2017 Keynote Speakers
Dr. Patricia Shields is a Professor in the Department of Political Science. She received her BA in Economics from the University of Maryland College Park (1973). She further pursued her study in Economics at Ohio State University by earning a Masters of Arts (1975) and finished her educational pursuit with a Ph.D. in Public Administration (1977). She began teaching at Texas State in1978 and received tenure in 1984. Since her Texas State career began, she has received many awards for excellence in teaching such as the National Association for Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, Leslie A Whittington Excellence in Teaching Award (2002), The Texas State Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching (2001), the Texas State Faculty Senate, Everette Swinney Teaching Award (2010) as well as the Professor of the Year Award from the Central Texas Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration (2006). She has taught 10 graduate and undergraduate courses including statistics, public finance, public policy, public sector economics and research methods. Currently she focuses on the MPA Program capstone process and has supervised over 300 Applied Research Projects, many of which have won national and regional awards. She has published over 50 articles and book chapters in subjects such as public pricing, cut back management, privatization, the sunset review process, military recruitment, conscription, women in the military, military families, expeditionary and peacekeeping forces and military bureaucracies. Recently she has focused on applying the philosophy of pragmatism to public administration and research methods in public administration. She has also published three editions of Step by Step: Building a Research Paper, a system, which transforms writing a research paper into managing a project. In 1984 she won the Texas State Presidential Seminar research award and in 2007 she won the Public Administration Review Laverne Burchfield Award for the best review essay. In addition, professionally, she serves on the Editorial Board forAdministration & Society and the Journal of Public Affairs Education. Finally, since 2001 she has served as Editor-in-Chief to Armed Forces and Society, the leading peer reviewed journal on civil-military relations.
Retired Staff Sergeant Eric Alva was one of the first troops to be deployed for the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and the first American wounded in the war. Stepping on a landmine just hours after the ground war began, Alva became the war's first Purple Heart recipient. After serving in the military for 13 years, Alva retired and returned to college. It was there that he took the momentous step of coming out as a gay man who had proudly served and sacrificed for his country. As the national spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign's effort to repeal the military's discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy — which they helped end in 2011 — Alva is now a popular speaker on diversity in the workplace, speaking at organizations such as Johnson & Johnson, Toyota, Raytheon, AOL, Union Pacific Railroad, and NASA. Alva continues to champion civil rights for all individuals and serves as a powerful role model for remaining true to one's self.