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. Small groups tackled a variety of topics, including: 

  • Public administration, public values, and democracy
  • Social equity in public administration
  • International and comparative perspectives in public administration
  • Analytic frameworks for micro-, meso-, macro-level public administration
  • The relevance of the field
  • The potential and impact of new and emerging technologies
  • The role of the field as an integrator across disciplines and across scholarship and practice 

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 a 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.

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