The field of public administration and policy faces ongoing calls to maintain its relevancy to public sector practice. A variety of innovations have thrived in the recent years, striving to fill the gap between theory and practice. Faculty-practitioner exchange is one such attempt. This study examines the micro dynamics of such exchange in Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs in China where the gap was seen to be particularly wide. Using qualitative methods, this study interviewed 13 faculty instructors in Chinese MPA programs with experience of government engagement. We found that the instructors were predominantly driven by a keen awareness of their weakness in real-world exposure. The government engagement experience boosted their self-efficacy when teaching in-service students, and the empathy developed between instructors and students augmented educational outcomes. The engagement service invigorated pedagogical innovations towards enhanced case teaching conducive to the co-production of practical knowledge with practitioners. The engagement service strengthened the faculty instructors’ awareness of the theory-practice gap and their appreciation of students’ needs. They became more cognizant of the usefulness of various theories and more capable of relating theory to practice. Copyright © 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
CitationHe, A. J., Liu, P., Fan, Y., & Liu, H. (2022). Sending professors to the field: Does faculty-practitioner exchange narrow the theory-practice gap in China’s MPA programs? Journal of Asian Public Policy. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/17516234.2022.2031091
- Policy education
- PG student publication