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Rosemary O'Leary

Director, School of Public Affairs and Administration
Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor
Primary office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 4060
University of Kansas

Rosemary O'Leary is the Director of the School of Public Affairs, and the Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor, at the University of Kansas. She is the author or editor of twelve books and more than 125 articles and book chapters on public management and public policy. She has won thirteen national research awards, including five senior scholar achievement awards and three best book awards. An elected member of the National Academy of Public Administration, O’Leary was a senior Fulbright scholar in Malaysia and the Philippines, and an Ian Axford Public Policy Scholar in New Zealand. She was a member of NASA’s Return to Flight Task Group assembled in response to the Columbia space shuttle accident where she advised NASA on organization culture. She is President of the Public Management Research Association.


My teaching philosophy is grounded in the belief that my focus should be on students as great learners, rather than on myself as a great teacher. I accomplish this by concentrating on four streams in the classroom: knowledge, critical thinking, creative thinking, and an enthusiasm for public service.

Teaching Interests

  • Public administration
  • Collaboration
  • Organization theory
  • Environmental policy
  • Law


My current research centers on collaboration as a leadership and management strategy. I focus both on the process of facilitating and operating in multi-organizational arrangements to solve problems that cannot be solved or easily solved by single organizations, as well as collaboration with the public.

Research Interests

  • Public Administration
  • Public Management
  • Collaborative Public Management
  • Collaborative Governance
  • Law and Public Policy
  • Administrative and Environmental Law
  • Environmental Policy
  • Environmental Management
  • Environmental Governance
  • Leading in place
  • Conflict Resolution


As a professor of public administration, I believe it is my responsibility to share my knowledge with practitioners and to learn continuously about the challenges they face. I do this by offering training, presentations, coaching, and workshops on collaboration as a leadership and management strategy, as well as training in interest-based collaborative problem solving.

Selected Publications

Rosemary O’Leary, The Ethics of Dissent: Managing Guerrilla Government, 2nd edition. Washington D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press, 158 pp. (2014); First edition (2006).

David Rosenbloom, Rosemary O'Leary, and Joshua Chan, Public Administration and Law, 3rd edition. New York: CRC Press 329 pp. (2010). Previous edition: David Rosenbloom and Rosemary O'Leary, Public Administration and Law, 2nd  edition. New York: Marcel Dekker, 344 pp. (1997). Translated into Chinese (2005). 

Rosemary O'Leary, Robert Durant, Daniel Fiorino, and Paul Weiland, Managing For the Environment. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 436 pp. (1999)

  • Winner of the “Best Book in Public and Non-Profit Management” Award, given by the  Academy of Management, 2000
  • Winner of the “Best Book in Environmental and Natural Resources Administration” Award, given by the American Society for Public Administration, 1999

Rosemary O’Leary and Catherine Gerard, Collaboration Across Boundaries: Insights and Tips from Federal Senior Executives. IBM Center for the Business of Government, 50 pp. (2012).

Rosemary O’Leary and Lisa Blomgren Bingham, A Manager’s Guide to Resolving Conflicts in Collaborative Networks. IBM Center for the Business of Government, 50 pp. (2007).

Amy Kneedler Donahue and Rosemary O’Leary, “Do Shocks Change Organizations? The Case of NASA.” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (lead article), 22, 395-425 (2012). 

Rosemary O’Leary, Yujin Choi, and Catherine Gerard. “The Skill Set of the Successful Collaborator,” Public Administration Review, 72 (S1) 70-83 (2012).

Rosemary O’Leary and Nidhi Vij. “Collaborative Public Management: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going? American Review of Public Administration,  42, 507-522 (2012).

Rosemary O’Leary, “Guerrilla Employees: Should Managers Nurture, Tolerate, or Terminate Them?” Public Administration Review, 70 (1) 8 – 18 (January/February 2010).

Lisa Bingham, Rosemary O’Leary and Tina Nabatchi, “The New Governance: Practices and Processes for Stakeholder and Citizen Participation in the Work of Government.” Public Administration Review, 65 (5) 547-558 (2005).

  • Most cited Public Administration Review article in 2005, 2006, and 2007.
  • In 2014, selected as one of the 75 most influential articles appearing in Public Administration Review since the journal’s inception in 1940

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Ranked in the top 10 master of public affairs programs in the nation
—U.S. News & World Report
#1 in the nation for city management and urban policy

— U.S. News & World Report

#5 in the nation for public management

— U.S. News & World Report
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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