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Transitioning a Public Administration Program

PAM, Vol. 4 No. 2, (1999)

Scholars in public administration have developed a "standard" prescriptive model of strategic management for public agencies. The standard strategic management model emphasizes metaplanning, stakeholder analysis, and analysis of strengths and weaknesses. The standard model also includes environmental scanning to anticipate threats and opportunities. This paper suggests some modifications to that model to meet the needs of strategic management for academic programs in public administration. 

Environmental analysis for academic programs in public administration needs to include at least three distinct arenas of inquiry: (1) The "Disciplinary Environment" encompasses conjecture about current and future changes in the field of public administration. (2) The "Graduates' Environment" encompasses conjecture about the future context within which students are likely to live their lives and practice their profession. (3) The "Institutional Environment" is comprised of conjecture about the present and future environments of the hierarchy of institutions within which an academic program exists -- colleges, universities, university systems, state governments, regional economies, and so on. Each of these three types of environments is discussed. The paper then shows how the modified model is being applied in one setting, that of the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy of the Florida State University.

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