Center for Environmental Policy and Administration

Rosemary O'Leary

Professor Emeritus

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Brief Biography

Rosemary O'Leary is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the Maxwell School (and the Stene Distinguished Professor of Public Administration at the University of Kansas). Her environmental publications include Environmental Governance Reconsidered: Challenges, Choices, and Opportunities (MIT Press, with Bob Durant and Dan Fiorino); The Promise and Performance of Environmental Conflict Resolution (Resources for the Future Press, with Lisa Blomgren Bingham); Managing For the Environment (Jossey-Bass, with Bob Durant, Dan Fiorino, and Paul Weiland); Environmental Change: Federal Courts and the EPA (Temple University Press). She is also author of the book The Ethics of Dissent: Managing Guerrilla Government (2nd ed. Congressional Quarterly Press) in which she coined the term "guerrilla government" to describe career public servants (many in the field of environmental and natural resources) who disobey the wishes of their superiors in order to do what they think is right. The ideas in this book have been presented in invited presentations in eight countries. In addition, she has published 5 other books and over 100 scholarly articles and book chapters, including “Environmental Policy in the Courts” in the best-selling Vig and Kraft book Environmental Policy: New Directions for the 21st Century (CQ Press).

O’Leary has won ten national research awards and nine teaching awards. She is the only person to win three National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration awards for Distinguished Teaching, Distinguished Research, and Best Dissertation. In 2014 O’Leary won the Dwight Waldo Award for “persons who have made outstanding contributions to the professional literature of public administration over an extended career" and was an Ian Axford Public Policy Fellow in New Zealand.

O’Leary was elected a member of the U.S. National Academy of Public Administration in 1995 and has twice been a senior Fulbright Scholar (Malaysia and the Philippines). O’Leary has served as the director of policy and planning for a state environmental agency and has worked as an environmental attorney. She was a consultant to the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, the International City/County Management Association, the National Science Foundation, and the National Academy of Sciences. She served on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Return to Flight Task Group and the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel as a consultant to NASA management on issues pertaining to organization culture and change. O’Leary received her J.D. from the University of Kansas in 1981 and her Ph.D. from Syracuse University in 1988. Her areas of expertise are public management, collaboration, conflict resolution, environmental and natural resources management, and public law.

Environmental Research Areas

  • Environmental Conflict Resolution
  • Environmental Governance
  • Environmental Management
  • Environmental Policy

Selected Papers and Abstracts since 2000

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Center for Environmental Policy and Administration
The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Revised 11/17/2014 11:43:56