form of government graduate student symposium call for presentations is open

ICMA is proud to announce a call for proposals for a planned “Form of Government Graduate Student Symposium” to be held during the 2021 ICMA Annual Conference in Portland, OR. This event will enable graduate students to submit papers or presentations that will help guide our understanding of the council-manager form of government.

Any content that shapes our understanding of the council-manager/county manager form of government is welcome, and we are particularly interested in comparisons between the council-manager/county manager form of government and other form(s) of local government (mayor-council/county executive, commission, town meeting, etc.). Group projects, seminar papers, and original research may be submitted for consideration.

Suggested research questions include:


  • What is the nature and role of politics and administration in local government? How does this speak to the politics-administration dichotomy?
  • How might we measure and compare accountability across various forms of government? Which forms of government provide the greatest level of accountability?
  • Does form of government contribute to the success of government in developing and achieving long term goals/outcomes?
  • Do demographics, geographic location, population, political party affiliation, or other factors correlate to an affinity for one form of government over another?
  • How might form of government shape responsiveness of the local government to the needs of the public?

Proposals are due by July 30, 2021 and should be no more than 250 words in length (excluding bibliography) to

  • Address how the paper/presentation hopes to extend our understanding form of government.
  • Clearly articulate the methodology and any hypotheses/findings to be addressed in the paper/presentation.
  • Provide a 60-word abstract that engages attendees and demonstrates how the work will address the current condition of local government.

This is a great opportunity for graduate students to engage with practitioners, academics, and other graduate students as we collaborate to find ways to improve the quality of life of communities through effective government administration.

Selected proposals will be notified by September 1, 2021.

  • Accepted papers and presentations will be published online at
  • Authors/presenters will have the opportunity to present their research to ICMA members during the ICMA Annual Conference in October 2021 (ICMA will provide travel and lodging scholarships to accepted authors/presenters)
  • Papers will be considered for publication in ICMA’s PM print magazine.

Learn more about this competition and form of government in this recording of our Student Leadership Network Series.

Question can be sent to