Education for Public Administration: Graduate Preparation in the Social Sciences at American Universities

By George A. Graham | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5 METHODS

ALTHOUGH FACULTY MEMBERS rely heavily upon traditional methods of instruction in training men for public administration, there are some developments supplementing the traditional methods that are almost universal; in addition, a few faculties have developed new methods that are unique and are a fresh contribution to teaching.


COMMON TRENDS

Public Service Consultants1

Nearly all institutions are drawing public officials into the educational process, a practice that has been growing steadily for more than a decade; there is general agreement that it is a useful supplement to traditional methods of instruction. Students, officials, and faculty members all profit from the experience. Public service consultants participate chiefly in three ways.

It is a well-nigh universal practice to bring public officials to the campus for a day or two to lecture, to talk informally to a group of graduate students, or to confer with individual students on problems of common interest. The consultants are selected for their experience, position, and knowledge of problems or processes of interest to graduate students. Formal public lectures, once popular, have now been generally abandoned for informal discussions with smaller select groups of students and faculty, who gather in the late afternoon or after dinner, pull up their chairs, light their pipes, and hear what the consultant has to say. The visitor has the floor for a half hour to an hour, sometimes interrupted by questions. A formal question period usually follows, and the discussion may continue for another hour or two. Consultants of this type are drawn not only from the public service but also from political parties, business, governmental research, and the academic world. They are selected primarily because of the work they are doing or have done. The subject of discussion is secondary; the man himself is of primary importance.

A second type of consultant is brought to the university for a day, or for several days, for one course. He is selected because of the re-

____________________
1
The term "consultant" is borrowed from the Harvard terminology because of its convenience.

-70-

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