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professional development, human resources, local government, academic-practitioner divide


Drawing on Boyer’s scholarship of teaching, we propose that public affairs education could be conceptualized as not just including the education of current students but also the education of public affairs practitioners throughout their careers. To explore knowledge diffusion from academics to public affairs practitioners, we conducted 40 phone interviews with county human resources (HR) directors in New York and North Carolina and examined the extent to which this population directly used academic resources. There was moderate use of academic resources from higher education institutions across the sample, with many North Carolina HR directors consulting publications and personnel from one university that has tailored services for local government officials in that state. Several HR directors currently not using academic resources indicated they were willing to use them. At the same time, many respondents were unsure what academic resources were available or when they would be helpful.

Publisher Attribution

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Public Affairs Education on April 18, 2018, available online:



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