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Robert Shepherd

Canadian public management; comparative public management; audit and federal program evaluation; performance measurement and management; First Nations governance; ethics and accountability in government

Phone:613-520-2600 x 2257
Office:5126 Richcraft Hall


Associate Professor
Graduate Supervisor, Public Policy and Program Evaluation

Honours BA in Politics and Business Administration (Brock University, Canada)
MA in Public Policy and Administration (Carleton University, Canada)
MBA (University of Ottawa, Canada)
PhD in Political Science and Public Administration (University of Toronto, Canada)

Robert’s research spans public management and governmental reform, Indigenous public management, ethics, and policy and program evaluation. He is interested in how public accountability and oversight systems intersects to improve overall public management and governance systems. In addition, his research extends to understanding how governmental program evaluation functions can improve public policy and decision-making. Improving ethics in government also contributes to governmental legitimacy and democracy.

My research focuses on the interplay between ethics in government, oversight and public confidence. Building on the thoughts of Jeremy Bentham, I believe that systems that enhance transparency in decision-making make governments and their concomitant systems behave and work as they were intended. Making governments accountable means building a public service culture of integrity, service, and the willingness to provide forthright advice to elected leaders. My research into areas of ethics in public management, accountability, governance reform and program evaluation come together in various ways, including ultimately building a public service culture of honesty and integrity. Recent reform efforts in areas such as performance measurement, deliverology, evaluation, and audit provide fertile ground for studying how these oversight systems can make a difference to improving public confidence in government. 

Selected Recent Publications

Shepherd, Robert and Katherine Graham. “Identifying Key Epistemological Challenges in Indigenous Contexts: Achieving Bimaadiziwin through Youth Futures.” Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, 34(3), 2020, 442-63.

Shepherd, Robert and Pamela McCurry. “It’s Time for the Trudeau government to fully engage Canadians and Indigenous Communities in the conversation around its nation-to-nation agenda,” Policy Options, 31 October 2018.

Shepherd, Robert. “Expenditure Reviews and the Federal Experience: Program Evaluation and Its Contribution to Assurance Provision.” Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, 32(3) 2017, 347-370.

Shepherd, Robert. “Indigenous Peoples and the Reconciliation Agenda: Funding, Accountability and Risk.” In Christopher Dunn (ed.). The Handbook of Canadian Public Administration, 3rd Edition. Toronto: Oxford, 2018, 246-68.

Shepherd, Robert and Christopher Stoney. “Policy Analysis in the Federal Government: Conditions and Renewal Initiatives in the Trudeau Era.” In Laurent Dobuzinskis and Michael Howlett, Policy Analysis in Canada, 3rd Edition. Toronto: Policy Press, 2018.

“The Changing Nature of the Relationship Between Public Servants and Ministers.” In Thomas Klassen, et. al. (Eds.), Handbook of Global Public Policy and Administration. New York: Routledge, 2016.

“The Program Evaluation Function: Uncertain Governance and Effects.” In Thomas Klassen, et. al. (Eds.), Handbook of Global Public Policy and Administration. New York: Routledge, 2016.

“Something Borrowed, Something New: Lobby Legislation and Regulation at the Provincial Level.” Canadian Public Administration. In Press. 2016.

“How Ottawa Controls: Harper Era Strategic Reviews in the Context of the 1993-1996 Liberal Program Review.” In G. Bruce Doern and Christopher Stoney (eds.), How Ottawa Spends 2013/2014. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013.

“Departmental Audit Committees and Governance: Improving Scrutiny or Allaying Public Perceptions of Poor Management?,” Canadian Public Administration, 54 (2) June 2011, 277-304.

“In Search of a Balanced Evaluation Function: Getting to Relevance,” Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, Volume 26(2), 2011, 1-47. Special Edition, with four commentaries.

SSHRC Research Ongoing

Partnership Grant, “Transformation Governance Initiative,” Co-Investigator, 2020-

Partnership Grant, “Indigenous Youth Futures Partnership,” Co-Investigator, 2016-

Selected Government Reports and Papers

Barbados. Caribbean Development Bank. “Evaluation of the Policy Based Lending Program.” September 2016 to March 2018. With Centre for Trade Policy & Law, 2018.

Red Tape Reduction Commission: Assessing Solutions for Red Tape Reduction in the Areas of Risk Assessment and Regulatory Implementation. TBS, July-September 2011.

Policy Research Initiative:  Place-Based Evaluation in a First Nations Context, January-April 2011.

Privy Council Office: Evaluation of the Canada@150 Program, 2009.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency: Policy Evaluation of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), 2007.

Canada School of Public Service: Evaluation of the CSPS portion of the Public Service Modernization Act (PSMA) Learning Strategy, 2005.

Recent Teaching (2018 to 2020)

PADM5123: Public Management in Practice

PADM5412: Ethics and Accountability in Government

PADM5420: Introduction to Public Policy and Program Evaluation

PADM5441: Introduction to Public Policy and Program Evaluation (Online Diploma Program)

PADM5446: Issues and Cases in Policy and Program Evaluation (Online Diploma Program)

Recent Ongoing and Completed PhD Supervisions

Whistleblowing Regimes in Comparative Perspective, Fall 2015 –

Evaluating the Impact of Economic Development Agencies in Canada, Fall 2014 –

Evaluating the Impact of Innovation Research Programs in Canada, Fall 2013 –

Mark Davis, “Changing Course: Commercializing Canadian Airport, Port and Rail Governance – 1975 to 2000,” November 2015.

Bruce Currie-Alder, “Research for Development Funders in the UK, Australia and Canada,” March 2014.

Editorial Board Memberships

Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, 2016-

Canadian Public Administration, 2016–

Canadian Government Executive Magazine, 2017-

Academic Offices

Supervisor, Diploma in Public Policy & Program Evaluation (Carleton), 2011-

Chair, Consortium of Universities for Evaluation Education (CUEE), 2010-2015

President, Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration (CAPPA), 2016-2018

Board Member, Performance & Planning Exchange (PPX), 2011-2017

Selected Professional Training Initiatives

Max Bell Foundation, “Evaluation of the Max Bell School of Public Policy,” September 2019-

Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation, “Project Management in Audit Functions,” March 2020-

Performance & Planning Exchange, Training Program in Evaluation, May 2018-

Certificate in Policy and Program Evaluation, Joint Carleton and University of Victoria program for public officials in the Northwest Territories (Designed and Taught 2 of 4 courses), January 2015 – December 2016.

International Program for Developmental Evaluation Training (IPDET), “Logic Modeling” Workshop,” 2014-2018

Government of Kazakhstan, Academy of Public Administration, “Program Evaluation and Performance Measurement Systems in Comparative Perspective,” July 2012.

Ontario Power Authority, Annual Training Program for Ontario Energy Evaluators, 2011-2014.

Canada School of Public Service (CSPS), Various Including How Ottawa Works, 2003-2015.