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Howard McCurdy

Professor Department of Public Administration and Policy

Dr. Howard McCurdy is professor of public affairs in the public administration and policy department at American University in Washington, D.C. Public management, organization theory, science policy, and financial management are the focus of Professor McCurdy’s teaching and research. An expert on space policy, he recently completed a second edition of his award-winning Space and the American Imagination. A co-authored book on Robots in Space explores the human-machine debate, while Faster, Better, Cheaper provides a critical analysis of cost-cutting initiatives in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. An earlier study of NASA’s organizational culture, Inside NASA, won the 1994 Henry Adams prize for that year’s best history on the federal government. Among his other publications are books on public administration, the space station decision, and the myth of presidential leadership. He is often consulted by the media on public policy issues and has appeared on national news outlets such as the Jim Lehrer News Hour, National Public Radio, and NBC Nightly News.


Ph.D. Cornell University
M.A. University of Washington
B.A. Univeristy of Washington

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SPA - Public Admin and Policy
Kerwin Hall - 326
Contact Info
(202) 885-6236

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For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


  • Fall 2018

    • PUAD-685 Topics in Policy Analysis/Mgmt: Science and Technology Policy
    • Description
  • Spring 2019

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications

  • McCurdy, Howard E. with David Rosenbloom, coeditor. 2006. Revisiting Waldo's Administrative State: Constancy and Change in Public Administration. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
  • McCurdy, Howard E. 2001. Faster, Better, Cheaper: Low-Cost Innovation in the U.S. Space Program. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • McCurdy, Howard E. 1997. Space and the American Imagination. Washington,DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.

AU Expert

Area of Expertise:

Space policy, American politics, science policy

Additional Information:

Howard E. McCurdy, professor of public administration and policy in the School of Public Affairs, specializes in space policy, the organizational culture of NASA, public administration, and American politics. He recently completed the second edition of Space and the American Imagination, published by Johns Hopkins University Press.  His previously coauthored Robots in Space: Technology, Evolution, and Interplanetary Travel deals with the issue of human versus automated flight. In 2001 he produced a critical analysis of NASA’s low-cost initiative Faster, Better, Cheaper. In 2006 he collaborated with AU colleague David Rosenbloom to produce Revisiting Waldo's Administrative State: Constancy and Change in Public Administration, which reassesses the political theory of American public administration. Additionally, McCurdy coedited Space Flight and the Myth of Presidential Leadership. An earlier book Inside NASA: High Technology and Organizational Change in the U.S. Space Program was awarded the 1994 Henry Adams Prize for the best book on the history of the federal government. His first book on space policy chronicled the history of The Space Station Decision. McCurdy publishes in journals such as Public Administration Review, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management,and Space Policy and has authored various book chapters and monographs. He is often consulted by the media on public policy and space policy issues and has appeared on PBS NewsHour, CNN's Newsmaker Saturday, and the NBC, ABC, and CBS evening news. He has been interviewed by VOA, NPR, BBC Radio, and the Orlando Sentinel, Houston Chronicle, New York Times, Washington Post,and others.

Media Relations
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.

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