PSU and Center for Public Service well-represented at 5th International Conference on Government Performance Management and Leadership

Written by Phil Keisling, CPS Director
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Day 2: Thursday, September 14, 2017

One of the exciting opportunities connected with doing outreach and applied research work in the field of public service administration involves building a network of practice with like-minded faculty, students, and government officials in other countries.

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Day 2: Thursday, September 14, 2017

Last month, from September 13-15, a small group attended the 5th iteration of an international conference that PSU helped found back in 2009. The delegation was led by former Hatfield School Director Ron Tammen, and includes Professors Doug Morgan, Marcus Ingle, Rick Mogren, and Gary Larsen. CPS Director Phil Keisling was also part of the group.

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Day 3: Friday, September 15, 2017

This year’s event was hosted by the College of Local Administration at Khon Kaen University in the city of Khon Kaen, Thailand. Located in the NE part of Thailand—and well removed from the hubbub of Bangkok—KKU is similar to PSU in terms of size, and boasts one of the nation’s best public administration programs. More than 150 participants, representing universities and government entities in more than 15 different countries, made this the largest conference to date.

In addition to the presentation of more than 60 academic papers that examined a wide range of topics related to public administration, performance management, governance, and accountability, attendees focused especially on topics related to urban sustainability. Former Portland mayor Charlie Hales, along with his wife and First Stop Portland founder Nancy Hales, traveled to Khon Kaen to deliver several well-received keynote addresses. Participants also learned about ambitious efforts underway in Khon Kaen—a city of about 200,000 people—to start work next year on a 12-mile light-rail line with financing raised through an innovative public-private partnership.

PSU has been a co-sponsor of these biennial conferences since the first one was held in
Lanzhou China in 2009. PSU hosted the 2011 conference, while Waseda University (2013) and Lanzhou University (2015) hosted the most recent ones. In 2019, the School of Public
Administration at the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam—one of that
country’s premier programs—will host the 6th international conference.

While international partnerships certainly can take time to build, they’ve become an
increasingly vital part of the work the Center does. In recent years, delegations from Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, and China have contracted with CPS for a wide range of leadership development and training purposes, and a number of students (including several from KKU) can now be counted among our graduates. We look forward to more opportunities to collaborate and learn from our international partners in the years ahead.

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Advancing International Scholarship and Public Administration Practice

~By Eric Einspruch
Senior Fellow, Center for Public Service, Portland State University
Adjunct Professor, Division of Public Administration, Portland State University
Principal, ELE Consulting, LLC

The fourth International Conference on Government Performance Management and Leadership was held in Lanzhou, Gansu, China from October 9–11, 2015. The conference, held every other year since 2009, brings together scholars and practitioners from across the globe in the field of performance management and is sponsored in part by Portland State University’s Hatfield School of GoLanzhou 1vernment. The conference convenes participants to discuss contemporary topics in public administration, with the purpose of proposing creative solutions for administrative systems reform and the improvement of government performance. This year’s conference theme was Rule of Law and Government Performance, particularly as it relates to increasing government trust and legitimacy.

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A wide variety of topics were covered during the conference, including topics related to governance, administration, management, civic participation, leadership, evaluation, and innovation. Presentations by PSU participants provided both academic and applied perspectives.

  • Ron Tammen addressed conference attendees during the opening ceremony, and later spoke about political performance and the strength of nations.
  • Lanzhou2Doug Morgan spoke about the current state of performance-based management, governance, and leadership and discussed implications for the future.
  • Gary Larsen provided insights into wicked problems, rule of law, and public value-based leadership.
  • Phil Keisling spoke about voter turnout when government delivers ballots to citizens rather than requiring citizens to go to polling places.
  • I provided insights into building evaluation capacity to enhance performance.

Post-conference, the PSU group further experienced Chinese culture by visiting Qinghai Lake and Ta’er Si (Kumbum Monastery), both in Qinghai Province. The province is large, sparsely populated, and located on the Tibetan plateau. Qinghai Lake, a salt lake, is the largest lake in the country and lies at an elevation of about 10,000 feet. Ta’er Si was built in the year 1560, on the site of the birthplace of Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in China, with dozens of halls in which monks live and practice.

I appreciated three aspects of our trip in particular. First, I had not been in China for many Horseyears, and so I was very interested to see first-hand the country’s considerable development since my last trip. For example, we experienced very comfortable travel on a high speed train and enjoyed its modern stations. Second, as a student at the Confucius Institute at PSU, I was pleased with the opportunity to practice my language skills in China. Third, and most relevant to CPS’ vision and mission, it was gratifying to see the contributions that PSU is making to advance international scholarship in the field of public administration through its role as a conference organizer and sponsor and through the presentations made by members of the PSU delegation. In his talk, Doug Morgan called for education that prepares leaders with leadership approaches that cultivate judgment, rather than simply training systems managers. This is a call to action needed around the world, and the conference provided participants with opportunities to learn new ideas and to think about ways to fulfill this call.

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Collaboration with the Judicial Branch: Partnering with the Supreme Court of Japan

In spring 2015, CPS was contacted by the Dean of Graduate Studies at PSU, Dr. Margaret Everett, to determine the feasibility of designing and delivering a year-long, research focused program for a court official sent to Portland by the Supreme Court of Japan. One member of the Japanese court staff is selected each year to conduct research in Oregon. Oregon is honored to be the only state to which the Japanese Supreme Court sends its research scholars on an annual basis, and CPS took this unique opportunity to engage in promoting public good through the judiciary.

Historically, CPS’ efforts have been focused on either administrative/executive or legislative areas, making this new partnership with the Supreme Court among CPS’ first experiences coordinating with the judicial branch. This new relationship offered CPS the opportunity to share its unique approach to public service while being enriched by the court officials’ insights.

The first research scholar sent to CPS by the Supreme Court of Japan is Ms. Ayako Matsubayashi. Ayako has been employed as a court officer since 2006 at the Shizuoka District Court and has engaged in assisting court clerks in civil court. After completing the one-year court clerk training at the Training and Research Institute for Court Officials of the Supreme Court of Japan, she was appointed to be a court clerk and served at civil court for two years and criminal court for three years. Ayako received her Bachelor of Law degree from Keio University, one of the most prestigious private universities in Japan.

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Ms. Ayako Matsubayashi visiting Portland State University from the Supreme Court of Japan

After Ayako achieved her first goal of becoming a court clerk, she decided to apply for the research scholar program in order to become a court clerk who can look at the court systems in Japan more objectively. Ayako believes that observing other court systems will help her to become a better court clerk. Ayako has two major research foci while in Portland. One is to analyze the systems of court interpretation services. Providing high quality court interpretation services is an important universal issue. Ayako believes that because the U.S. is an immigrant nation, it is keen to provide such services in the court system. Her second research focus is to compare the Japanese lay judge system (Saiban-in system) to the U.S. jury system. The Saiban-in system started in Japan about six years ago. Since the U.S. jury system has a longer history, she is eager to learn about how the U.S. courts involve citizens to create a better system.

Ayako will also be spending her time at the Oregon Judicial Department, Fourth Judicial District to conduct her research. The Fourth Judicial District Trial Court Administrator, Ms. Barbara Marcille and her predecessor, Mr. Douglas Bray, have been the champions of this partnership with the Supreme Court of Japan. Before CPS became involved in this partnership, Mr. Bray has welcomed research scholars from the Supreme Court of Japan for over 20 years. Beginning this year, CPS provides an academic home and advising to the research scholar, and the Fourth Judicial District acts as field advisor and provides the real-world cases for the research scholar to study and explore.

Ayako feels very fortunate to be able to conduct her research and spend a year in Portland, Oregon, and CPS feels fortunate to be an organization supporting her experience here. The connection will no doubt lead to additional opportunities for CPS to network within the judicial branch. For now, Ayako hopes to meet as many people as possible and have new experiences during her stay, and; she aspires to advance not only her research focus areas but also to gain better understanding of U.S. cultures. Ayako’s final presentation in June 2016 will be open to the public and cover her research results and experiences in Oregon.

VOI: Strengthening Relationships through Delegations

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Members of the 2015 Inspectorate General delegation together with Center for Public Service representatives

The Center for Public Service at PSU hosted a training workshop for a delegation of high-level public leaders from the Central Inspection Commission of the Communist Party of Vietnam from Sept 20 to Oct 3. The delegation included 21 members, some from the Central Commission in Hanoi and others from 5 provincial commissions.

In a single-party system of Vietnam, these commissions play an important role in inspection/auditing, personnel/promotion and internal control for the Party. The delegation’s training workshop was strongly focused on the institutional structure and process/mechanism in the US system that can help to prevent and cope with the abuse of power and corruption.

As part of their time in Portland, the delegation attended a series of training sessions delivered by Dr. Marcus Ingle and Dr. Huan Dang, CPS faculty. CPS director Phil Keisling, Dr. Douglas Morgan, chair of Division of Public Administration, and Dr. Ron Tammen, director of the Hatfield School of Government, all delivered specialized class sessions to the delegation as well. In addition to their time on campus, delegation members had the opportunity to visit with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Audits Division and the Oregon Legislative Fiscal Office at the State Capitol in Salem, as well as to meet with the Director of Audit Services for the City of Portland at City Hall.