Magazine article Public Management

Academic Award: In Memory of Stephen B. Sweeney

Magazine article Public Management

Academic Award: In Memory of Stephen B. Sweeney

Article excerpt

Established in the name of the longtime director of the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government, this award 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.

Sam Gaston

Professor and Practitioner-in-Residence, Robertson School of Government, Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Professor Sam S. Gaston, full-time city manager of Mountain Brook, Alabama, is online practitioner-in-residence in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at the Robertson School of Government, Regent University. This is the nation's first MPA online practitioner-in-residence position. As a full-time faculty member, he teaches online courses each semester, and he advises and mentors all online MPA students. He is also involved in MPA faculty meetings and the academic decision-making process.

Professor Gaston became involved in the education of public managers in 1999, when he was invited to teach in the MPA program at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. The first course he developed gave an indication of his creative skills in the classroom. Dual-taught with the former mayor of Birmingham, the course gave students a rare insight into how city problems are addressed in two different forms of government: the council-manager form and the strong mayor form. It was tremendously popular, and it began Professor Gaston's lifelong mentoring of MPA students.

And his teaching and mentoring skills are remarkable. …

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