Roundtable: Joint APPAM/Naspaa Session: The Evolving Relationship Between Political Science and Public Administration
(Public and Non-Profit Management and Finance)

Thursday, November 6, 2014: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Fiesta 1 & 2 (Hyatt)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Roundtable Organizers:  Steven Rathgeb Smith, American Political Science Association
Moderators:  Steven Rathgeb Smith, American Political Science Association
Speakers:  Fran Berry, Florida State University, Lori Brainard, George Washington University, Paul Posner, George Mason University and Alasdair Roberts, Suffolk University

This roundtable will explore the evolving relationship between political science and public administration. It is a particularly opportune time to discuss this relationship: many scholars and policymakers around the world worry about the lack of citizen engagement in public policy and public services; the proliferation of nonprofit organizations offering public services has directly raised important concerns about democracy and citizen participation; many of the emergent performance management regimes for public and nonprofit agencies have relatively narrow performance targets; and governments around the world face threats to their legitimacy and effectiveness due to declining public trust and support. Moreover, the study of public administration within the context of political science has deep roots; indeed, leading political scientists of the early twentieth century including Woodrow Wilson, John Gaus, and Frank Goodnow were especially interested in public administration and issue of democratic control and effective administrative capacity. Nonetheless, a growing estrangement exists between political science and public administration, as evident by the separation between many PA programs and political science departments and the focus of PA on organizational management. The participation of PA scholars in the American Political Science Association is declining and many PA programs employ a diminishing number of political scientists. Many scholars worry about the lack of engagement by PA programs and researchers with the national state and urgent issues of democracy and representation—longstanding concerns of political science. This panel brings together individuals with diverse perspectives on this important topic with extensive research and administrative experience with public administration programs. They are also long-time participants in NASPAA and APPAM conferences. This roundtable theme is also an excellent fit with the joint conference programming of NASPAA and APPAM. Further, the APPAM conference theme, “Global Challenges, New Perspectives,” is a great fit with this roundtable since a persistent concern with PA is the need to provide students with the necessary skills to address urgent contemporary policy problems and issues. Thus, the roundtable will tackle curriculum issues for PA program, trends is academic associations pertaining to public administration and political science, and intellectual and research challenges relating to the intersection of PA and political science.