Over the past several decades, there have been limited opportunities for faculty members in public management, public policy, and related fields to move between the academy and the world of practitioners. The Pracademic Fellowship Program aims to address this gap by supporting mid-career faculty members to work in federal government agencies in the Washington, D.C. area. Pracademic fellows work directly with decision-makers involved in programs of their interest and get a first-hand vantage point of a federal agency’s decision-making environment. Participation in the Pracademic Fellowship Program enables faculty members to bring an enhanced understanding of real-world management challenges to their research and classroom.
What is "Pracademic"?
The term pracademic has come to symbolize a larger effort to reconnect and to reinvigorate the connection between the theoretical, academic side of the field to the applied, practitioner side.
Like many professional fields, public administration and policy have struggled to maintain a symbiotic relationship between the academics and the practitioners that compose the study and practice of the discipline. In order to develop a healthy and symbiotic relationship between academics and practitioners, it is necessary for both sides to build a reciprocal relationship that provides values to both participants. While the original pracademics were individuals that moved between the practice side of public administration as employees to the academic side as scholars, this is not as easy to accomplish as it once was. Opportunities to transition in and out of practice and the academy have sharply declined. Academic faculty find themselves in the position to need to find other ways to achieve an academic-practitioner balance. Building a reciprocal relationship is a necessary activity to becoming a modern pracademic. Faculty cannot view practitioners as only objects of their research—and instead need to find ways to provide value to those individuals.
Translating the scholarly research we conduct into tools and insights to improve practice can provide an important value added to our public servants working in areas we claim to be experts in. A modern pracademic can be someone that seeks to utilize the findings of scholarly research to better serve our public sector partners, improve service delivery, and offer innovative insights into creative policy options that might not be normally considered by career public servants. At the same time, scholars can gain a great deal of insights into how theory and practice do not always align in the real world when working directly with practitioners. When the complications of competing demands, shortened timeframes, and reduced resources are realized—academics often learn that how things actually work might not actually match the ways we think it should work. This exchange can lead to better research, better teaching, and better practice.
The APSA Pracademic Fellowship was designed to provide opportunities for faculty to work directly with practitioners who are in decisionmaking positions. The faculty members bring their academic knowledge about the relevant agency and its policy focus to the agency as they are exposed to the “real world” of the decisionmaking process.
Who is the Pracademic Fellowship Program for?
The program is open to faculty members in political science, public management, public policy, public administration, and related fields who are interested in engaging with the world of practitioners.
In the past, fellowship residencies have overlapped with faculty sabbatical opportunities, making the program particularly well-suited to mid-career faculty.
How are fellows placed?
The Pracademic Fellowship Committee works with fellows to secure placement in an agency of interest to them. Applicants should identify which agency or agencies they are interested in working with, and on which policy or program areas, in their applications. Applicants are also encouraged to make contact with potential host agencies to gauge interest in hosting a Pracademic Fellow. Applicants who have made initial contact with a potential host agency are encouraged to include that information in their application. If you have any questions about placement or how to initiate contact with an agency, please contact the Centennial Center at email@example.com
How long is a pracademic fellow’s residence?
The Pracademic Fellowship Program has a flexible start date and duration, which can work around the needs of the fellow and their placement agency. Typical fellowships last between one semester and one year. 2019 fellows may begin their residence in January, over the summer, or in the Fall.
What support does the Pracademic Fellowship offer?
The Pracademic Fellowship offers a stipend to supplement fellows’ sabbatical support from their home university. Fellows may also seek support from sponsoring institutions.
How Do I Apply?
To apply, you will need:
1. A curriculum vitae, including at least two references (names and email contact info only.
2. A statement of interest including:
- A brief summary of proposed plans (timing and duration of fellowship, potential home institution support, area in which you would like to work and if possible, agencies with which you would like to work)
- A description of how this experience would contribute to the applicant’s teaching and research.
- Optional: a brief description of any initial contact with a potential host agency, organization, or individual.
The Pracademic Fellowship Program is currently accepting applications for fellowships with start dates in the Summer or Fall of 2022, with fellowship lengths from 4 to 12 months possible. Applications are due by March 7, 2022. Please apply here.
Questions? Contact Abby Paulson at firstname.lastname@example.org