Faculty member recognized with lifetime achievement award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.— William Hartman, professor of education, received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Education Finance Conference (NEFC) in Louisville, Kentucky, in April 2014. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an exceptional individual who has devoted his or her professional career to enhancing the funding of education.

Hartman’s interest in school budgeting and finance started when he completed his doctoral dissertation in educational administration and policy analysis at Stanford University in 1979. He has spent the last 35 years teaching and researching in the areas of resource allocation in education, school budgeting practices, education finance and equity, special education and quality management.

Hartman has taught at Penn State for 28 years. There he has served as professor-in-charge of the educational leadership program from 1991 to 1993 and again from 2008 to 2010. He also co-founded and served as executive director and as director of research for the Center for Total Quality Schools at Penn State.

In 1999, Hartman received the Graduate Faculty Teaching Award for excellence in both teaching at the graduate level and in supervising thesis work of graduate students. In recent years, he has developed and taught several online courses for the teacher leadership and principal certification programs of the educational leadership program.

Continually updating his expertise in the field of K-12 public school finance, researching areas of policy importance and disseminating information are key to Hartman’s balanced career as an education professional. He stressed that sharing knowledge is especially important because it advances research in the field, engages students in understanding concepts and practices of educational finance and assists school districts and states in implementing more effective budgeting and resource allocation.

Over the course of his career, Hartman has authored eight books, 50 articles, 72 papers, 149 presentations and received numerous grants. Additionally, he serves on the editorial advisory boards of Journal of Education Finance, Educational Considerations and Education Finance and Policy.

Hartman said he encourages and supports his doctoral students to present their dissertations at national conferences on school finance and budgeting. This has led to many co-authored articles with his students. These efforts are designed to introduce them to future professional colleagues, assist their careers with early publications and spread their research findings across the field.

Hartman said his goal is to prepare his students with a general and technical sense of finance and budgeting, whether they aim for academic or administrative careers. He said this subject matter has utility and important implications for both policy makers and practitioners alike.

“To be an effective professor of school finance, you certainly have to know the concepts, theories and research in the field and to be able to articulate these clearly for your students,” said Hartman. “But one also has to understand the students’ perspectives. You need to show how school finance relates to what school- and district-level administrators do in their positions, and how their operations can be improved.”

Another way Hartman shares and sharpens his knowledge is by consulting for state, national and international departments of education, school districts and financial groups.

“Consulting gets me into the real world of school boards, superintendents and business managers. It is essential for keeping me grounded in reality. It also allows me to bring current issues back into class and to build upon these experiences for further research activities,” Hartman said.

Currently, Hartman is studying in detail the new fiscal reality that schools are now facing. Budget cuts over the past six years have forced principals, superintendents and school boards to manage their schools with fewer resources and revised attitudes. He and a colleague, a former student, are studying the 500 districts in Pennsylvania to determine the likelihood of their fiscal distress in the near future.

“Now more than any time in the past, both policymakers and school-district leaders have to understand the financial limitations facing school districts in the form of restricted revenues and expanded expenditures, many of them mandated. Balancing their operations to meet budget requirements, while maintaining quality educational programs for students will be the key to school districts’ future survival.”

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Last Updated August 19, 2014