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TAKING STOCK: EVIDENCE ABOUT THE STANDING OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION IN ACADEMIA1

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Doctoral ProgramsWe also computed the ratios of public administration dissertations to American government and the ratio of the combined number of public administration and public policy dissertations to the number of American government dissertations for each year. These data are shown in Figure B. For PA relative to American government, the ratio is weaker from 1993 to 1997 than it was in the years preceding 1993. For the combined PA/public policy ratio to American government, the trend is slightly different. In this case, the ratio is strongest in 1989 and steadily declines thereafter, with a slight upsurge from 1994 to 1996. Again, the relative strength of public policy and public administration as fields of study appears stronger before 1993 than it does afterwards. These data, however, may reflect trends in categorization, as well as in production of dissertations.FIGURE B HEREOutputs and Products of the ProfessionRankings of Public Administration and Political Science ProgramsAmerican GovernmentTAKING STOCK: EVIDENCE ABOUT THE STANDING OF PUBLICADMINISTRATION IN ACADEMIA1At a relatively recent prestigious address to the American Political Science Association (APSA), the keynote speaker cast the field of public administration (PA) in a most negative light. Such assessments represent a significant challenge tothe profession and warrant response. Public administration scholars are not averseto taking stock of themselves and seem to indulge in self examination exercises with some frequency. But they have not been particularly inclined to compile empirical evidence regarding the profession and its members. Data and other information can be enlightening to the extent that they provide evidence of the stature of the field, its development over time, and the contribution of the group ofscholars who identify themselves with public administration. This study reviews evidence that provides insight into the status of public administration as a field of study. It points to existing evidence regarding, for example, the growth of the discipline in terms of schools and departments, the totalnumber of schools and departments, number of journals and the quality of those journals, and the accomplishments and status of individual academics.From this evidence a rough profile of the status of the profession in both academia and the broader society can be drawn. Empirical evidence may reinforce prevailing assessments of the field or provide a new perspective of the status of the1discipline. Empirical evidence about the profession can be useful for setting appropriate goals for development and improvement. Finally, this review will identify areas where evidence about the field is lacking and future research needed.It must be noted that the data presented here represent available rather than optimum measures. Some of the indicators used are very rough proxies for the constructs of interest. Others involve significant potential error in the way the datawere compiled or presented. These limitations might be addressed by others conducting more extensive empirical research on the topic of professional standingand status of public administration as a field. The article is organized into four main sections. The first looks at indicators regarding the growth of public administration as a field of study. The second examines existing evidence regarding output and products of the profession. The third main section looks at evidence pertaining to the status of public administration The last section tries to take stock of where public administration stands as a field and points to areas where more research regarding the status and development of public administration as a field of study is need.GROWTH OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND ADMINISTRATION AS A FIELDGrowth in the field of public affairs and administration can be measured by changes in the number of programs over time, increases in the number of students 2enrolled in PA programs, and growth in the number of degrees awarded and dissertations published.Number Of Public Affairs/Administration ProgramsAccording to information compiled by Peterson's Guide, the number of institutions with public administration programs steadily declined from 325 in 1980to 244 in 1995. Between these two time periods, however, a new category, PublicAffairs and Policy Studies was added to the record. The data support Kettl’s (1993) observation that the popularity of the term “public administration” for programs has declined over time. From 1980 to 1995, 25 percent fewer institutionsindicate that they have a public administration program in place. The number of institutions with programs in public affairs or public policy increased by about 12 percent from 1985 to 1995. The data are presented in Table 1. Eliminating the possibility of double-counting institutions that appear on both lists, however, shows an overall decline in the number of institutions offering programs in the fieldfrom 1985 to 1995 of about 11 percent. TABLE 1 HEREEnrollment Increases And Increases In Degrees Awarded3As shown in Table 2, the number of students and degrees awarded has increasedover time for member institutions of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).2 The change in the number of students enrolled in masters level programs from 1975 to 1985 represents about a 35 percent increase. The number of masters degrees awarded has almost doubled for the same period, with an increase of 45 percent.TABLE 2 HEREFor doctoral degree programs in public administration, both the number of enrollees and degrees awarded has increased but data are only available from 1987.The ratio from 1987 to 1995 in both cases is 1.5, indicating substantial growth. For degrees awarded, the number has increased by two-thirds while enrollments increased by 67 percent.TABLE 3 HEREDoctoral Programs The number of doctoral programs in political science offering public administration as a major field of study and producing dissertations in the area of public administration are also indicators of the relative status of the profession over time.4Public Administration as a Field of StudyWe compiled information regarding the fields of study in the top twenty-five departments in 1997 from information provided on the departments’ links to the APSA home page (www.apsanet.org). For those departments not indicating publicadministration as a possible field of study, we queried


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