Magazine article Public Management

Academic Award in Memory of Stephen B. Sweeney: Robert L. Bland

Magazine article Public Management

Academic Award in Memory of Stephen B. Sweeney: Robert L. Bland

Article excerpt

The Sweeney Academic Award, established in the name of the longtime director of the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government, is presented to an academic leader or academic institution that has made a significant contribution to the formal education of students pursuing careers in local government. In addition to ICMA's recognition of an academic or institution, the Fels Institute provides a stipend to the recipient's student of choice to attend the ICMA Annual Conference. This year, ICMA presents the award to Robert L. Bland, professor and chair, Department of Public Administration, University of North Texas.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Far too often, the academic world provides only limited, guarded connections to the mundane and impure realities of the practitioner's world. Fortunately, there are notable exceptions. Dr. Robert Bland is one of those rare academicians who have maintained consistent, intentional, productive, and meaningful relationships with the practical world. Since joining the University of North Texas (UNT) faculty in 1982 and later becoming chair of his department, Dr. Bland has been instrumental in changing the way that public administration is taught while still promoting established and accepted academic theory.

Many "ivory tower" academics seek to distinguish themselves by driving classroom discussion based on theories that are considered revolutionary but are more often the theory "du jour." But under Dr. Bland's leadership, UNT has returned to the roots of public administration to create a Master of Public Administration (MPA) program that is based on basic fundamental issues. This program does not ignore innovations in the field but rather examines and challenges them in concert with accepted academic theory and best practices to offer a solid foundation for teaching management within the context of desired public policy. According to Mark McDaniel, president of the Texas City Management Association, "This is made possible as a direct result of Dr. Bland staying 'connected' to public administration as a practice."

Recognition of UNT's MPA program has been steadily growing. In 2005, U.S. News and World Report ranked it number one in the Southwest and tenth in the nation. And Dr. Bland is highly acclaimed as well. Noting "his widely regarded national and regional leadership and topmost stature," Dr. Chester Newland, former academician, continues, "Through Bob Bland's support of ICMA standards among public managers and his facilitative leadership as professor and chair of the UNT Department of Public Administration, North Texas now provides the foremost educational leadership in local government management in Texas. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.