Recognizing Excellence, Building Community

The Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration (CAPPA) has just announced the competition for its first-ever excellence in research award and its annual DeCelles award for excellence in teaching. What is CAPPA and why do these awards matter?

As discussed in a previous post, CAPPA represents the common interests of college and university-based public administration, public management, and public policy programs and scholars across Canada. Beyond representing our interests, CAPPA strives to build a vibrant intellectual community. By recognizing excellence in research and teaching – the two quintessential scholarly activities – we hope to stimulate a discussion of the meaning of excellence in our profession and to provide models of excellence members of our community emulate.

The bilingual CAPPA-ACPAP logo is below, with its stylized depiction of Canadian geography from west to east.

The Awards Committee

Despite retirement I remain an active member of this community, serving on CAPPA’s board and now chairing its awards committee. The two other members of the committee are Professors Andrea Migone (Toronto Metropolitan University) and Susan Phillips (Carleton University). The committee recently reviewed CAPPA’s awards and those of comparator organizations such as the Canadian Political Science Association and US-based Public Management Research Association. For the last twenty years, we have been giving an award for excellence in teaching, named after the late Pierre DeCelles, a professor at and Director-General of the Ecole Nationale d’Administration Publique, and an excellent instructor. We are initiating a research excellence award for career achievement in research by a faculty member who is part of the Canadian public administration community. This is defined as being appointed at a Canadian university or college or being a Canadian citizen appointed at a public administration or policy program outside Canada.

Ours is an applied discipline because it draws on insights and methodology from a variety of social sciences: political science, economics, law, psychology, and sociology. We hope that evaluating nominees will stimulate a discussion within the awards committee, and more broadly within our community, about what we mean by excellence in research in our field.

The Nomination Process

We are counting on leaders in our field, such as directors of CAPPA programs, to nominate colleagues they consider worthy. We have tried to simplify the nomination process by enunciating criteria for each award and relying on the nominator to demonstrate how the nominee meets the criteria.

For the excellence in research award the criteria are the productivity, quality, and influence of the nominee’s research, weighted equally (en francais, cliquez ici).

For the DeCelles award the criteria are quality of teaching, diversity of teaching, innovation in teaching, and contribution to the overall educational experience in the nominee’s department, faculty or university (en francais, cliquez ici).

We haven’t created forms or templates but encourage the nominator to include supportive materials.

The deadline for applications for both awards is Friday March 3, 2023.

Celebrating Excellence

We plan to announce the winners by March 20. We will go beyond an announcement to host a celebration and discussion of their achievements at the 2023 CAPPA Annual Conference, to be held on June 22 – 23 at York University. We will ask the winner of the DeCelles award to respond to the presentation with a discussion of their pedagogy. We will organize a session discussing the scholarship of the winner of the research award, and of course give them the last word.

We know that there are colleagues in our programs who have done and continue to do excellent work and we hope that their achievements will be put forward for recognition by our community. Our community will be better for it.

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