The first issue of PAR may have been published in 1940, but prior to that a newsletter of the same name was published at the Syracuse Maxwell School in 1938. The newsletter served in part as a place for alumni updates, but also a space for debating the goals and methods of public administration education. In one article Dean William E. Mosher, Robert Hutchins and Charles S. Archer debated whether schools should even undertake training people in public administration. Their respective answers ranged from “Impossible!” to “Beware overexpansion,” to “Schools can do much.”1
Concurrently, public administrators and educators involved in the newsletter were planning the creation of an association and ASPA was formed. They decided to continue with a publication, but did not want it to be solely associated with any one school or institution. PAR was ultimately housed at the Public Administration Clearing House in Chicago.
Even in the early years PAR published critical articles on both theory and practice. Contributors took a broad view, eager to parse out the scope and framework for this new discipline and how it differed from other courses of study. They also wrote with an eye for how the issues being discussed fit into contemporary events of the day. During WWII in particular, authors discussed public administration in the context of the war, giving PAR an international perspective that would continue over the years.
One of the primary strengths of PAR is that it has provided a channel of critical communication between academics and practitioners to discuss trends and debate new ideas. It remains both topical and forward-thinking. In reviewing the history of PAR, we see the history of the discipline and of administration as a dynamic field around the world.
PAR 2013 Top Article Downloads by Country
PAR 2013 International Availability and Reach
Note: Graphs of Downloads and Licensed Sales from PAR 2012 Annual Report