KU professor to receive prestigious public affairs research award

Fri, 03/14/2014

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Alecia Gray
School of Public Affairs and Administration
785-296-2353

LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas School of Public Affairs and Administration professor will receive one of the most prestigious awards from the American Society for Public Administration for her career contributions to the field.

The ASPA will present the Dwight Waldo Award to Rosemary O’Leary, KU’s Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor in Public Administration, at its annual conference Saturday, March 15, in Washington, D.C. It is awarded to a scholar who has made outstanding contributions to the professional literature of public administration over an extended career. Waldo is renowned as a public affairs scholar, author and consultant. She previously taught at the University of California-Berkeley and Syracuse University.

“Dwight Waldo’s scholarship and thinking have always captivated my interest,” said O’Leary, whose research focuses on public management, collaboration, conflict resolution, environmental and natural resources management and public law. “He is, in my view, one of the deepest thinkers in the history of our field, and I am honored to receive this award named for him.”

To be eligible a nominee must have at least one article published in “Public Administration Review,” the journal for which Waldo served as editor-in-chief for many years, and a minimum of 25 years of active scholarship that has furthered the discipline of public administration.

Robert Durant, a public affairs professor at American University who received the Waldo award in 2012, nominated O’Leary for the 2014 award. 

O’Leary has written or edited 11 books and more than 100 articles and book chapters in public management. She is the only person to win three National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration awards for Best Dissertation (1989), Excellence in Teaching (1996) and Distinguished Research (2004). As part of her diverse career, she has served as a senior Fulbright scholar in Malaysia and the Philippines, and from 2003 to 2005 she was a member of NASA’s Return to Flight Task Group assembled in response to the Columbia space shuttle accident. Her current research focuses on collaboration as a management and leadership strategy.

She is also currently a 2014 Ian Axford Fellow in Public Policy, which is designed to give outstanding American professionals the opportunity to research, travel and gain practical experience in public policy in New Zealand.

“Dr. O’Leary has made substantial contributions to the research and application of collaborative leadership in the public sector,” said Marilu Goodyear, director of the School of Public Affairs & Administration. “This award recognizes that impact not only of scholarship but on the ability of public servants to solve the real world problems of today’s society.”

O’Leary said regarding the Waldo award she felt fortunate when she was a graduate student to have met Waldo and spend a day with him, and she credits his scholarship for helping inspire her to enter the field of public administration.

H. George Frederickson, who first earned the Stene Distinguished Professorship at KU in 1987 and in 2013 retired as the Distinguished Professor Emeritus, received the Waldo award in 1992.



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