CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SACRAMENTO
GRADUATE PROGRAM IN PUBLIC POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION
|PPA 200 - Introduction to Public Policy and
Mondays: 6:00-8:50 p.m.
Location: 1026 Mendocino Hall
Dr. Cristy Jensen
Course Content and Objectives
This is the introductory course in the Graduate Program and is designed to provide broad exposure to the history, values, conflicts, and challenges which have been characteristic of academic discourse and the practice of public policy and administration. PPA graduate students typically bring diverse academic backgrounds, with the majority having some organizational experience, either as interns/fellows or as professional analysts and administrators. The seminar will be organized to utilize that broad experiential and academic base through a variety of written and in class assignments. I also hope that you will work together with your fellow students in forming a unique learning community which can serve as a support for you both intellectually and personally.
Specific learning objectives include:
James Q. Wilson, Bureaucracy
Edward L. Lascher, Jr., The Politics of Automobile Insurance Reform
Mark Baldassare, When Government Fails: The Orange County Bankruptcy
Steven Rhoads, The Economists View of the World
Note: other readings/articles or internet resources will be assigned
Graduate seminars rely on the expectation that you will have completed the readings assigned and thought about the questions and issues which they have raised for you. Successful learning requires that you be an active learner, attend seminars regularly (no more than three absences permitted), submit papers on time, be an active participant in class discussions and be a good listener and questioner. As you might guess, quality is as critical as quantity. Absences which are not first cleared with me will be considered unexcused.
Short Papers: Four short papers are assigned as noted in the schedule. These papers are to be responsive to a set of questions, representing your initial thinking about the subject matter of the readings assigned. I am aware that this is difficult for some of you, to write a paper about issues which have not yet been discussed in class. Try to live with that anxiety and not let it immobilize you. The paper questions should help focus your reading. Because papers are 2-3 pages in length, please minimize the quotes (though be sure to reference the readings in an appropriate format) and learn to put others= thoughts into your own words.
Group Project/Presentation: I will be assigning groups of 3-4 students policy./administrative problems or challenges to stimulate group research and problem solving. The work will culminate in a group oral presentation (approximately 30-45 the last two weeks of the semester.
Final Paper: Select a concept/framework developed from the readings (you may develop your own amalgam if you wish). Use that framework to describe and explore an administrative or policy issue of interest to you (12-15 pages). Evaluate how well the framework matches the reality you know, what kinds of reality does it particularly illuminate? What kinds of reality does it blur? Where does this examination lead you? What questions are left unanswered? What new questions do you have?
Portfolio: Each student will be responsible for submitting a portfolio of their academic work during the semester. The portfolio will include, at a minimum, 1) selection of one of the short papers which includes a reflective essay on learning which occurred as a result of assignment and and 2) revision, as appropriate, of learning objectives, career goals, assessment of professional strengths and weaknesses. Note: for full time graduate students who do not yet or have not had a organization At home please consult with me before the second class meeting and we will find you one.
Class list: Each of you is encouraged to secure an e mail (saclink) account if you do not already have an e mail account. Secure an application form from the User Counter of the Science Building (3rd floor) or from the PPA Department Office. You may use the campus computer labs if you do not have access to a computer at work or at home. We will establish a class list serv to enhance our communication between class sessions, e.g. to clarify assignments, to answer student questions, and to announce events or availability of information.
Class attendance and participation
|August 30||Course Introduction, Expectations, and Review of Syllabus
|September 6||Labor Day � no class
|September 13|| Institutional Overview of American Government
and Emergence of Public Policy and Administration as a Field of Study and
What are the essential institutional features of American Government?
What impact have those features had on the development of political culture
in US? How are these structural and cultural features revealed in the
development of the profession and academic discourse of public policy
Read Federalist #10 (available on internet)
Explore the Internet locating 2 (either academic or professional) resources
for increasing your understanding of American Government or the Field
of Public Policy and Administration
|September 20|| Institutional Overview of California State and
|In what ways is California government unlike the
National structure? What is the legacy of the progressive period for Californias
political culture? What unique California contributions to the field of
public policy and administration? What myths about the Orange County bankruptcy
does Baldassare seek to expose and dismiss? What are the three factors to
which he attributes the fiscal crisis?
|Readings:|| Baldassare, Chapters 1-3
|Bring to class one article from any newspaper
(be sure to include the LA Times in your reading) which features a state
or local policy or administrative problem.
|September 27|| California Context: Part II
|How do the three factors Baldassare identifies
play out in the response to the crisis in Orange County? What are the larger
lessons to be learned? Could it happen again?
|Readings:||Baldassare, Chapters 4-9
|Check out the Legislative Analysts� 99-00 Perspectives
and Issues on their Web Page and the A pages of the Governor�s 99-00 Budget
to review to current thinking about State � Local Finance issues in California
|October 4|| Disciplinary Roots: Public Administration/Social
|What was the impetus for the growth of the field
of public administration? What were some of the early perspectives on organizations
which dominated the field? Values? What is the distinction which Wilson
makes between managers and executives? How do the distinctions between craft,
coping, procedural, and production organizations square with your experience?
|Readings:||JQWilson, Parts I and II and I
|Short Paper #1 Due: How does Wilson�s descriptive
framework apply to your organization? Pick 2-3 key elements and discuss/evaluate
|October 11|| Disciplinary Roots: continued
|Based on the last section of Wilson: where are
the common themes; where is the intersection of the organization and political
|Readings:|| JQ Wilson: Parts IV-VI
|October 18|| Disciplinary Roots: Political Science: The importance
|What is the subject matter of political science?
What contributions does it bring to our field? What unique questions? What
ways of knowing?
|Readings:|| Lascher Chapters 1-3
Mark Moore, What Sort of Ideas Become Public Ideas from Robert Reich, The Power of Public Ideas
|Short Paper # 2: What issues in California are
undergoing the re-envisioning which Moore describes? Identify a policy area
and a idea.
|October 25|| Disciplinary Roots: Political Science Continued:
Institutions Matter too
Lascher Chapters 4-
|November 1|| Disciplinary Roots: Economics
|What is the subject matter of economics? What
contributions does it make to our profession? What unique questions and
ways of knowing characterize economics?
|Readings:|| Rhoads, Part I
|Short Paper #3: Pick one of the Useful concepts
-- link to a policy issue you are interested in . What assistance does it
provide? What kinds of issues/problems does the framework raise?
|November 8|| Disciplinary Roots: Economics continued
|What policy questions in California might economics
help answer? What are the limits of what economics can tell us about policy
problems? What biases in the methodology? What potential for use and abuse
in your field or organization?
|Readings:|| Rhoads, Part II, III
|November 15|| Disciplinary Roots: Ethics
|What is the range of ethical dilemmas faced by
professionals in our field? What are the competing claims on the public
servant? What resources do we have in responding to ethnical dilemmas?
Darrell Pugh, Origins of Ethical Frameworks in Public Administration,
in Ethical Frontiers in Public Management
|Short Paper #4: Ethical Biography: Describe an
fictional or factual ethical dilemma faced by a public servant and its resolution.
|November 22|| Ethics
|What are the perils of ethical relativism? To
what extent does situation management breed an ethical relativism?
|Readings:|| Singer and Wooten, The Administrative Triumph of
Jeff Luke, new Leadership Requirements for Public Administrators: From Managerial to Policy Ethics, In Ethical Frontiers in Public Management
|November 29 and
December 6 :
|Group Projects and Presentation|
|December 13||Final Papers due|