KU News Release


July 22, 2011
Contact: Marilu Goodyear, University School of Public Affairs and Administration, 785-864-3527

KU alumna named distinguished professor in School of Public Affairs and Administration

LAWRENCE — A distinguished alumna of the University of Kansas will return to her alma mater to join the faculty of the top-ranked School of Public Affairs and Administration.

Rosemary O’Leary has been named the Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor of Public Administration in the school. Her appointment begins in the spring semester of 2013. The Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor of Public Administration is named in honor of the professor who established the Master’s of Public Administration program at KU in 1948.

“The expertise that Rosemary O’Leary will bring is an invaluable addition to our program,” said Marilu Goodyear, director of the School of Public Affairs and Administration. “We are thrilled that a top scholar in the field has agreed to be the second Stene professor.”

H. George Frederickson currently serves at the Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor of Public Administration. After 26 years of service, he will retire in June 2013.

O’Leary is an expert in public management, collaboration and conflict resolution, as well as environmental and natural resources management and law. Her expertise in collaboration includes collaborative governance, collaborative problem solving and collaborative public management. She is currently the Distinguished Professor of Public Administration and the Phanstiel Chair in Strategic Management and Leadership at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.

At KU, O’Leary hopes to research the use of collaboration as a management strategy by local governments, as well as the impact of global climate change challenges on local governments.

O'Leary is the author or editor of 10 books and more than 100 articles and book chapters on public management. She has won 10 research awards and nine teaching awards. She is the only person to win three National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration awards for Best Dissertation (1989), Excellence in Teaching (1996) and Distinguished Research (2004). She is an elected member of the National Academy of Public Administration, and she was a senior Fulbright scholar in Malaysia and in the Philippines.

From 2003 to 2005, O’Leary was a member of NASA’s Return to Flight Task Group assembled in response to the Columbia space shuttle accident. She also has served as a consultant to numerous government organizations and nonprofits around the world, including the International City/County Management Association. In 2007, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences honored O’Leary with its Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award. She holds bachelor’s, law and master’s in public administration degrees from KU, as well as a doctorate from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.

The KU School of Public Affairs and Administration is housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Since 1998, U.S. News and World Report has ranked KU’s Master of Public Administration degree (MPA) in city management and urban planning as first in the nation. The school is currently ranked alongside the University of Michigan at No. 7 in overall program rankings.

The school’s Edwin O. Stene Master's Program in Public Administration is one of the oldest and most respected programs in the United States educating local government managers. In 1948, with support from the Carnegie Foundation, the first students enrolled in the MPA program established under the direction of Stene. Today the program serves students pursuing careers in city management and those seeking leadership positions in all public service organizations.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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