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5 Questions with Faculty: Jeffrey D. Straussman

Jeffrey Straussman specializes in public management and policy incountries in transition. And he plays a mean trombone. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 25, 2016) — Jeffrey D. Straussman is a professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy at the
Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. He came to UAlbany in 2006 as dean of Rockefeller College, a position he held until 2011, when he went on leave for two years to the National University of Singapore. He returned as a professor at the College. Straussman holds a Ph.D in Political Science from the City University of New York and being a fellow in the National Academy of Public Administration

His work on public affairs in transitional countries has resulted in several publications — and several trips to Macedonia, Israel, Venezuela, the Czech Republic, China, Bulgaria, Brazil, Portugal, Malaysia, India and Vietnam. He’s also worked extensively in Hungary and is known to cook stuffed cabbage — his mother’s recipe and a tribute to his Hungarian heritage.

What are your working on now?

I am working on a series of papers with David Guinn from the Center of International Development about governance practices in developing and fragile countries. This research fits nicely into the broad field in international development. I am excited about it because it blends academic/conceptual work with real on-the-ground applications and also resonates with people on bi-lateral donor agencies such as the United States Agency for International Development.

What made you decide to pursue your field?

I have always been interested in public management and policy in other countries, especially countries in transition. My interest was especially heightened when I was a Fulbright Scholar in Hungary in 1992.

What’s your favorite class to teach?

My favorite class to teach is Comparative and International Public Management, which is now a core course in our Master of International Affairs (MIA) program. I enjoy teaching this class because I can bring my knowledge of development and my basic knowledge of a lot of countries to the students. I also want our UAlbany students to be less U.S.-centric and this course helps me to achieve that goal.

What was your first job?

My first job out of college was working as a group claims adjuster with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. While I did not stay there long, it gave me an appreciation of how a large organization works and how a service-oriented company can still operate with a production-line approach.

My first full time academic job was at State University College, Fredonia, in the political science department.

What’s one thing students might be surprised to know about you?

I play trombone for pleasure and I am a pretty decent amateur musician both in jazz and classical music.

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