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Himmelreich Honored with Birkhead-Birkhead Excellence Award

September 27, 2022

Johannes Himmelreich

Johannes Himmelreich


Johannes Himmelreich, assistant professor of public administration and international affairs, is the recipient of the Birkhead-Burkhead Teaching Excellence Award and Professorship.

The annual honor recognizes outstanding teaching in the Public Administration and International Affairs (PAIA) Department. Recipients are nominated by current students and selected by a committee comprised of former award winners. Honorees hold the professorship for four years.

The award honors two former Maxwell School PAIA professors: Guthrie Birkhead and Jesse Burkhead. Guthrie Birkhead was a faculty member in the PAIA and Political Science Departments from 1950 until his death in 2013. He was dean of the Maxwell School from 1977 until 1988, and he served as director of the Metropolitan Studies Program (now part of Maxwell’s Center for Policy Research). Jesse Burkhead was a faculty member in the Economics Department from 1949 until his death in 1996. An expert on public budgeting, he retired as Maxwell Professor of Economics. In 1956, he authored the highly acclaimed book, “Government Budgeting.”

Himmelreich’s research focuses on the ethics of autonomous systems such as drones, self-driving cars or artificial intelligence. He has published papers on “Responsibility for Killer Robots,” on the trolley problem and the ethics of self-driving cars, as well as on embodiment in virtual reality. Beyond this interest in ethics and technology, Himmelreich has also published on the commodification of asylum-provision services as well as on the foundations and nature of moral responsibility and blame. He argues that corporations, states and autonomous systems are agents that can be morally responsible for their actions.

He was recently honored with the Camilla Stivers Best Article Award by the Public Management Research Association for a piece he co-authored titled “Artificial Intelligence and Administrative Evil.” The award is for the best article published in Perspectives on Public Management and Governance.

Himmelreich earned a Ph.D. in philosophy in 2016 from the London School of Economics.


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