ron Tammen

Dr. Ron Tammen, Director, Hatfield School of Government, presents at the 1st Conference on Government Performance Management & Leadership in Lanzhou, China (2009).

The Center for Public Service is currently accepting paper submissions from academic scholars, practitioners, and students exploring the topics of public sector performance management, leadership and governance in local, national, and international contexts.  Abstracts are due April 30, 2011. Portland State University’s Mark O. Hatfield School of Government and its Center for Public Service (CPS) will host the “Second International Conference on Government Performance Management and Leadership” on October 1-2, 2011.  Full details are available online at

The theme of this year’s conference – Innovations Toward Sustainable Solutions – is especially apt and timely. The research and leadership of PSU faculty and students – and the innovative policies and practices of a wide range of public and non-profit organizations in the area – have helped forge Portland’s international reputation as a leading urban laboratory for sustainable development efforts. Such initiatives focus on improving the economic, environmental, and social health of people and their communities. Continue reading

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Executive Masters in Public Administration: Now Recruiting for Fall 2011

Now Recruiting for Fall 2011 Cohort

Photo of EMPA class of 2010

EMPA Class of 2010

In June 2010, the 2008 Cohort marched through the hooding ceremony as well as PSU’s largest commencement in history and received distinction as the first Executive MPA graduating class from the Hatfield School of Government. And not too far behind is the 2009 Cohort, which will be graduating this coming spring.

The EMPA Program is offered by the Public Administration Division through the Center for Public Service (CPS) within the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government (SOG) and is the only graduate degree program of its kind located in the Oregon/SW Washington area. This is a highly competitive program, with admission limited to approximately 25 participants each year.  The Public Administration Division is now actively recruiting candidates for the 2011 Cohort, starting in September 2011.  Continue reading

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Oregon Fellowships: Grab a Grad Student for the Summer

What If?

What if you could enlist the intelligence, fresh ideas, and energy of a really exceptional graduate student from one of the nation’s top universities to perform an analysis, complete a project, or work on a problem currently facing your organization? For about $18 an hour, we can provide you just such an individual for 10 weeks of work this coming summer.

Oregon Fellows are comprised of diverse, national-class talent. Most come from universities listed in U.S. News and World Report’s 2010 ranking of America’s best graduate schools in public affairs, business, industrial engineering, information technology and other disciplines relevant to government and non-for-profit organizations. Continue reading

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New Leadership Curriculum EMERGEs at CPS

Collaborating with Vietnam for Sustainable Leadership

Photo - CPS Visits Vietnam

Mr. Dang Nguyen, Dr. Kristen Magis, MPA student Sarah Royall, and Dr. Marcus Ingle at the Ho Chi Minh Academy

This year, the Center for Public Service launched a major public leadership reform program, the result of collaboration between the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Public Administration (HCMA) in Hanoi and PSU’s Hatfield School of Government. This co-produced initiative provides a living laboratory for pioneering a world class leadership program, with the purpose of enhancing robust growth while reversing widespread social disparity and environmental degradation – in both Vietnam and in the United States. This purpose is being actualized through application of the EMERGE Solutions-Seeking Framework, a first-of-its-kind public leadership curriculum, which is accompanied by an active learning pedagogy.  The EMERGE leadership framework and curriculum can be readily adapted for application in different public sector contexts both locally and globally. Continue reading

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Letter from the Director

Introducing the Center for Public Service

Photo of Phil Keisling, Director, Center for Public Service

Phil Keisling, Director, Center for Public Service

In December 1862, President Abraham Lincoln could hardly know the American Civil War would last for another two and half brutalizing years. But he keenly understood that the world he and his fellow citizens had so recently known would never again be the same.

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present,” Lincoln observed in his annual address to Congress. “The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves — and then we shall save our country.”

Lincoln’s quote is a timely reminder that however daunting our current difficulties – double digit unemployment, looming budget deficits, our increasingly dysfunctional politics – these are hardly the “worst of times” our citizens have lived through. And these times will eventually pass.

The real issue is whether we will merely endure our current challenges – or prevail against and truly transcend them. Will we be able to think anew, much less act anew? Will we prove able to “disenthrall ourselves” of old and stale thinking – and bring new energy, thinking, and talent to bear on the many “wicked problems” we now face?

Here at the Center for Public Service, at PSU’s Mark O. Hatfield School of Government, it’s our mission to help public and non-profit leaders find good answers and practical solutions to such questions. And as we describe in more detail in this newsletter, CPS offers a wide range of programs towards this end. Continue reading

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