MPA Professor Receives Prestigious Award

Rex Facer, an MPA professor with an international reputation as an expert in human resources and public management, was awarded the 2015 Senator Peter B. Boorsma Award for his commitment and passion in public administration.

“Being able to see good people around the world who want to make a difference and want to have better tools and better understanding — that is what’s driven me to be involved,” Facer says, speaking of the opportunities he’s had to teach and converse with local government officials in Africa, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and Central and South America.

The award honors an academician or practitioner who has helped others understand international knowledge and administrative practices in the public sector. Facer’s résumé includes working with local governments for ten years in Taiwan, designing a public administration program for a graduate school in Pakistan, and spending several years helping create a joint project between the United Nations Development Programme and the government of Kazakhstan.

“I was doing things that, on the one hand, are important for the academy but are also important for trying to improve practice on the ground. At the end of the day, that’s where we’re going to make the change,” Facer says.

Kendra Stewart, professor and director of the Riley Center for Livable Communities at the University of Charleston in South Carolina, nominated Facer for the award after watching him present to a group of scholars in Korea. “I was impressed with how well he translated his research on American public administration to Asian scholars and how relevant his work is to an international audience,” Stewart says. “Rex is a consummate professional who demonstrates passion for the values of public service and is a pleasure to work with. He was most deserving of the Boorsma Award and truly represents what it stands for.”

The award was presented at a luncheon at the Southeastern Conference for Public Administration (SECoPA) in Charleston, North Carolina. When he accepted the award, Facer spoke about what drives him to be engaged internationally: his desire to improve government institutions and to help people flourish by using and strengthening core principles.

Regarding his nomination for the award, Facer says, “Some of the other people who have received the award are very significant in the discipline of public administration. I’m not sure I measure up to their stature, but it is extremely flattering to be included in the same list.”