Spring 1999

PPA 200 - Introduction to Public Policy and Administration
Fridays: February 19, March 5,19, April 16, 23
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Dr. Cristy Jensen
Office Hours: 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. This 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 Abest practices of graduate education
  4. understanding and utilizing the varied perspectives or lens on the field and profession including political science, economics, social psychology/public administration
  5. developing ethical perspectives and stances.

Required Texts

James Q. Wilson, Bureaucracy
Martha Derthick and Paul Quirk, The Politics of Deregulation
Shafritz and Hyde, The Classics of Public Administration, 4th ed.
Steven Rhoads, The Economists’ View of the World
Reader: Articles

Format and Expectations

These intensive seminars will focus on the subject matter of the readings and their application to the practice of public policy and administration. Short lectures will be used to supplement the readings as necessary, but the more frequent practice will be group discussions, case study, or other applications. Graduate seminars rely on the expectation that you will have completed the readings assigned and thought about the questions and issues that they have raised for you. Successful learning requires that you be an active learner, attend seminars regularly, 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. Because of the intensive format of the seminar, no absences will be permitted unless there is a written explanation of absence by a physician. It is your responsibility to clear your professional calendar for all class seminars. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Short Papers: Four short papers are assigned as noted in the schedule to follow. These papers are to be responsive to a set of questions, representing your thoughts, observations, and insights 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 that have not yet been discussed in class. Try to live with that anxiety and not let it immobilize you. The questions assigned for the paper should help focus your reading. Because papers are 3-5 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.

Final Paper: Select a concept/framework/model 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 (15-18 pages). Your paper should conclude with an evaluation of how well the framework matches or describes the reality of the organization or policy world, as you know it? What kinds of reality does it particularly illuminate? What kinds of reality does it blur?

Portfolio: Each student will be responsible for submitting a portfolio of his or her 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.

Electronic communication: Each of you will need an e mail account and access to the internet. 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 30%
Class attendance and participation 30%
Final Paper 30%
Portfolio 10%

February 1-19: Pre-Seminar Work

You should begin reading as soon as possible. Please use the questions and topics of seminar listed to guide your reading. Try to read for the development of ideas and themes rather than detail. We will spend some time in the first seminar on tips for reading effectively.

February 19

A. Course Introduction, Expectations, and Review of Syllabus
B. 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 do these features have on the development of political culture in US? How are these structural and cultural features visible in the development of the profession and academic discourse of public policy and administration?

Readings: Shafritz and Hyde: Chronologies 1776-1990s (Early Voices, Between the World Wars, Postwar Period, 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s)Wilson and Brownlow, Merriam, Gulick
Reader: Federalist Paper No 10

C. 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 are California’s unique contributions to the field of public policy and administration?

Readings: Read a newspaper (Sacramento Bee or LA Times) collecting articles of interest to you about California State and Local Government

March 5

A. 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 that dominated the field? Values? How do James Wilson’s ideas of organization compare and contrast with those of Weber?

Readings: JQ Wilson, Bureaucracy, Parts I-IV, and Chapter 20

Shafritz and Hyde: Weber, Gulick, Barnard, and Selznick

B. What is the distinction that Wilson makes between managers and executives? How do the distinctions between craft, coping, procedural, and production organizations square with your experience?

Paper DUE: How does Wilsons descriptive framework apply to your organization? Pick 2-3 key elements and discuss/evaluate your organization?

March 19

A. Disciplinary Roots: Political Science

What is the subject matter of political science? What contributions does it bring to our field? What unique questions? What ways of knowing? How do the authors perceive innovation or policy change as occurring? Can a broad public interest emerge in the policy process? What does the boundary between the organizational and political system "look like"? What organization or interest-based characteristics become important in the policy change process?

Readings: Derthick and Quirk: Politics of Deregulation
Reader: Mark Moore, What Sort of Ideas Become Public Ideas@ from Robert Reich, The Power of Public Ideas

Paper DUE: Describe and discuss a policy issue in California (possibly evident in Governor Davis/ initiatives) in the context of public ideas and D and Q’s ideas about policy development.

April 16

A. 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?

What policy questions in California might economics help answer? Are there limits of what economics can tell us about policy problems? What is the potential for use in your field or organization?

Readings: Shafritz and Hyde: Moe
Rhoads, Economists View of the World, Parts I and III (Skim Part II)

Paper DUE: How does economics help us describe K-12 school voucher proposals?

April 23

A. 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?
What are the perils of ethical relativism? To what extent does situation management breed an ethical relativism?

Readings: Reader: Darrell Pugh, AOrigins of Ethical Frameworks in Public Administration
Curtis Ventriss, AReconstructing Government Ethics: A Public Philosophy of Civic Virtue
Singer and Wooten, The Administrative Triumph of Albert Speer
Jeff Luke, ANew Leadership Requirements for Public Administrators: From Managerial to Policy Ethics

Paper DUE: Ethical Biography: Describe a fictional or factual ethical dilemma faced by a public servant and its resolution.

April 30

Final Papers due