FALL 1999

PPA 200 - Introduction to Public Policy and and Administration
Mondays: 6:00-8:50 p.m.
Location: 1026 Mendocino Hall

Dr. Cristy Jensen
3040 Tahoe Hall
Office Hours: Tues. 11-1 or by appt.

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:

  1. self assessing professional goals and learning objectives

  2. understanding the relevance of essential institutional features of American government, California State and Local Governments to political cultures and the study of PPA

  3. understanding the values, norms, and some of the Best practices of graduate education

  4. building skills in writing and policy analysis

  5. understanding and utilizing the varied perspectives or lens on the field and profession including political science, economics, social psychology/public administration

  6. developing ethical perspectives and stances.

  7. Learning about Internet based resources in public policy and administration

  1. strengthening interpersonal/group collaboration and presentation skills

Required Texts

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.

  Grading: Short papers
Class attendance and participation
Final Paper
Group Presentation


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 Profession

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 and administration?


Read Federalist #10 (available on internet)
Read Anti-Federalist #37 (also available)

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 Local Government
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 Psychology
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 your organization?
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 system boundaries?
Readings: JQ Wilson: Parts IV-VI
October 18 Disciplinary Roots: Political Science: The importance of ideas
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
Curtis Ventriss, Reconstructing Government Ethics: Public Philosophy of Civic Virtue@, in Ethical Frontiers in Public Management
Carol Lewis, selected readings from The Ethics Challenge in Public Service

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 Albert Speer
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