At the conclusion of its eighty-third annual conference last week, Allan Rosenbaum, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Public Policy and Administration, assumed the Presidency of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) for the next two years.
Rosenbaum, who first served as President of ASPA six years ago, becomes the third person in the organization’s eighty-three year history to have been selected to lead it for a second time.
Previous individuals so recognized were University of Chicago Professor Louis Brownlow, who was responsible for major government reorganization under President Franklin Roosevelt, and Luther Gulick, a Columbia University Professor who in the mid-1950s was the only person ever to serve as city manager of New York City.
With 10,000 members, both academics and senior national, state and local government managers and officials, ASPA is the world’s largest professional association devoted to advancing the discipline of public administration and the cause of effective, accountable and ethical government performance. Its annual conference, organized this year via zoom, and participated in by 2000 of the organization’s members, is typically the largest annual conference in the world focused upon improving the quality of research about and practice in the area of government effectiveness and public service delivery.
In his inaugural remarks Rosenbaum pledged to continue ASPA’s long standing commitment to both building inclusive and responsive government and the professional development of those who work at senior levels in the public and not for profit sectors. However, he noted that not since the founding of the organization, in 1939, had the status of American democracy been so severely challenged or political polarization been so intense as is currently the case. In light of these circumstances, it was critically important that the organization continue and expand its efforts at promoting the highest quality of research about and education for government service.
However, he added that it was also critical that it engage far more vigorously in the advocacy of policies designed to strengthen the basic foundations of American democracy. Towards this end, Rosenbaum indicated that he would shortly present to the organization’s governing body major policy initiatives in support of post- high school national service for all American youth, as well as the establishment, in conjunction with the nation’s state governments, of a national program for the strengthening of civic education. The latter initiative would be administered through the establishment of a national museum of public service and democracy in Washington with extensive programmatic outreach to the fifty states.
Rosenbaum acknowledged that these initiatives were obviously beyond the capacity of any single group but if a strong and effective coalition of the nation’s many public interest organizations could be created, these were realistic objectives. He pledged that over the next two years he would work to make this happen while at the same time continuing the organization’s traditional work in improving the research, education and practice in the area of public management and government administration.
Allan Rosenbaum is Distinguished University Professor of Public Policy and Administration and Director of the Institute for Public Management and Community Service and the Center for Democracy and Good Governance at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, Florida. He is the national President of the 10,000 member American Society for Public Administration in Washington DC and will serve as such till Spring 2023. He is also Chairperson of the Accreditation Commission of the International Commission on the Accreditation of Public Administration Education and Training Programs based in Brussels, Belgium. He is the author or co-author of over 100 articles appearing in scholarly journals or various news media and editor, co-editor or author of over two dozen books or scholarly monographs.
Rosenbaum came to FIU as Dean of the School of Public Affairs. Prior to that, he was on the faculties of the Universities of Maryland, Connecticut and Wisconsin, Madison and held a research position in the urban studies center at the University of Chicago. He has worked in senior level positions in national, state and local government in the United States and has carried out many international projects for the United Nations, the US Agency for International Development, the World Bank, the Swedish International Development Agency and various governments around the world.
He is a past President of the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration in Brussels, Belgium. He has been Visiting Distinguished Professor at several universities in Europe and China, currently serves on numerous journal editorial boards and is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. Based on nomination by the Secretary General of the United Nations and approval by its Economic and Social Council, he was a member of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Public Administration from 2014 to 2018.
Before coming to FIU, Professor Rosenbaum was actively involved in research and consulting activities with national, state and local government in the United States in the areas of higher education, employment and training policy, economic development, elementary and secondary education, social welfare and science and technology policy. More recently, he has written on governance reform, decentralization issues and legislative relations in many countries around the world. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his work on the strengthening of democratic governance and effective public administration in many parts of the world, including lifetime achievement awards for his efforts in this regard by the two principal Latin American associations of local governments and the main world-wide scholarly association in the field of public administration.