KU Pub Admin Dept

John Nalbandian

John Nalbandian is a faculty member in the School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) at the University of Kansas.  He also serves as a Courtesy Professor of Practice at Virginia Tech University. He came to Kansas in 1976 from Los Angeles, where he earned his Ph.D. at the University of Southern California.  He served as department chair from 1983-1988 and again from 2000-2008 before the department became a School.

SPAA specializes in training students for careers in local government.   US News and World Report has rated it as the number one local government MPA program in the country.

In addition to his faculty position, he served on the city council in Lawrence from 1991-1999.  The council elected him mayor in 1993-1994 and again in 1996-1997

In addition to numerous articles on city management, in 1991 he wrote Professionalism in Local Government: Transformations in the Roles, Responsibilities, and Values of City Managers and now in its sixth edition with Donald Klingner and Jared Llorens: Public Personnel Management: Conflict and Compromise.

He has spoken nationwide, and in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, to elected officials, professional staff, and academic audiences about:

Council-Staff Relations

High Performance Governing Body

Contemporary Trends in Local Government

Professor Nalbandian has been honored on two occasions by the International City Management Association—as an honorary member and as recipient of the Stephen B. Sweeney award for local government education.  The Kansas Association of Parks and Recreation recognized him in 1996 as "Distinguished Elected Official." He was honored with a teaching excellence award by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration in 1997 and was inducted into the National Academy of Public Administration for lifetime contributions to public administration.  In 2007 the Kansas Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration honored him as the "Public Administrator of the Year." And, also in 2007 the National Forum for Black Public Administrators named him and spouse, Carol, as "Co-Educators of the Year." In 2008, the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce recognized him and Carol, with the Buford Watson, Jr. community service award; and also in 2008 he received a Kemper university wide teaching award at KU. In 2010 the American Society for Public Administration and the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration awarded him the Charles H. Levine award for lifetime accomplishments in teaching, research, and service. In 2012, he was recognized with the Chancellor's Career Teaching Award at the University of Kansas and the School of Public Affairs and Administration established the John and Carol Nalbandian Scholarship recognizing the Nalbandians' contributions to professionalism in local government.

And in 2009, his grandson, George, proclaimed him the "best grandpa, ever!" [I am his only grandfather.]

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