Partnership will help KU become research center on future of city management

Mon, 08/22/2011


Kristi Henderson

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LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas’ top-ranked School of Public Affairs and Administration is uniting with one of the nation’s leading providers of governmental services in a partnership that is aimed at transforming the education of local government leaders.

The partnership with Denver-based CH2M HILL will help the School of Public Affairs and Administration establish itself as a center of research and discussion on the future of city management, and it will help the company enhance services to its many local government clients. CH2M HILL provides a broad range of consulting, engineering, construction and operations services to clients in local government. The collaboration will focus on three areas:

- Educating emerging local government leaders in new strategies for service delivery.
- Developing leaders and collaborative capacity in local government organizations.
- Conducting research on excellence in public-private collaboration.

CH2M HILL will fund competitive grants for faculty research projects, an educational workshop, an internship in city and county leadership for a student in the KU master’s of public administration program, and webinars for current KU students and the university’s extensive alumni network.

A particular emphasis of the KU-CH2M HILL partnership will address the concept of effective outsourcing of local government services or securing outside expertise to provide cost-effective solutions through public-private partnerships, which allows local government leaders and managers to focus on the vision and strategy that propels communities forward.

KU public administration faculty have identified a shift in the field of local government from “government” to “governance.” In this emerging model, city and county leaders are moving from a focus on the management of a local government organization to a broader view of facilitating community development across a number of governmental, quasi-governmental, non-profit and private-sector organizations.

“In our view, there is a major shift in the local government profession,” said Marilu Goodyear, director of the School of Public Affairs and Administration. “Our goal is to become a leading academic resource on collaborative public-private partnerships at the local level and to give our graduates working knowledge of the cutting edge in public administration.”

The 2012 workshop, which will focus on public-private collaboration, will provide an outlet for dialogue about this change with an even broader audience. Attendees will include researchers and local government practitioners. Details about the workshop will be announced this fall.

The research grants also will be targeted toward work focusing on public-private collaboration and partnerships.

For CH2M HILL, the partnership will not only enhance the education of current and future municipal leaders, it also will serve as a catalyst to develop new and better ways to serve the company’s many local government clients.

“We’re thrilled to be working with KU’s premier program to help build a better understanding of the benefits of public-private collaboration and to share the best practices we’ve developed over the past 30 years of working with local government,” says Elisa M. Speranza, President of CH2M HILL’s Operations and Maintenance Business Group. “In our ongoing quest to deliver critical services to communities and their citizens, we look forward to identifying and pursuing new and innovative solutions through our collaboration with KU, its students and its alumni.”

The KU School of Public Affairs and Administration is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Its Edwin O. Stene Master’s Program in Public Administration is one of the oldest and most respected programs in the United States, with a local government leadership program dating to 1948. This tradition of excellence in educating students at the masters’ level has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report (2008) with a No. 7 ranking overall in Public Administration and a No. 1 ranking among public affairs programs in city management and urban policy. Visit KU Public Affairs.

Headquartered near Denver, employee-owned CH2M HILL is a global leader in consulting, design, design-build, operations, and program management for government, civil, industrial and energy clients. The firm’s work is concentrated in the areas of water, transportation, environmental, energy, facilities and resources. With $6.3 billion in revenue and 23,000 employees, CH2M HILL is an industry-leading program management, construction management and design firm, as ranked by Engineering News-Record and named a leader in sustainable engineering by Verdantix. The firm has been named five times among FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. The firm’s innovation in public-private partnerships has been recognized by the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships and The United States Conference of Mayors.

Mon, 08/22/2011


Kristi Henderson

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Kristi Henderson

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences