Sean Boots

Technology, public services, and people. But mostly people.

Joining Carleton University as a Public Servant-in-Residence

This past week I officially joined Carleton University as a Public Servant-in-Residence (PSIR), working with Prof. Amanda Clarke. I’m really thrilled to be joining the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA), and the faculty and staff have been tremendously welcoming. You can read more about what I’ll be doing on the SPPA website:

“Research and teaching on public management requires dialogue between the public sector and universities,” says SPPA Director Jennifer Stewart. “The Public Servant-in-Residence Initiative provides space for collaboration between academics and experienced public servants, which benefits faculty and students at SPPA.”

Boots will be working with SPPA Prof. Amanda Clarke and her team of research assistants and data scientists studying Trustworthy Digital Government. This research spans digital service teams in government, public service effectiveness and modernization, open government and transparency, and accountability and public confidence in the public sector. It provides an in-depth look at Canadian public sector capacity in the digital space, the role and influence of private sector firms, and the potential outcomes and consequences for public trust and Canadian society.

“Our students and faculty will benefit immensely from Sean’s time with us as a Public Servant-in-Residence,” says Clarke. “He brings a wealth of practical experience and a sharp, critical perspective on the big opportunities and challenges facing governments in the digital age. I’m really excited to have the chance to draw on Sean’s expertise to strengthen my teaching and research, and to support his research and writing during his time with us at SPPA.”

I’ve written before about bridging the technology-policy gap – how important it is to bring digital topics into public policy and admin programs, and likewise to bring a better understanding of government and public services into technology and design programs. Prof. Clarke is at the forefront of doing this in Canada, and friends and colleagues in digital services teams who have taken her courses or studied with her in the past are a testament to this. It’s a dream come true to be able to work with her.

The team at the Canada School of Public Service who manage the Public Servant-in-Residence program are absolute heroes; I’m really thankful for their support as this came together. I’m really grateful likewise to my managers and leadership at CDS and TBS for their support, particularly John, Nisa, and Anatole. To everyone who has encouraged and cheered me on (you know who you are!) I can’t thank you enough. I hope I can live up to everyone’s hopes and expectations in the months ahead (…just kidding, but not really!). And to my wife Heather, who months ago suggested I give Prof. Clarke a shout – you’re the very best, always.

I’ll be joining Carleton’s School of Public Policy and Administration remotely from here in Whitehorse; when my PSIR term wraps up in the fall I’ll return to my previous work at CDS.

More to come in future blog posts about what I’ll be researching and working on – thanks for reading!

A photo of Carleton University taken by the author from an upper floor of Dunton Tower in 2016, showing the edge of the university campus and Dow’s Lake along the Rideau Canal.