By: Beverly Cigler
Who or what inspired you to become a professor?
A passionate interest in public service meshed well with great experiences with dedicated teachers at every level. This convinced me that helping to recruit and guide young people through teaching and research would be a rewarding career.
What is your favorite class you have ever taught or taken and why?
There never was one favorite class as a student or professor. Instead, I find political science, especially public policy and public administration subfields, to be intrinsically interesting and challenging.
What advice would you give to those interested in pursuing a career in academia?
Teaching is a "helping profession" that offers never ending rewards. Doing solid research improves your teaching and contributes to the fund of knowledge that can improve public policies, organizational health, and peoples' lives. Intense interaction with practitioners can show that practice often leads theory, thus improving your academic experience.
What area of public policy interests you the most and why?
Most policies are intergovernmental in nature and the challenges of building collaborative efforts to achieve positive results are of enduring interest, regardless of the policy area. However, the face-to-face, service delivery role of local government is exhilarating as are the stubborn challenges of environmental issues such as poor land use and flood hazards. Constitutions and laws guide policies and approaches and I see legal frameworks as fundamental to intergovernmental relations and federalism.
If you could have dinner with 3 people, who would they be and why?
Paul McCartney. I admire his exacting standards and respect his values and creativity. He has an admirable work-life balance, represented by a range from "silly little love songs" to commitment to freedom, civil rights, the environment, and anti-authoritarianism.
Former Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. Her leadership capabilities and insights on global issues offer many lessons, e.g., on immigration and the EU, and she has found ways to address strong criticism over issues such as vaccine rights and Russia.
Chef José Andrés. He regards food as a universal right and is a "first responder" to people in need, whether victims of natural hazard disasters such as hurricanes or humanitarian crises such as war. He avoids lucrative restaurant opportunities if they clash with his values.
What is your favorite cuisine?
Italian entrees, Eastern European breads, and Czech pastries. I am a dedicated "from scratch" cook/baker and would want to prepare the dinners for Sir Paul, Chancellor Merkel, and Chef Andrés and welcome their suggestions for improvement.
What is your favorite hobby or activity that you enjoy doing in your free time?
My spouse, Kent Crawford, and I have been married for about 52 years and enjoy a "walk in the park" or on local trails most days, as well as eating most meals together. We have done the walking with 8 beagles through the years, currently 15-month-old littermates, Fracas and Ruckus, who offer pure joy and innocence. Kent, originally from rural western North Carolina, and an aquatic ecologist who worked for EPA and the U.S.G.S for decades, offers new and different insights on my areas of greatest interest and my different life experiences growing up in Pittsburgh. I enjoy the talks and learn something new each day. Another favorite activity is cooking/baking and sharing results with family, neighbors, and friends. The enjoyment comes from the combination of art, science, creativity, and gratification from making others happy--and healthy.
What is the best movie you have seen?
All the President's Men is not the "best" but is my favorite because it opened my eyes to investigative journalism. I continue to marvel at the skill in unraveling Watergate and make comparisons to the January 6 Select Committee and related investigative journalism.
Who in your life has been an influential mentor or inspiration for you?
There are many and I am grateful for each. My brother and I were first generation high school graduates in our marginally working-class family. Education or careers were not discussed since attention was directed to the challenges of living paycheck to paycheck. Our dad worked in a factory for 42 years and mom was a cafeteria worker but, by example, the rewards of diligence, responsibility, honesty, and integrity were taught. Similarly, Aunt Marie worked in a factory under rough conditions and very low wages for 46 years. She was much admired, especially after mom died at an early age. A high school merger in my town luckily exposed me to students with parents who were doctors, lawyers, and scientists. With friends aspiring to professional careers, high school had a profound influence on my appreciation of education and career options. Our family lived directly across the street from a volunteer fire department and a tavern. The firefighters sparked my interest in the helping professions and some of the tavern patrons introduced me to an array of social problems. President Kennedy's words, "Ask not what your country can do for you..." were incredibly inspirational, as were life stories of my uncles' war experiences. All influenced an interest in public service. My brother Allan, also a professor, never failed to be supportive or an outstanding mentor and role model.
Bev Cigler, Ph.D., is a Penn State Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Administration, Emerita. B.A., Thiel College; M.A. and Ph.D., 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).
Specializations: intergovernmental relations and federalism; state/local policy, politics, and management; and emergency management. Substantive interests: intermunicipal cooperation, alternative service delivery, land use and environmental policies, flood hazards and mitigation, municipal finance, counties, and general issues of governance.
An active researcher, writer and editor, Bev has held leadership positions with national and local professional organizations, including president of 2 ASPA (American Society for Public Administration) chapters and 2 ASPA sections. Much of her research has received national/state funding and her publications include more than 180 peer reviewed articles and book chapters, several co-authored and co-edited books, and dozens of professional essays, op-eds, and research monographs prepared for government entities and associations. Publications include 13 articles/essays in Public Administration Review (PAR). Cigler has served on 18 editorial boards, including the leading journals in her field, was a section editor for PAR for 6 years, and currently serves on 5 editorial boards.
Bev has presented approximately 280 speeches, workshops, webinars, and testimony to national, regional, and state associations of officials, government organizations, and several universities. She is frequently interviewed by media outlets, has organized legislative briefings, convened and moderated collaborative meetings among government associations, and moderated campaign debates. She has testified at 14 state legislative hearings and 3 executive branch briefings. Cigler was a NASPAA-FEMA Fellow and writes extensively on emergency management, especially flood mitigation. She co-chaired ASPA's Katrina Task Force. Bev was a Visiting Scholar in the Office of Legislative Research Liaison (LORL) of the Pa. General Assembly (2 years) and a faculty Research Associate there (8 years), preparing policy reports and briefings. She served on NASPAA's accreditation committee (COPRA).
Awards: Penn State Distinguished Professor; Fellow, National Academy of Public Administration; Leslie Whittington Award for Excellence in Teaching, NASPAA (2015); Lifetime Achievement Award, Keystone Chapter, ASPA (2021); PSH Faculty Excellence in Research Award; PSH Faculty Service Award; Donald Stone Award for Intergovernmental Scholarship and Research, ASPA SIAM; three statewide (Pa.) awards for public service—the Friend of County Government Award, County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania; Honor Roll of Distinguished Women in Pennsylvania; and Special Recognition Award, Academy for Excellence in County Government. Bev received a Distinguished Alumna Award from Thiel College, a National Service Award from the Rural Economic Development for Community Self-Reliance Program, U.S (United States) Department of Agriculture, and served twice on the Presidential Rank Review Board, U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). She received an MS Leadership Award. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives presented her with a legislative citation for her contributions to the Commonwealth and its local governments.