The History and Evolution of the Southeastern Conference for Public Administration

Authors

  • David Berlan Florida State University
  • Ruowen Shen Florida State University
  • William Earle Klay Florida State University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.20899/jpna.5.1.6-20

Keywords:

Academic Conference, Profession of Public Administration, Southern States

Abstract

The Southeastern Conference for Public Administration (SECoPA) began in 1969 in the wake of reapportionment and desegregation. The founders of SECoPA sought to promote the emergence of a new South, one that would be both dynamic and inclusive, by promoting the practice and study of public administration throughout the region. In the decades since, SECoPA has continued to host annual conferences serving the region. Through coding and analysis of annual conference programs, and using the lens of new institutionalism, this article explores SECoPA’s history and fidelity to its founding mission. The annual conferences have been responsive to concerns of public administration scholars in the region, but drastic declines in practitioner participation mirror broader trends in the profession.

Author Biographies

David Berlan, Florida State University

David Berlan is an assistant professor in the Askew School at Florida State University. He received his MPA and PhD degrees in public administration from Syracuse University. He has practitioner experience in the nonprofit sector. His research focuses on organizational change in nonprofits, associations, and networks—especially the role of ideas like missions, issues, and identities in these processes. He is a three-time SECoPA participant.

Ruowen Shen, Florida State University

Ruowen Shen is a doctoral candidate in the Askew School at Florida State University. Her research focuses on local sustainability, collaborative management, and environmental policy analysis. She participated in two of the most recent SECOPA conferences.

William Earle Klay, Florida State University

William Earle Klay is a professor in the Askew School at Florida State University. He has been attending SECOPA since his student days at the University of Georgia in 1970. His practitioner experience includes military and civil service positions in the federal government as well as being a policy analyst for a state legislature and a coordinator of state agency planning in a governor’s executive office.

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Published

2019-04-01

Issue

Section

Research Articles