The Journal of Public Administration Education, Volume 3, Number 1, features a cross-section of papers, by both American and Eastern European authors, in a special issues section that responds to the relevancy of and the need for US methods of public administration education and training in the former Soviet and Communist countries. Topics of interest include nonprofit management, rural economic development, and local government management. The papers do not consist of detailed analyses of the subjects; rather, they are thoughtful essays that offer pragmatic approaches to the reform and growth of administrative systems and education.
A common theme espoused by the American writers is the potential problem of applying US pedagogy, which has developed over the course of a century of legal and governmental stability, to a region that has a markedly different cultural, economic, and political environment. However, the consensus is that US curricula, if utilized properly, serves an important function in post Soviet nations bent on liberal democratic reform. Several American authors caution that the transition to democracy will take time, as argued in one paper by Michael Maggiotto, who asserts that during this time administrative systems will organically work and evolve. As for now, public administration educators at US schools are encouraged to engage their visiting students with critical thinking and the free exchange of ideas, thereby enabling them to make substantive decisions in their homelands.
A different perspective is given by a pair of Russian educators, Irina Liman and Elena Lapsina, who recommend partnerships between Russian universities and business. Liman argues that systems need to be established that support entrepreneurship. She believes that area universities and institutions should organize small business "incubators" and train public administrators in their operation. In sum, both authors find answers in the economics of the free market. For information on the Journal of Public Administration Education, contact University of Kansas's Department of Public Administration at the address provided above.
Last updated: March 1997