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Collaboration Research / CH2M HILL Partnership

Collaboration: A Public Sector Imperative

CH2M HILL Partnership

In 2011, CH2M HILL and the School of Public Affairs and Administration established a partnership focused on three areas:

  • Educate emerging local government leaders in new strategies for the delivery of services.
  • Develop leaders and collaborative capacity in local government organizations.
  • Conduct research on excellence in public-private collaboration.

The partnership has yielded education programs, internships and research.

Education Programs

Through the partnership, CH2M HILL has funded two conference presentations:

  • “Imagining Innovations of the Future,” presented at the Transforming Local Government Pre-conference in Kansas City, Missouri on April 17, 2012.
  • “Collaboration to Create Metrics for Long-term Sustainable Communities,” presented at the Transforming Local Government Pre-conference in Denver, Colorado on April 22, 2014.


Nijah Fudge was an intern with CH2M HILL as a part of her KU MPA school work. For the two years after graduation, she continued to work with CH2M HILL.
Bio: Nijah Fudge is a graduate from the University of Kansas’ top-ranked Master of Public Administration program in the School of Public Affairs and Administration. In 2012, she became the first KU intern to join CH2M HILL under the KU-CH2M HILL partnership, designed to help new graduates learn more about providing cost-effective solutions through public-private partnerships. She served as Marketing Specialist in Operations Management Services, assisting with client relationship building, conferences and public-private partnership management. She also served as a Denver Ambassador for the CH2M HILL Black Employee Network Group, Harmabee, and was an active member of the Women’s Network Denver chapter.



Linking Efforts to Outcomes: The Development of Weights for Local Sustainability Actions
Funded by the CH2M HILL KU Partnership on Collaboration ($18,000)
Co-Principal Investigators: Rachel M. Krause (University of Kansas), Richard C. Feiock (Florida State University), and Christopher V. Hawkins (University of Central Florida).

A Longitudinal Analysis of Community Collaboration and Sustainability: Evidence from the All-America City Awards
Funded by the CH2M HILL KU Partnership on Collaboration ($7,000)
Principal Investigator: Heather Getha‐Taylor; Faculty Researcher: John C. Pierce; Doctoral Research Assistant: Jeannette Blackmar


The faculty and doctoral students of the School of Public Affairs and Administration are active researchers in collaboration. Here is a list of selective publications by research topic:

Collaboration General Views

John Nalbandian, Robert O’Neill, Jr., J. Michael Wilkes, and Amanda Kaufman. (2013). Contemporary Challenges in Local Government: Evolving Roles and Responsibilities, Structures, and Processes. Public Administration Review. 73 (4): 567-574. Contemporary challenges in local government make collaboration within and between jurisdictions and intergovernmentally an imperative not an option for effective governance.

Rosemary O’Leary and Lisa Blomgren Bingham, editors. (2009) The Collaborative Public Manager. Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

Lisa Blomgren Bingham and Rosemary O’Leary, editors. (2008) Big Ideas in Collaborative Public Management. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.

Collaborative Competencies and Skills

Heather Getha-Taylor and Ricardo Morse (2013). Collaborative Leadership Development for Local Government Officials: Exploring Competencies and Program Impact. Public Administration Quarterly. 37(1); 72-102. Local government leadership program content should specifically address collaboration competency development and the training evaluation strategy should allow for processing and reflection: immediate reaction surveys should be supplemented with a long-term evaluation strategy.
Available at: http://www.spaef.com/articleArchives.php?journal=PAQ

Rosemary O’Leary and Catherine Gerard. (2013). Collaborative Governance and Leadership: A 2012 Survey of Local Government Collaboration.” 2013 The ICMA Municipal Year Book. Washington, D. C.: International City and County Management Association.

Rosemary O'Leary, Yujin Choi, and Catherine Gerard. (2012). The skill set of the successful collaborator. Public Administration Review 72 (1); 70-83. Using federal employees of the Senior Executive Service, the researchers found that in relation to collaborative skill sets federal executives most frequently mentioned individual attributes and interpersonal skills as essential for successful collaboration, followed by group process skills, strategic leadership skills, and substantive/technical expertise.
Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-6210.2012.02667.x/abstract

Heather Getha-Taylor (2008). Identifying Collaborative Competencies. Review of Public Personnel Administration. 28(2); 103-119. Using federal employees as the sample, this article identifies three competencies that differentiate exemplary collaborators:  interpersonal understanding, teamwork and cooperation, and team leadership.
Available at: http://rop.sagepub.com/content/28/2.toc

Informal Accountability and Collaboration

From Contracting to Collaboration: Forming Partnerships for Multiple Services
Barbara Romzek and Marilu Goodyear. Presented at the Imagining Innovations of the Future Pre-conference at the Transforming Local Government Conference in Kansas City, Missouri on April 17, 2012. Using the City of Centennial, Colorado the researchers found that evidence of informal accountability mechanisms in the relationship between the city and its contractor partners.

Jurisdiction and Collaboration

H. George Frederickson. (2000) The Repositioning of American Public Administration. P.S. Political Science. 60 (1): 701-711. This article sets out a theory of “organizational conciliation” to account for increasing levels of interjurisdictional coordination and cooperation.

H. George Frederickson. (2005) Transcending the City: Local Government Leadership in a World of Shared Power. Public Management (PM), 8-15. Public administration is changed to the management of linked jurisdictions and extended chains or networks of third party service providers. Jurisdictional authority is being replaced by the direction of interpersonal and intergovernmental processes. Information is replacing authority as the centerpiece of public administration.

Leadership and Collaboration

Heather Getha-Taylor, Chris Silvia, and Scott Simmerman (2014). Individuality and Integration: Observing Leadership Styles in Team Collaboration. The Public Manager. Using simulation techniques, the research found that in collaborative settings there is a "me versus we" tension where challengers prioritized integration with the group, and in doing so, they diluted their individual strengths. Individuality is seen as necessary for cooperation, and what may be seen as a paradox, is actually a set of complements.
Available at: http://www.astd.org/Publications/Magazines/The-Public-Manager/Archives/2014/Summer/Individuality-Integration-Leadership-Styles-in-Team-Collaboration?mktcops=c.govt%7ec.human-capital%7ec.sr-leader%7ec.mgmt&mktcois=c.leadership-development%7ec.management-development%7ec.engagement

Motivation and Collaboration Attitudes

Heather Getha-Taylor and Alexa Haddock-Bigwarfe (2014). Public Service Motivation and Willingness to Collaborate: An Examination in the Context of Homeland Security. Evidence-Based Human Resource Management. 2(1); 80-95. Using a sample of state homeland security actors, the research found strong positive relationships between public service motivation measures and attitudes toward collaboration at the individual and organizational level.
Available at: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/toc/ebhrm/2/1

Organizational Learning and Collaboration

Heather Getha-Taylor (2008). Learning Indicators and Collaborative Capacity: Applying Action Learning Principles to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Public Administration Quarterly. 32(2); 125-146. This article explores the connection between organizational learning and collaborative capacity and finds that employees in the Department of Homeland Security lag behind their counterparts on one key measure of organizational learning: the ability to assess performance gaps.
Available at: http://www.spaef.com/article/17/Learning-Indicators-And-Collaborative-Capacity:-Applying-Action-Learning-Principles-to-the-U.S.-Department-of-Homeland-Security-

Public-Private Partnerships

Listen to a 2012 podcast that summarizes some of this research on the American City and County website: http://americancityandcounty.com/privatization-amp-outsourcing/create-successful-ppps

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Ranked in the top 10 master of public affairs programs in the nation
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#1 in the nation for city management and urban policy

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#5 in the nation for public management

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Three faculty have won W.T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence
Rosemary O’Leary is KU’s Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor of Public Administration
Four MPA graduates have been elected president of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
Founder of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (JPART)
Four faculty are National Academy of Public Administration Fellows
Bob Kipp, vice president of Hallmark Cards, was a 2012 recipient of the CLAS Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award
Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. secretary of health and human services, was a 2009 recipient of the CLAS Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award
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