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NEW @ THE ACADEMY

Meet our Fellows: Dr. Mary K. Feeney (‘19)

Dr. Mary Feeney is the Lincoln Professor of Ethics in Public Affairs, editor of the Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory, associate Director of the Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Studies (C-STEPS), and director of the doctoral program at the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University.

Dr. Feeney's research focuses on public and nonprofit management and science and technology policy. She is currently working on an NSF-funded project investigating materials sharing among academic scientists and a project investigating technology use in municipal governments.

Dr. Feeney serves on the editorial boards for Government Information Quarterly, Perspectives on Public Management & Governance, and Journal of Behavioral Public Administration. She was previously on the editorial boards of American Review of Public Administration, International Public Management Journal, Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory, Public Administration Review, Public Integrity, and Public Performance & Management Review.

She has published more than 55 peer reviewed journal articles in public administration and science and technology policy. Feeney has two books: "Nonprofit Organizations & Civil Society in the United States" with Kelly LeRoux (Routledge, 2014) and "Rules and Red Tape: A Prism for Public Administration Theory and Research" with Barry Bozeman (ME Sharpe, 2011). 

Here is a recent interview with Dr. Mary K. Feeney:

  1. How did you get involved in public service?

I’m not really sure. I have always cared about improving our communities – I think this comes from my mom and my upbringing. I view government as the best mechanism we have for ensuring social equity and the betterment of our communities – I think this view comes from having read and traveled a lot.

  1. Which of the Academy's 12 Grand Challenges resonates most with you?

They all seem important to me. Though I think the underlying anti-government culture in the United States makes it hard for us to successfully address the many challenges facing our society. Without trust in government and strong investments in improving the lives of all who live in our communities, these challenges will persist.

  1. Reflecting on your career thus far, is there a highlight, a greatest accomplishment or a funny story you'd like to share?

The strongest feelings of accomplishment that I have at work come when my students succeed. For example, when students send me a note saying something I taught them helped them solve a problem, that my encouragement to apply to graduate school or for a job convinced them to try for something, or that I have played some small part in helping them reach their goals.

  1. What advice would you give someone wanting to start a career in public service?

There are lots of different ways to be involved in public service. And there are infinite ways to be successful and happy. Ask people you admire how they got where they are, say yes to opportunities, and just start trying things. Sometimes the best way to start is experimentation and process of elimination.

  1. What was the last book you read or one that you would recommend?

Anything by Rebecca Solnit or Roxane Gay.

  1. Do you have a favorite podcast, journal, newspaper, or other kind of media?

I started reading the New Yorker when I was in high school and have been reading it ever since. I was a curious kid and an avid learner. Reading the New Yorker exposed me to things I didn't experience in Wyoming. It expanded my horizons and made me want to learn more and see the world.

  1. What do you work toward in your free time?

Two years ago, I decided to pick up a new sport – women’s flat track roller derby. It’s been incredibly rewarding to do something so physically and mentally challenging. I appreciate the sport’s approach to building an inclusive community and Arizona Roller Derby is one of the best-run nonprofit organizations I have encountered. I wish I had found it sooner.

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