From baseball to policy: The journey of leading public administration scholar Barry Bozeman

May 14, 2015

The only diploma hanging on the wall in Barry Bozeman’s office is from Palm Beach Junior College.

“My goal was to be a baseball player and the better teams tended to be at community colleges,” he said. Bozeman attended the college on a baseball scholarship. Barry Bozeman Download Full Image

Bozeman was the first in his family to go to college. Today, he is one of the nation’s leading scholars in public administration and the Arizona Centennial Professor of Technology Policy and Public Management in the School of Public Affairs, part of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

“There was never any point at which I considered that I would not go to college, which was a little odd because no one in my extended family had ever gone to college,” he said. “My parents were both incredibly smart and hard-working but neither had much education.”

He went on to attend Florida Atlantic University, where he decided to get more serious about school and made his way from being an average student to a 4.0 academic.

“When I got my undergraduate degree, my parents were so proud I thought they were going to burst,” he said.

Then he told them he was going to graduate school in political science.

“I’ll never forget that conversation,” he said. “My dad was completely mystified that I was going to keep going to school after attaining the highest accolade possible.”

These types of disconnects are not only experienced by first-generation students, but also part of a larger interaction among race, class and gender, Bozeman says.

Bozeman has always been interested in students who don’t come from families with a large amount of social capital or any post-graduate education.

“They do run into issues that professors don’t normally think about – such as having families that have never even heard about graduate degrees in social sciences or maybe don’t understand why someone would want to delay getting married or getting a job,” he said.

“If you know what you want to achieve, don’t compromise. What often happens is that people have a real passion for something but think ‘I don’t have a chance to do this,’” he said.

Bozeman’s own path led him to public administration – primarily studying organizations and why they do or do not work. 

“I was attracted to thinking about organizations not just in terms of how we instrument and manage them, but thinking about them theoretically as populations of organizations that have characteristics and how they relate to one another,” he said.

He was one of the first to use the term ‘publicness.’

Bozeman says that publicness is not about government, business or nonprofit, but the extent to which political authority influences an organization and how behavior is governed by either public or market mechanisms.

Bozeman’s Center for Organization Research and Design at ASU looks at increasingly complex organizational structures, particularly technology- and knowledge-based entities that do not fit the traditional model of public or private.

Their work is focused on the various dimensions of publicness – such as personnel decisions, budget, structure – and how to measure them and the implications for outcomes.

His work has practical application for students contemplating a career route.

“Don’t choose what you want to do by the formal legal status of an organization,” Bozeman said. “There are good and corrupt organizations in each sector. Be true to what kind of organization you want to be in. Give yourself a chance to do something you really value.”

Heather Beshears

director marketing and communications, College of Public Service and Community Solutions


ASU blue bag recycling program keeps trash out of landfill

May 14, 2015

Not sure if your shiny granola bar wrapper belongs in the blue recycle bin, but you don’t want to send it to the landfill?

The perfect way to keep your wrapper from reaching the landfill is to request a blue bag from the ASU Recycling Program team. Download Full Image

“With the ASU community’s support, during 2014, ASU achieved a 26.5 percent waste diversion rate. For instance, we diverted more than 1,200 pounds of polystyrene, which could fill an average-size one-bedroom apartment,” said Alana Levine, ASU Recycling and Solid Waste manager. “Our recycling team believes blue bag use can boost our landfill waste diversion efforts.”

Blue bags are available to offices and departments on the ASU Tempe campus. The bags complement the university’s widespread blue bin commingled recycling program. The following items are blue-bag friendly: 

• batteries (dry cell, non-rechargeable)
• coffee pods (one-time use)
• cosmetics containers
• shiny plastic bags
• shiny plastic wrappers
• small eWaste (such as calculators and MP3 players)
• small toner cartridges
• spent pens & markers
• used plastic gift cards
• water filters

“On average, about 350 tons of waste per month collected at the Tempe campus goes to the landfill,” said Lucas Mariacher, ASU Recycling Program technician. “We are taking recycling to a whole new level with the blue bag program. Before program launch, the majority of items that are accepted in blue bins were being landfilled.”

Blue bag genesis

ASU’s Recycling team developed the blue bag program from employee demand and is hoping to boost use among the ASU community. The team so far has placed 275 blue bags in 52 buildings on the Tempe campus since January. Bags are provided free of charge.

The program also can accept new materials based on demand.

“For example, if university employees were generating a ton of toothbrushes, we could add the brushes to the list of acceptable blue bag items,” Mariacher said.

It’s Mariacher’s hope that the blue bag program can expand to the ASU Downtown Phoenix, Polytechnic, and West campuses – including the Thunderbird School – in the fall 2015 semester.

A wrapper’s journey

Any student worker, faculty or staff member on the Tempe campus can request as many bags as they would like to place in their work areas.

There are two blue bag sizes. A one-and-a-half-gallon size is ideal for an individual desk or in a cubicle. A larger, five-and-a-half-gallon blue bag is appropriate for larger common areas such as kitchens and break rooms.

Disposable coffee pods are considered “wet” items and should be bagged separately and then placed in the blue bags before pickup by the Recycling team.

Dry cell batteries also require separate bagging. Recycling team members suggest placing batteries in old sandwich baggies that are free from food or other debris. If baggies are not available, plastic grocery bags are acceptable for both spent coffee pods and battery disposal.

Levine noted a partnership with ASU Environmental Health and Safety that ensures batteries collected in blue bags are safely processed to reclaim recyclable metals.

Once blue bags are full, users should email the Recycling team to arrange pickup. The team usually can empty the bags within a few business days’ following a pick-up request. The team is in the process of designing new weekly pick-up routes due to the abundance of materials being collected.

When the blue bags collection is complete, the waste is sorted by hand. Some blue bag items are shipped to TerraCycle. The New Jersey-based company receives products and packaging that is problematic to recycle from 22 countries around the globe. The company repurposes recycled items into new products from everything to soap dishes to totes and even recycle bins.

Blue bags benefit zero waste

ASU community members who use the blue bag recycling program help the university’s zero waste goals. ASU defines zero solid waste as a 90 percent reduction in waste sent to the landfill from current business-as-usual status.

To achieve zero waste, ASU encourages diversion and aversion tactics. Waste is averted through reduced consumption and diverted from the landfill through recycling, composting, and reusing or repurposing.

“It is an all-hands approach to attain ASU’s zero waste goals,” Mariacher said. “We need everyone to recycle as much as possible. Including blue bags in your recycling routine is a small effort that affects larger change.”

Sun Devils are encouraged to contact the Recycling team with comments and ideas about expanding the blue bag program via email

Wendy Craft

Marketing and communications manager, Business and Finance Communications Group