By Kenneth Hunter, Guest Blogger
The picturesque riverfront of Wilmington, North Carolina, was the scene for academic and practitioner discussion and collaboration during the 30th Southeastern Conference of Public Administration (SECoPA), held October 13th-16th.
The conference, held at the Wilmington Hilton Riverside, was attended by 326 academics and practitioners, including 123 current students of public administration.
More than 70 sessions were held where academics and practitioners at the federal, state, and local level presented research on topics ranking from finance and human resources, to nonprofit management, environmental policy, and comparative theory. Along with heavy representation from institution in the southeastern US, the conference also saw presenters from across the country, as well as visitors from India, Singapore and Turkey.
Traditional sessions were complemented with special offerings featuring Wilmington’s new convention center and collaborative visioning process. A pre-conference presentation by the Alliance for Innovation focused on the importance of innovation, partnerships and organizational renewal in the current environment of government fiscal crisis.
Plenary luncheons featured presentation of annual SECoPA awards, along with engaging presentations by Meredith Newman, ASPA President, and the Honorable Carolyn Justice of the North Carolina General Assembly. Dr. Newman’s presentation focused on the need to improve response capacities in anticipation of potential crisis and disaster, while Representative Justice focused her remarks on the importance of a personal commitment toward ethics for those in public service.
Winners of 2010 SECoPA awards include:
Donato J. Pugliese Award
Professor Ed Jennings, University of Kentucky
Senator Peter B. Boorsma Award
Professor Alan Rosenbaum, Florida International University
Distinguished Public Service Practitioner Award
William E. Solomon, J.D., Miami-Dade Parks & Recreation
Robert Kline Award (Best Master’s Student Paper)
Meredith Howes, University of Kentucky
Morris W.H. Collins, Jr. Award (Best Ph.D. Candidate Paper)
Winner – Gina Scutelnicu, Florida International University
Honorable Mention – Matthew Howell, University of Kentucky)
Attendees were impressed with the conference’s positive atmosphere, along with the visible work put forth in organizing and hosting the event by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington’s MPA Program.
“(UNC-Wilmington Professor) Tom Barth and company are to be congratulated for putting on a first rate conference,” said past SECoPA Chair, Dr. Steven Condrey. “The annual SECoPA conference is a clear model for other regions to follow in designing a conference that unites the academic and practitioner communities.”
As conference chair, Dr. Barth declared this year’s SECoPA a rousing success. ““It was gratifying to see the wonderful mix of faculty, students and practitioners at theSECoPA 2010 Conference.”
“I have discovered first-hand what makes the annual conference so special….tremendous cooperation, collegiality and a welcoming atmosphere for many students and practitioners who are presenting for the first time,” Barth added. “However, it was also special to see so many leading scholars from the field also in attendance, sharing their insights and offering suggestions. Thank you to all the SECoPA 2010 participants!”
During the final evening reception, attendees learned about plans for the 2011 SECoPA, scheduled for September 21st-24th in New Orleans. A raffle and silent auction were also held, raising $1,370 for the SECoPA Endowment Fund.
“Once again, I left a SECoPA Conference energized about the many panels I attended and proud to be a part of an organization that takes its work seriously,” said incoming SECoPA Chair, Dr. Dorothy Norris-Tirrell.
To learn more about SECoPA, visit their website, http://www.aspaonline.org/secopa.
ASPA Member Kenneth Hunter is an MPA graduate of The University of Georgia with more than a decade of experience in local government finance. Kenneth is the Budget & Evaluation Manager for the City of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and serves on the Executive Committee of the Association for Budgeting & Financial Management and is a Board Member and Webmaster for the North Carolina Local Government Budget Association. You can follow Ken online via Facebook & Tumblr.