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Distinguished professor of public administration to deliver inaugural lecture

Monday, April 20, 2015

LAWRENCE — Rosemary O’Leary, Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor of Public Administration at the University of Kansas, will present her inaugural lecture at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, in the Kansas Room of the Kansas Union. She will present “Public Administration and the Separation of Powers: Courts, Career Public Servants and Collaboration.” The presentation will review three aspects of her research:

  • the effect of courts on public programs and organizations, 
  • career public servants who disobey the wishes of their superiors in order to do the right thing, and
  • the challenges of 21st century collaborative governance.

O'Leary’s areas of expertise are public management, collaboration, conflict resolution, environmental and natural resources management, and public law. She is the author or editor of 11 books and more than 100 articles and book chapters on public management. O’Leary has won 11 national research awards and nine teaching awards. She is the 2014 winner of the Dwight Waldo award, given by the American Society for Public Administration for "persons who have made outstanding contributions to the professional literature of public administration over an extended career." She is the only person to win three National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration awards; for Best Dissertation in 1989, for Excellence in Teaching in 1996, and for Distinguished Research in 2004. An elected member of the National Academy of Public Administration, O’Leary was a senior Fulbright scholar in Malaysia and in the Philippines. In 2014 she was an Ian Axford Public Policy Scholar in New Zealand.

From 2003 to 2005 O’Leary was a member of the NASA’s Return to Flight Task Group assembled in response to the Columbia space shuttle accident. She also has served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the International City/County Management Association, the National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences. Her current research is on collaboration as a management and leadership strategy.

O’Leary, a KU alumna, joined the School of Public Affairs & Administration in 2013 after a 24-year career teaching at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Bloomington. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature in 1978, a juris doctor in 1981 and a master’s of public administration in 1982, all from KU. She earned her doctorate from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse in 1988.


Ruth DeWitt, Communications Manager
KU School of Public Affairs and Administration
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