Graduate Program in Public Policy and Administration
PPA 200: Introduction to Public Policy and Administration

Fall 1998 --- Section 2

Peter M. Detwiler, Instructor
Mendocino Hall, Room 4005
Monday evenings, 7:00 - 9:50 p.m.

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This introductory graduate course explores the theories and practices of making and administering public policy. We begin by reviewing traditional and critical views of the field. After inquiring into ethical considerations, we explore the processes of policy development and decision-making. With those issues in mind, we then sift through the organization of, and policy making in, executive, legislative, and judicial settings. Later, we look at emerging California policy issues and career survival. We close with group presentations and reviewing each other’s work. By the end of the fall semester, you will have a solid foundation for the rest of the MPPA program. You will be able to apply formal theories and your readings to actual bureaucratic experiences.

METHODS. The course offers you several ways to learn and to apply your lessons. Our weekly meetings will usually begin with a review of that week's topic and then shift into a guided discussion of the assigned readings. You will contribute actively to the seminar discussions and respond to each other’s contributions. Lectures, guest speakers, and group presentations add variety.

ADVISING. When you need answers to questions or want some advice, you can arrange to meet me at 5 o’clock Monday afternoons in my campus office in Tahoe Hall, Room 3029. You can call me at my Capitol office (445-9748) or at home (455-4574). You can also fax material to my Capitol office (327-9478) or send me e-mail messages at home

ASSIGNMENTS. The reading assignments offer a variety of formats: journal articles that report research, reference works that present frameworks, texts that transmit knowledge, and case studies to provoke reactions. Quite frankly, the readings are extensive because I believe that graduate education is inherently self-education. PPA 200 provides you with the framework and support to educate yourself about public policy and administration. It is essential that you come to class having read the assigned materials and prepared to discuss them with your colleagues. Memo A in the Course Reader suggests ways to cope with these assignments. The specific assignments appear in this syllabus.

The six writing assignments include an editing exercise, a short theory paper, an essay exploring an ethical conflict, a paper profiling a policy entrepreneur, a reorganization memo, and a group briefing binder. You must turn in your papers on the assigned dates. I will penalize a late paper a full letter grade for each day that it is late.

In addition to reviewing your papers' substance, I reward clarity, brevity, and organization. Because I place a premium on clear and lively writing, you should frequently consult Strunk & White's The Elements of Style, one the required books.

Policy analysis and program management are rarely solitary experiences. Professionals collaborate to succeed. That's why the course uses class participation and requires a group project. You should come to each class prepared to lead a discussion on that week's readings, if called upon. Also, you should come prepared to ask questions of your colleagues and respond to each other’s questions and arguments.

MORE ADVICE. Besides this syllabus, you should read four memos in the Course Reader that provide more detailed advice about your writing assignments and the group project:

Memo A suggests ways to approach our readings.
Memo B shares my advice for successful writing.
Memo C describes five of the writing assignments in detail.
Memo D explains the group project and presentation assignment.
Memo E offers the extra credit opportunity.

GRADES. Your semester grade will reflect this schedule:

Editing exercise     5%
Theory review paper     5%
Ethics essay     15%
Policy entrepreneur paper     15%
Reorganization memo     10%
Group project     25%
Course participation     25%
(Extra credit)     (5%)

READING LIST. The semester's readings consist of a Course Reader and seven books. The Hornet Bookstore stocks the books and I will explain how to obtain the Course Reader.

Eugene Bardach, The Eight-Step Path of Policy Analysis, Berkeley Academic Press.

Christopher Matthews, Hardball, Harper & Row.

John W. Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies 2nd Edition, Harper Collins.

Charles M. Price & Charles G. Bell, California Government Today 5th Edition, Wadsworth.

Jay M. Shafritz & Albert C. Hyde, Classics of Public Administration 4th Edition, Brooks Cole.

Richard J. Stillman II, Public Administration 6th Edition, Houghton Mifflin.

William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White, The Elements of Style 3rd Edition, Macmillan.

SCHEDULE AND ASSIGNMENTS. Here is our weekly schedule, along with your specific assignments for the semester.

August 31: Introductions. Who are these people? What are you supposed to learn between now and December 14? Our first session begins with self-introductions and an overview of the readings and the other assignments. You take home the editing exercise.

September 7: No Class. Enjoy your Labor Day holiday but use this week to read ahead.

September 14: What Is Public Administration? What do people mean when they say "public administration"? Has the term's meaning changed over time? Preparing to answer this question, you read:

Stillman: Chapter 1.
Classics: Appleby (122), Allison (383), Lipsky (401).
Strunk & White: Introduction, Chapters 2 and 5.
Course Reader: "Memo A: Coping With Your Reading Assignments."
"Memo B: Recommendations For Successful Writing."

DUE ON THIS DATE is the editing exercise from the first week of class.

September 21: Traditional Views. Where did this field come from? Do its origins still influence our current thinking about public policy and administration? This week we look back at what the founders thought. To prepare for this week's discussions, you read:

Stillman: Chapters 2 and 3.
Classics: Goodnow (27), Taylor (30), White (44), Gulick (81), Kaufman (289).

September 28: Rethinking The Field. More recent writers have been re-thinking the future and the foibles of public administration. How did these later writers apply new theories and research findings to the founders' work? Are these second thoughts convincing? Prepare for this discussion of some critical views of public administration by reading:

Stillman: Chapter 4.
Classics: Maslow (114), Simon (127), Waldo (142), McGregor (192), Bennis (242),
Lowi (302), Fredrickson (329), Moe (458), Barzelay (491).

DUE ON THIS DATE is your theory review paper which explains how your agency reflects traditional and modern views of public administration.

October 5: Public Ethics and Personal Values. How do our personal values carry over into our public behavior? Are they separate? Can you separate them? We prepare for this conversation by reading:

Stillman: Chapters 15 and 16.
Classics: Herring (76), Mosher (357), Thompson (444).

DUE ON THIS DATE is your ethics essay which explores a conflict between your agency's public policy and your personal values.

October 12: Policy Development. Where do public policies come from? How do we know when an idea’s time has come? What do the rationalists say? What’s inside that garbage can? How can we open those windows? Preparing for this seminar, you read:

Kingdon: Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies (entire book).
Classics: Lindblom (198), Katz & Kahn (209).

October 19: Policy Advising. How can we use these concepts when we make public policy? How can we speak truth to power? The week's readings include:

Bardach: The Eight-Step Path (entire book).
Stillman: Chapters 7 and 9.
Classics: Brownlow (90), Hoover Commission (154), Dror (254), Meltsner (453),
Sharkansky (514).

October 26: Decisions and Decision Making. Who makes decisions? How do they do it? These readings prepare us to discuss the week's topic:

Stillman: Chapters 6 and 8.
Classics: Follett (53).

DUE ON THIS DATE is your policy entrepreneur paper, drawing on Kingdon.

November 2: Executive Power. Organization matters! This week's seminar looks two related topics: executive agencies and intergovernmental relations. The readings focus on three questions: What is the structure of public agencies? What do we know about executive organizations? How do public officials conduct intergovernmental relations? To prepare for these discussions, you read:

Price & Bell: Chapters 8, 9, and 12.
Stillman: Chapters 5, 10, and 14.
Classics: Grodzins (237), Wright (578).

November 9: Legislative Processes. How do legislators organize themselves to develop policy? This week's session focuses on an extended discussion of legislative processes. I offer an informal (and optional) tour of the State Capitol. To prepare for this week, you read:

Stillman: Chapters 12 and 13.
Price & Bell: Chapters 4, 5, 7, and 10.
Classics: Downs (262), Rivlin (342), Pressman & Wildavsky (353).
Course Reader: "An Approach To Policy Analysis."
"Two Dozen Steps To The Committee Analysis."

DUE ON THIS DATE is your reorganization memo proposing structural changes for your agency.

November 16: The Neglected Branch? Neglected at the peril of executives and legislators, the judicial branch influences every aspect of policy making. A judge joins us to discuss how the courts exert their influence. To prepare for this conversation with our guest, you read:

Price & Bell: Chapter 11.
Classics: Rosenbloom (432).
Course Reader: Moe & Gilmour, "Rediscovering the Principles of Public Administration."
Spicer & Terry, "Administrative Interpretation of Statutes."
Lee & Greenlaw, "The Legal Evolution of Sexual Harassment."

November 23: California Policy Issues. Where is this Golden State headed? What are the demographic, fiscal, and political trends that will influence the development and implementation of public policies in the coming century? This week's readings include:

Price & Bell: Chapters 1, 2, and 6.
Classics: Krislov (364), Stivers (481), Ingraham (567).
Course Reader: Guy, "Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Backward."
Murray, "The Role Demands and Dilemmas…"

November 30: Career Survival. How do people find their way into the public service? Why do some thrive while others merely survive? Senior government officials join us for a very candid exchange about their careers and yours. The readings include:

Matthews: Hardball (entire book).
Stillman: Chapter 11.
Classics: Mosher (420).
Course Reader: Miles, "The Origin and Meaning of Miles' Law."
Caiden, "What Really is Public Maladministration?"

December 7: Group Presentations: This week the working groups brief us on their policy proposals. Accompanied by your group's briefing book, which is DUE ON THIS DATE, your group sets context, describes the policy problem to be solved, explains its policy proposal, and then responds to questions. We’ll use a campus studio to videotape your briefings.

December 14: Wrapping-Up. In a final, shorter session, we will review the videotapes of last week's group presentations. You will complete the University's "Teaching Performance Survey" and then have a chance to respond to my own less formal questionnaire about our semester together.

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