Barbara Romzek

(1999) - Dean, School of Public Affairs and Professor of Public Administration and Policy, American University.

Barbara Romzek is an internationally recognized scholar of public affairs. She joined American University as Dean of the School of Public Affairs in 2012 after holding several leadership positions at the University of Kansas.

Dr. Romzek is an expert in the areas of public management and accountability, with emphases on government reform, contracting, and network service delivery. Dr. Romzek, a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, has conducted research that has encompassed complex work settings, including NASA, Congress and the Air Force, as well as state agencies, local governments and nonprofit agencies. Building upon her research on formal accountability, her recent work focuses on informal accountability in collaborative network settings, or how to get people to work together when there formal incentives to do so are absent.

She has received research awards from the American Political Science Association and the American Society for Public Administration. She has served on the governing boards of the American Political Science Association and currently serves on the executive council of the Network of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

Dr. Romzek is the co-author of three books and scores of journal articles, book chapters and other publications. A 1987 article that she co-authored was cited as one of the 75 most influential articles in the history of the journal Public Administration Review. The article, “Accountability in the Public Sector: Lessons from the Challenger Tragedy,” (with Melvin Dubnick) identified multiple types of public sector accountability relationships that operate simultaneously for public officials.  This accountability environment presents challenges for agencies and individuals as they manage diverse and competing performance expectations.