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Kevin Campbell, First Frederickson Fellow, shares his experience

Monday, March 30, 2015

The School of Public Affairs and Administration announced a new doctoral fellowship in honor of Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Dr. H. George Frederickson, in January 2014. The award is based on a research statement submitted as part of the application. The award includes tuition, fees and an annual stipend of $20,000, along with the opportunity to work with senior faculty in the School.

We wanted to take the opportunity to check in with the first Frederickson Fellow (pictured below with Dr. Frederickson) now that he is in his second semester of study and ask him to share his experiences.


Q: You are the first Frederickson Fellow. How does that feel?

A: It feels a little intimidating... Dr. Frederickson's long list of accomplishments and reputation within the field are inspiring and a worthy goal for anyone to aspire towards. When I received word of the award (along with my acceptance to the PhD program) I was surprised more than anything. I feel lucky to be here.



Q: Give us a little background on your education and professional experience.

A: I served in several positions within the City of Portland, Oregon government. My last job was a senior management analyst on a large regional program to replace a public safety digital communications network. Before that I was an operations supervisor for a division responsible for implementation and maintenance of the City's enterprise business network. I was also working in Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. I was a generalist in all those jobs - sometimes a generalist among specialists - handling things like budgets, contracts, HR, and so forth. I have an executive MPA from Portland State and a BA in Russian and Japanese studies from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

Q: What do you think most prepared you for the School’s doctoral program?

A: I am not sure anything can prepare you for a doctoral program. I was inspired to pursue a PhD by my work with several faculty members in Portland State University's MPA program. They do interesting research and also help train and inspire future public administrators. I realized I would like to do that, as well.

Q: Why did you choose the School’s doctoral program?

A: The program's deep grounding in public administration theory, the opportunity for a specialization in law and public administration, and the opportunity for close interaction and work with faculty members.

Q: What have you absorbed in your first months in the doctoral program?

A: I'll let you know how much I've absorbed after I pass my comprehensive exams. At the moment, I am immersed in the intellectual history of public administration, organizational theory, and street level bureaucracy. I learn new things every day. I am particularly excited about the way in which systematic, scientific research can be used in innovative ways to solve complex, persistent theoretical and practical problems.

Q: What faculty member are you most excited to work with, and why?

A: I am grateful to the entire faculty. Everyone has been generous with their time and knowledge. Rosemary O'Leary has been an inspiration. I've been working with her as a GRA and GTA. We have an article and several research projects in progress. Her counsel about the PhD, the academic profession, and teaching is invaluable. I am excited to be in Steven Maynard-Moody's Street Level Bureaucracy seminar this semester. I still have more coursework and research ahead of me and I look forward to all of it.

Q: What is your primary area of research interest while in the doctoral program and after graduation?

A: My specific research interests are still evolving. In general, I am interested in law and public administration, the constitutional foundations of administration, public sector human resources, especially the legal component of HR, and, generally, the theoretical foundations of public administration. I want to pursue a career in academic research and teaching after completing the doctoral program.

Q: Is there anything else we should know?

A: ​Thank you to the School, the faculty, and the staff! Kansas offers a great PhD program that is clearly valued and respected within the profession. The Frederickson Fellowship affords a unique opportunity to work with a talented, committed faculty. I appreciate this opportunity immensely.


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