About Minnowbrook at 50

An intellectually diverse group of scholars and practitioners convened at Minnowbrook at 50 to consider the state of public administration fifty years after Minnowbrook I. New and old themes emerged in both the small group sessions and large group plenaries. The seven small groups wrote short summaries of the topics they tackled:

Large group plenaries surfaced numerous tensions in the field:

  • Some wanted the field to encourage normative scholarship, while others wanted it only to focus on positive scholarship. 
  • Some argued we should actively acknowledge the field’s role in initiating and perpetuating injustices and oppressions, while others argued our role is to generate objective knowledge.
  • Some believed we should assert the centrality of democracy in the field’s professional identity, while others believed the field should expand to include public administration in non-democratic settings.
  • Some asserted the field should use its voice to advocate or take a stand on current issues, while others asserted we should remain objective and impartial.

There was also vigorous discussion of tenure standards for junior faculty and debate over whether these standards are a disincentive asking big questions or doing engaged scholarship.

Many other important issues were discussed and debated, and many more remain.  You can find in-depth information on Minnowbrook at 50 discussion in “Assessing the Past and Future of Public Administration: Reflections from the Minnowbrook at 50 Conference” and the Minnowbrook at 50 special issue in Perspectives on Public Management and Governance.

We invite you to join us in celebrating the legacy of Minnowbrook I by engaging in the conversation.