Board of Governors Distinguished Professor Norma M. Riccucci has been selected as this year’s Herbert Simon Award recipient by the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA). The award honors a scholar who has made a significant career contribution to the scientific study of bureaucracy. As this year’s awardee, Riccucci will deliver the Herbert Simon Award lecture, "Applying Critical Race Theory to Studies on Bureaucracy and Public Administration," during the 78th Annual MPSA Political Science Conference, which will be held virtually April 14-18.
According to this year’s Herbert Simon Award selection committee, “Riccucci has been at the forefront of two of the most important and timely areas in the study of the bureaucracy: street-level bureaucracy and representative bureaucracy (as well as how these two areas interact).” Street-level bureaucracy is a subset of a public or municipal institution whose employees have direct contact with members of the general public. Street-level bureaucrats typically include frontline workers and policy implementers such as law enforcement officers, teachers, social workers, and legal-aid lawyers. Representative bureaucracy focuses on identity (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, etc.) to help ensure the interests of all groups are considered in bureaucratic decision-making processes. In addition to her study of representative and street-level bureaucracies, Riccucci’s research interests include social equity and the employment patterns of underrepresented groups.
“Dr. Riccucci has spent more than 35 years conducting research, teaching, and honing her skill. She carved out a niche in the area of bureaucracy and in due time she became the world's expert in that area,” said Charles E. Menifield, dean of the School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) at Rutgers University–Newark. “She is a great example for our students and faculty on so many levels. I am very proud of her and am extremely happy that she is a faculty member in SPAA.”
A highly accomplished scholar and academic, Riccucci is the author of numerous publications and books including, most recently, Policy Drift: Shared Powers and the Making of U.S. Law and Policy (New York University Press, 2018). Additional publications include: Public Administration: Traditions of Inquiry and Philosophies of Knowledge (Georgetown University Press), which received the 2012 Best Book Award from the Research section of the American Society of Public Administration (ASPA)); How Management Matters: Street Level Bureaucrats and Welfare Reform (Georgetown University Press), which received the 2009 Best Book Award from the public administration section of the American Political Science Association); and Managing Diversity in Public Sector Workforces (Westview Press). She also is co-author of the leading public personnel textbook in the field of public administration.
The Herbert Simon Award is just one of many honors Riccucci has received during her esteemed career. Her other major accolades include the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) William Duncombe Excellence in Doctoral Education Award; Public Management Research Association (PMRA) H. George Frederickson Award for Career Contributions in Public Management Research; Distinguished Research Award jointly given by NASPAA and ASPA; ASPA’s Charles H. Levine Memorial Award for Demonstrated Excellence in Teaching, Research, and Service to the Community; ASPA’s Dwight Waldo Career Research Award; ASPA’s Herbert Simon Award for Best Book; and American Political Science Association’s John Gaus Award for a lifetime of exemplary scholarship in the joint tradition of political science and public administration. Moreover, in 2005, Riccucci was elected a Fellow of the Congressionally-chartered National Academy of Public Administration.
In the area of service, Riccucci has held mentoring and leadership roles for national and international journals, conferences, and associations. She has served as a past president and board member of PMRA.
Riccucci earned her doctoral degree from Syracuse University, her master’s degree from the University of Southern California, and her bachelor’s degree from Florida International University. She has been a SPAA faculty member for more than 18 years.