USC Price’s Cooper earns prestigious ASPA SoCal award for academic achievement

May 6, 2017

Professor Terry Cooper

By Matthew Kredell

USC Price School of Public Policy Professor Terry Cooper was named the recipient of the 2017 Harry Scoville Award for Academic Achievement by the Southern California chapter of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA).

The award is presented to an individual who has made significant contribution to public administration through teaching, research, writing and related activities.

Cooper is the fifth USC Price faculty in the past 10 years to win the award, including Robert Denhardt last year. He will receive the honor at SoCal ASPA’s 69th Annual Awards Luncheon on May 22 at The California Endowment in downtown Los Angeles.

“It means a lot to me to be recognized by my colleagues in that ASPA chapter,” said Cooper, the Maria B. Crutcher Professor in Citizenship and Democratic Values. “It’s always nice as you approach the end of your career to have people say they appreciate what you’ve done.”

Cooper has the longest tenure of any active faculty member in the Price School. He began his USC faculty career in 1975, when the school was known as the USC School of Public Administration. He is now completing the first year of a three-year phase into retirement.

“I feel I’ve made some fairly significant contributions to the school and the field of public administration,” Cooper said. “As I’m in the phasing-out process, I feel grateful that the school provided me a wonderful place to work and has given me the freedom to develop my career as I see fit. It’s been a very rich experience for me.”

Lasting legacy

His book The Responsible Administrator: An Approach to Ethics in the Administrative Role is considered the definitive text for the public management field. In its sixth edition, it has been in print for almost 30 years. It’s used in MPA programs in China as a core text, has been translated into Korean, and used in Saudi Arabia.

“That book has made the greatest impact on the field of any of my contributions,” Cooper said. “Some of my articles have been widely cited, but that book is what I’m most proud of.”

At USC Price, he’s created two graduate-level courses and one for undergraduates, all of which he expects to outlast him at the school, Cooper noted. The undergraduate course in Citizenship and Public Ethics has become part of the core curriculum for public administration. In addition, his former doctoral students have gone on to become scholars and educators at schools not only across the United States, but also in China, Korea and India.

“Professor Cooper’s work is remarkable,” said Jack Meek, SoCal ASPA chapter council member, who notified Cooper of the honor. “His contributions to the fields of ethics and civic engagement are significant and long lasting. This spring, at the national meeting of ASPA in Atlanta, a panel of his students and alumni, now professors, presented research on civic engagement advances in Lithuania, China and the United States. His mentorship and scholarship has a global reach.”