Public Administration Student presents at Public Administration Theory Conference

June 18, 2019

DENVER – Nicole Wesley, a Master of Public Administration Student from Baton Rouge, presented at this year’s Public Administration Theory Conference.

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Nicole Wesley with the panel

The theme, Post Truth in the Public Realm, explores the current contentious environment of government and administration. Presenters explored post-truth rhetoric, how post-truth ideas in government came to be, and to where the convoluted discourse of post-truth politics leads our concerns of administration and government.

Formed in 1978 when a group of colleagues sought an informal venue for discussing and developing public administration theory, the PA Theory Network is one of the longest standing academic groups in public administration in the United States. The Network was established as a nonprofit, membership organization in 2011 and advances the mission of bringing together scholars, practitioners and students interested in a critical understanding of government, governance and administration.

“This conference was a great opportunity to explore bigger ideas in the public administration field such as the underlying institutional and societal influences that affect the implementation of our policies,” said Wesley. “My educational background in neuroscience and my role as a behavioral researcher have allowed me to bring a multidisciplinary approach to the field that will help improve understanding of policy concepts by widening our perspective. I have been so lucky to have the opportunities and guidance to allow me to do this work that I love, and I hope my research impacts others who have not had the same privileges. If my work helps to make sense of the world, then I’m accomplishing what I set out to do.”

Her presentation, "The Inequities of Truth: Barriers to Informed Decision Making for All," explored obstacles to knowing and evaluating what is true, such as disparities in access to education. These disparities hinder individuals’ ability to interpret information accurately and create circumstantial differences that influence our choices. For example, the average readability of propositions that we as citizens are voting on at the polls in the U.S. is at a grade level of 17.1, meaning over 17 years of education are needed to understand these laws. If only a select few can read constitutional laws, then only these few can truly make policy decisions, contributing to the systemic inequities.

About the Department of Public Administration

The Department of Public Administration at LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business offers a 45-hour degree program that emphasizes management, public policy and financial skills for those leading public agencies, nonprofit and health care organizations, and for-profit organizations that interact with governmental agencies. PAI’s faculty members are student-oriented and nationally-recognized for their expertise in their fields. For more information, visit lsu.edu/business/pai or call 225-578-6743.