Posted: February 22, 2023

Watch the recording from our session with Bev Cigler about her approach to conducting research as a “pracademic,” or practitioner-academic. Bev will draw on decades of experience to share stories from her work with intermunicipal cooperation, public finance, emergency management, and more.

Session Description

Pracademics, or practitioner-academics, work to bridge gaps between academia and the world of practice. In this talk, Bev draws on decades of experience to share stories that illustrate the opportunities and challenges of doing applied research, focusing on numerous survey and field research experiences in several U.S. states and in Canada. As a pracademic in the field of public policy and administration, Bev’s stories are based on her work addressing multicommunity collaboration for economic development, municipal needs and priorities, finance issues, and emergency management related to flood mitigation. 

Storyteller Bio

Bev Cigler, Ph.D., is a Penn State Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Administration, Emerita. She received a B.A. from Thiel College and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Penn State, all in political science. She taught at Wayne State, Thiel, North Carolina State, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Penn State Harrisburg (PSH). 

She specializes in intergovernmental relations, focusing on state-local relations and state and local policy, politics, and management. Her key substantive interests are intermunicipal cooperation, alternative service delivery, land use, emergency management, public finance, counties, and general issues of governance. 

Bev is an active researcher, writer, and editor and has had leadership positions with national and local professional organizations. Much of her published work has received national and state funding and includes 180 peer reviewed articles and book chapters, several co-authored books, and dozens of professional essays. She co-authored Fiscal Health for Local Governments: An Introduction to Concepts, Practical Analysis, and Strategies, published by Elsevier. Dr. Cigler has served on the editorial boards of the leading journals in her field, was an associate editor of Public Administration Review for 6 years, and currently is an editorial board member of five journals. 

Bev has presented approximately 255 speeches, workshops, testimony, and webinars for national, regional, and state associations of officials, government organizations, and state legislatures. She is frequently interviewed by media representatives. 

Dr. Cigler is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. In 2015, she received the Leslie Whittington Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). Previously, she received the PSH Faculty Excellence in Research Award and the PSH Faculty Service Award. She received the Donald Stone Award for Intergovernmental Scholarship and Research from the American Society for Public Administration’s intergovernmental section. Among her recognitions are four statewide awards for public service—the Friend of County Government Award from the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, the Honor Roll of Distinguished Women in PA, a Special Recognition Award from the Academy for Excellence in County Government, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the state chapter (Keystone) of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) in 2021. Cigler also received a Distinguished Alumna Award from Thiel College, a National Service Award from the Rural Economic Development for Community Self-Reliance Program and was twice appointed to the Presidential Rank Review Board by the U.S. (United States) Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Bev also received an MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Leadership Award. The PA House of Representatives provided her with a legislative citation for her contributions to state and local governments. 

Dr. Cigler was a NASPAA-FEMA Fellow and writes extensively in emergency management, specializing in mitigation issues, especially for floods. She co-chaired ASPA’s Katrina Task Force for many years and developed a pandemic task force for its Section on Emergency and Crisis Management. 

Bev was a Visiting Scholar in the Office of Legislative Research Liaison (LORL) of the PA General Assembly for two years and a faculty Research Associate there for eight years. She has also testified at more than a dozen legislative hearings, organized legislative briefings, and written research reports for legislative committees. 

Professor Cigler is a member of the Board of Trustees of her alma mater, Thiel College, chairing the Committee on Academic Affairs. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Keystone Research Center, a statewide policy institute in Harrisburg, Pa., and the Board of Directors of the South-Central Assembly, an eight-county regional body. Her service includes participating on advisory committees of the statewide association of municipal managers, the association of county officials in PA, and the National Center for the Study of Counties. She served on the advisory committee of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and on the Board of Directors, Metropolitan Policy Center, University of Pittsburgh. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Policy Forum, which works with the legislature on assorted issues.  

About the Series

Stories from the Field is a conversation series on community engagement and applied research. The series is designed to bring academics and practitioners together for informal discussions about the challenges and opportunities of doing work with communities, businesses, and the public sector. Stories from the Field is hosted by Penn State's Center for Economic and Community Development, an applied research center dedicated to strengthening local and regional development in Pennsylvania and beyond.