LAST REVISED: January 17, 2008

To get to online syllabus:



Sacramento State University

Department of Public Policy and Administration


PPA 297A&B:


Fall and Spring, 2007-08



Nancy Shulock, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Public Policy and Administration

Director, Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy

Tahoe Hall 3063

(916) 278-7249


Seminar meetings:

Fridays, 9:00 a.m. � 11:45 p.m.

Governor�s Office of Planning and Research, 2nd floor conference room

1400 Tenth Street (Corner of 10th and N Streets), downtown Sacramento


Course Objectives


This course is designed to complement your placement with a combination of theory and practical knowledge to help you make sense of, and contribute to, your executive branch department. As a staff member in the executive branch, you will be involved in policy issues from the perspective of a public agency that plays a critical role in policy development and implementation. The course is intended to help you understand the policy process and the organizational environment in which public policies are shaped and implemented. Your experience in the state bureaucracy sets this program apart from the legislative fellows programs. Your colleagues in those programs may spend more seminar time on specific policy or political issues. For our program, it is important that we examine the role of executive branch organizations in the policy process and the factors that make those organizations more or less effective. Therefore, we will discuss current political and policy issues from the perspective of public sector organizations that are charged with implementing public policy.


The course covers four general sets of topics:


1. The role of the public sector in promoting the public interest: We will address questions such as how government leaders identify and pursue the public interest and what makes government effective and responsive in the minds of citizens.

2. The political environment of the policy process: We will consider the key dynamics of policy making in California, the roles of various actors in the policy process, and why policy change does (or doesn�t) occur.


3. Policy design and development: Students will learn some core concepts to help them think critically and analytically about the impact of policies on individuals and society.

4. Organizational effectiveness: Students will study public organizations, their effectiveness in fulfilling their missions, and the role of leadership in promoting organizational effectiveness, and will get some practical skills to be an effective contributor to their organizations.


For all four of these topics, we will draw on three policy issues as case studies throughout the year. I have chosen three of the most significant issues of this legislative session:


       Education � both K-12 and postsecondary

       Health care � with an emphasis on health insurance issues

       Climate change and related environmental issues


In January you will choose one of these areas, based on your placement and your interests. You will work in groups and individually to relate class topics to that policy issue. For example, when we discuss the initiative process, you would explore recent initiatives in that area that had influenced the current policy environment. When we discuss leadership and organizational effectiveness, you would investigate the organizational issues that are affecting policy development and implementation in these areas. When we discuss the design and impact of policies, you will analyze more specifically some of the current ideas in your area. The major project for the course will be a group project applying a range of course topics to the analysis of an issue in your policy area (more below).


One important goal of this program is to heighten your appreciation for, and your commitment to, public service. Negative notions of �bureaucrats� and �bureaucracy� are commonplace. I hope that seminar will enrich your understanding of the vital role and the contributions of public servants. We want you to complete the Executive Fellowship Program with an even greater commitment to public service than that which led you to this program in the first place.


The learning objectives for the course can be summarized as follows:


1. Understand the opportunities for public sector leaders to promote the public good through policy design and implementation and the strategies for doing so, with particular application to your policy area

2. Understand distinctive features of the California policy process and how those features influence policy in your issue area

3. Develop the skills to analyze the effectiveness of an organization and its leadership in fulfilling its mission

4. Learn some core concepts about policy design and about the impact of policies on individuals and organizations, and gain substantive knowledge of policies in your area of focus

5. Enhance your commitment to public service and your understanding of career options

6. Learn to communicate effectively for policy audiences, with a special emphasis on writing.



Seminar Format and Expectations

The seminar is a required component of your program. While I understand that you may be more excited about your agency placement than about the seminar, the two go hand in hand and you cannot be successful in the fellowship program without being successful in the seminar. Mentors are aware of this requirement and have been advised to ensure that Friday mornings are free for fellows to attend the seminar. You are expected to attend every seminar. Only on rare exceptions, and with my explicit, prior approval is it acceptable to miss class. If a class is missed, fellows must make up any missed assignment and demonstrate completion of that week�s readings by submitting an extra writing assignment.


This is a graduate seminar. This means (1) it will include some theory that we will relate to your practical experiences, and (2) you are expected to do the reading and identify for yourself the key concepts from the reading. Class discussions and group activities in class will emphasize the application of those concepts � and will not be a summary of the readings. Seminars are a mix of class discussion, guest speakers, in-class group activities, and student presentations. There will be little lecturing. The quality of class discussions and group activities depends on what students bring to them, in terms of preparation for class. For that reason, a significant part of your grade is based on class participation � reflecting your ability to draw out the key concepts from the readings, to relate readings to one another, to your placement, and to your policy topic, and to be respectful of others� ideas and contributions.


At the end of each class, time permitting, we will summarize key concepts that we have discussed. Over the weeks, then, we will assemble a �tool box� of concepts on which you can draw to help you perform in your placement and to help you with your final project.


In summary, here are my expectations for the successful seminar participant:

       Do the reading each week in time to actually think about it.

       Come to seminar on time, with homework completed, and prepared to discuss the readings, apply the key concepts that you have identified, and participate constructively in class discussions and group activities.

       Open your mind to big-picture thinking and to contrary points of view and be respectful of others� views.

       Think about how the issues from seminar relate to your organization, to your chosen case study topic, and to California state government generally.

       Work hard on your writing and pay attention to the comments I give you on written assignments.


 Assignments and grading


Late assignments will not be accepted. Weekly memos are due in my email inbox by midnight on Thursday (12:00 am Friday). Other assignments are due as indicated in the syllabus. If a class is missed, assignments due that day must be turned in on time AND a weekly memo must be turned in by the following Monday that will NOT count toward the required ten memos.


Class participation. Effective participation in class discussions is an important component of performance. I will let you know halfway through the year how you are doing in class participation, so there are no surprises and so you can make adjustments. The class participation grade will reflect the quality (not quantity) of your participation in class discussion and your contributions to your in-class group activities (including some homework that I will assign you to bring to those group activities).


Weekly memos in response to readings. You will submit a total of 10 memos, of 1-page in length, that reflect on the weekly readings or apply the concepts from the readings to your placement or your policy topic. If I have included a specific question in the syllabus, you should write your memo to address that topic. If not, you can address a topic of your choice that reflects on the readings and/or applies concepts from the readings to your placement or policy issue. You decide which ten weeks you want to write a memo. The memo must be analytical, not simply a summary of main points. It should be written in memo format to me, using headings and bullets, as applicable, and be concise and easy to read. Remember, I have read the material � so don�t summarize it for me. Don�t be fooled that writing a one-page memo is easy. It�s harder than writing a longer one because you have to be very careful, clear, and concise. You will be graded on content and writing. Writing should be logical, clear, concise, and have no grammatical, spelling, or typographical errors.


Writing Self-reflection. I spend a lot of time giving constructive feedback on your writing because I want you all to be good writers. Therefore, I want you to pay attention to the feedback I give you and work to improve your writing. After you have submitted 5 of the 10 memos, you will submit a memo summarizing the areas I have identified as needing improvement and how you are addressing them.


Group Project. Groups of 3-4 students will identify a current issue or problem in your area (education, health care, climate change) and work, over the course of the year, to produce a written policy brief and make an oral presentation to class. Topics can be of two general types: (1) an analysis of a policy problem with recommendations or (2) a comprehensive explanation of a current policy issue/problem that doesn�t include recommendations but helps illuminate a complex public issue. In both cases, the written document should be highly readable policy brief with charts, figures, and other visual devices to help a busy reader make sense of a complex issue. The final oral presentation should use PowerPoint and must also include a one-page handout (front and back page allowed). The group will draw fully on the concepts from throughout the class (with reference to our toolbox) as well as on outside data collected for the project. I will evaluate projects on the basis of the following criteria:

       A clear and compelling definition of the issue or problem

       An insightful look at the issue/problem � the good project will �turn on a light� of understanding for the reader/listener

       Application of a broad range of concepts from the course, including, as appropriate, policy, political, and organizational issues that illuminate the problem and/or influence its resolution

       An analytical approach, based on evidence, not bias or advocacy

       Logical organization and flow to the policy brief and the presentation

       No errors of spelling, grammar, or usage

Students will evaluate their own contribution as well as their partners� contributions. These evaluations will figure into the grades that I assign.


The final course grade will be determined as follows:

Seminar participation 15%

1-page memos (10) 45%

Writing reflection 5%

Policy brief draft 10%

Final project � policy brief 15%

Final project � oral presentation 10%



Required Readings


Readings include four books along with numerous articles and reports, mostly available on-line (a few may be distributed to you). You absolutely need access to a computer and printer to do the required reading. I realize that it is hard to read long reports online, and may be inconvenient to print them, but you will have to do whichever works best for you. It mirrors real-world situations, where so much of what we have to read is on line.


Required Books:

        Peter Schrag, California: America�s High Stakes Experiment, University of California Press, 2006. ($18)

        Mark Moore, Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government, Harvard University Press, 1995. ($23))

       Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, Freakonomics, Revised and Expanded , William Morrow, 2005, 2006 ($17)

        Kenneth Ashworth, Caught Between the Dog and the Fireplug, or How to Survive Public Service, Georgetown University Press, 2001. ($22)

        Eugene Bardach, A Practical Guide For Policy Analysis: The Eightfold Path To More Effective Problem Solving, Second Edition ($15)


 Some resources to get you started learning about your policy area:


Health Care




Climate Change



Schedule of Class Sessions


Any eight-month schedule of classes is subject to change. I will maintain an updated version of this syllabus on my website which you should consult on a weekly basis for possible changes to class meeting dates, scheduled topics, readings, and guests. I will indicate at the top the date of the most recent changes to the on-line syllabus. Be sure to consult the web version of the syllabus to be up to date with readings and assignments.








Session 1 � October 24: The California Context for Policymaking � Part 1

         Schrag, California, America�s High Stakes Experiment, Introduction and Chapters 1-2


Session 2 � Oct 31: The California Context for Policymaking � Part 2

         Schrag, Chapters 3-5

Guest: Peter Schrag


Session 3 � Nov 5: Californians and their Government

         Government Performance Project, Grading the States 2005: California

         New California Network, The Fiscal Responsibility Project (skip pages 25-40)

         Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) Research Brief, Participating in Democracy: Civic Engagement in California, April 2004


Session 4 � Nov 16: Californians and their Government


Everyone reads:

         Governor�s State of the State Address, 2007


Education group reads:

         PPIC, Californians and Education, April 2007

         Loeb, Bryk, and Hanushek, Getting Down to Facts: School Finance and Governance in California

         Russo, �Three Different Perspectives on �Getting Down to Facts.��


Health Care group reads:

         PPIC, Californians and their Government, June 2007 (on health care)

         CalHealthReform.Org, FAQ: Health Reform in California

         Wicks, Framework Assessment of Major Health Reform Proposals in California


Climate Change/Environment group reads:

         PPIC, California and the Environment, July 2007

         Office of the Governor, Press Release, AB 32

         Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Market Mechanisms for Greenhouse Gas Reductions: Lessons for California


Session 5 � Nov 21: Effective Writing for Policy Audiences

         Readings to be distributed

         Shulock and Moore, Rules of the Game





I. Defining the �Public� in Public Service: Government and Citizens


Week 1 (Nov. 30) What is Public Value?


       Denhardt and Denhardt, The New Public Service: Serving Rather than Steering, Public Administration Review (PAR), Nov/Dec 2000.

         Mark Moore, Creating Public Value, Introduction and Chapter 1-2


Memo Topic

         How do you understand (at this early date) the public value provided by your department? Are there competing views among the public about the value provided? Are there opportunities to extend or broaden the mission that could increase public value?


Week 2 (Dec. 7) Organizational Mission and Public Value


         Moore, Creating Public Value, Chapter 3 and Conclusion

         Shulock and Moore, Rules of the Game


Memo Topic

         Moore, on p. 71, introduces three �tests� to guide a public leader in his or her development of a strategy for a public organization. With reference to your organization (or if you�re in the horseshoe, with reference to an organization to which you�ve been paying some attention at work) comment on the apparent alignment of the three elements. If you were in charge, is there one area that lags the others and needs more attention? You might want to refer to the organization�s strategic plan to help your thinking at this early stage in your placement.

Week 3 (Dec. 14) Civic Engagement


      The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, Millenials Talk Politics: A Study of College Student Political Engagement, 2007

         Wang and Van Wart, When Public Participation in Administration Leads to Trust, PAR, March/April 2007.

         Dubnick, Pathologies of Governance Reform: Promises, Pervasions and Perversions in the Age of Accountability (article begins on p.3)


Memo Topic

         Is lack of civic engagement a problem for today�s young people? How does civic engagement (or lack of engagement) relate to attitudes about government? Is it a cause or an effect? What might be done?, or

         Will better public accountability by government programs increase public confidence in government?



Mary Kirlin, Professor of Public Policy and Administration, Sacramento State





         Governor�s State of the State Address 2005

         Governor�s State of the State Address 2006

         Bardach, Introduction; Part I (pp.1-12 only); Part II (all)


Explore these three websites:

         Common Sense California

         New California Network � this organization is ending and transforming into California Forward (see below)

         California Forward


Memo Topic

         How are the lack of consensus and stalemated decision making processes affecting progress on key issues in your policy area? What reforms do you think offer the most hope? or,

         How is decision making around issues you�ve been involved in progressing in spite of some of the problems mentioned in the readings and over the weeks of our seminar discussions?





II. The Political Environment of Policymaking


Week 5 (Jan 11) Building Support for Policies � Who is Important?


         Moore, Creating Public Value, Chapter 4

         Ashworth, Caught Between the Dog and the Fireplug, Forward, Preface, and pp. 1-44.


Memo Topic

         How is current/recent media coverage of issues in your area affecting your department�s ability to control the agenda?, or, more generally

         How is the political/media environment around policy in your area (or some area that you�ve been involved in) constraining or otherwise affecting your office or department in its work?

Week 6 (Jan 18) Political Management � Agendas and Policies


         Moore, Creating Public Value, Chapter 5

         Ashworth, pp.63-88.


Suggested Memo Topic

         What kinds of �political management� techniques or activities have you observed in your placement? How effective have they been?



         Due today: tentative description of the issue/problem you will propose to your group for your final group project. Bring copies for your group and a copy for me. Just a sentence or two is all you need. This is just a first step to get your group thinking of possibilities.

         Homework, to be used in in-class work with your group (and turned in to me afterward):

o       What interest groups have taken positions on major legislation in your policy area during this current session:

o       Can you divide the various interest groups and organizations into camps, on the basis of ideology or preferred policy approach?



Week 7 (Jan 25) � Direct Democracy and California Policy Dynamics


       The Speaker�s Commission on the California Initiative Process, January, 2002

    PPIC: The California Initiative Process: How Democratic Is It?

         California Budget Project: What Would Proposition 92 Mean for California?

         Legislative Analyst�s Office, Ballot Analysis of Proposition 92

         KQED forum on Proposition 92, January, 8. 2008 (link to audio file)


Guest (first half)

Ted Lascher, Professor of Public Policy and Administration, CSUS


Activity (second half)

Debate on Proposition 92


Assignment (turn in after class)

         Bring in a list of ballot initiatives in your policy area � over the last 3 years, with results noted � by % of votes � and the major supporters/opponents for each measure. Refer to Secretary of State website on initiatives:

         Prepare for debate on Proposition 92 � details to be discussed in class


Suggested Memo Topic

         Has the initiative process been, on balance, a positive or a negative force in your policy area? When and why has the initiative been used in your area, as opposed to the Legislature enacting policies?



Week 8 (Feb 1) � Term Limits and California Policy Dynamics


         U.S. Term Limits, Microcosm of the Movement (advocacy group)

         PPIC: How Have Term Limits Affected the California Legislature? Research Brief

         PPIC full report: Adapting to Term Limits. Read Summary, look closely at Summary Table, and then read any chapters that interest you

         IGS Public Affairs Report, Summer, 2002 #1 (1 page)

         IGS Public Affairs Report, Summer 2002 #2 (1 page)

         IGS Public Affairs Report, Summer 2002 #3 (1 page)



Debate on Proposition 93

Suggested Memo Topic

         Are there key legislators in your policy area who are soon to be termed out? How might that affect the policy environment? or

         With reference to some of the arguments in the readings, take a position on the upcoming ballot initiative, Proposition 93.


Week 9 (Feb 8) Collaborative Policy � An Alternative to Gridlock?


         Booher, D. E. (2004) "Collaborative Governance Practices and Democracy," National Civic Review, Winter 2004.

         Innes, J. E. and Booher, D. E. (2003) "Collaborative Policy Making: Governance through Dialogue," in Deliberative Policy Analysis: Understanding Governance in the Network Society. Edited by M. A. Hajer and H. Wagenaar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

         Keast, R. et al. (2004) "Network Structures: Working Differently and Changing Expectations," Public Administration Review, May/June 2004.



David Booher, Consultant, Center for Collaborative Policy, Sacramento State University


Memo Topic

Your choice, related to the readings



III. Policy Design and Analysis


  Week 10 (Feb 15) Incentives, Information, and Policy � a focus on Education


         Freakonomics, Introduction, Chapters 1,5

         Loeb, Bryk, and Hanushek, Getting Down to Facts: School Finance and Governance in California, March 2007

         Shulock and Moore, Invest in Success: How Finance Policy Can Increase Student Success in California�s Community Colleges, October, 2007. Executive Summary.


Suggested Memo Topic

         What are the prevailing incentives affecting the relevant actors in your policy area/issue? What are some ways that incentives have been proposed to be used in policy reforms?

Week 11 (Feb 22) Incentives, Information, and Policy � a focus on Health


         Freakonomics, Chapters 3,4

         Four short policy briefs on California health care issues;

o       California HealthCare Foundation, The Future of California�s SCHIP Program

o       UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, Improving Access Through Health Insurance Coverage and Safety Net Expansion

o       UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, What Does it Take for a Family to Afford to pay for Health Care?

o       Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, Revisiting the Latino Health Paradox


Memo Topic

         Your choice, related to the readings



Lesley Cummings, Executive Director, Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board

Week 12 (Feb 29): Incentives, Information, and Policy � a focus on Climate Change


         Bardach, pp. 12-46; 71-85

         TBA on climate change


Memo Topic

         Your choice, related to the readings



Chuck Shulock, Director, Office of Climate Change, Air Resources Board


Week 13 (March 7): Budgets and Policymaking


         TBA � from Legislative Analyst�s Office Analysis of the Budget

      Bill Hauck and Jean Ross, �The Hardest Part of Politics: The California Budget

Suggested Memo Topic

         Comment on an LAO recommendation on a budget item in your area. Evaluate its strengths and weaknesses


Week 14 (March 14): Legislation and Regulations




Memo Topic



IV. Organizational Effectiveness, Leadership, and Policy Change



Week 15 (March 21) � Perspectives on Leadership


         Moore, Chapter 6

         Fairholm, Different Perspectives on the Practice of Leadership, PAR, Sept/Oct 2004

         Waugh and Streib, Collaboration and Leadership for Effective Emergency Management, PAR, December 2006


Memo Topic

         Your choice, related to the readings



Week 16 (March 28) � Leadership and Organizational Change


         Moore, Chapter 7

         Hal Rainey and James Thompson, �Leadership and the Transformation of a Major Institution: Charles Rossotti and the IRS,� Public Administration Review, July/August 2006

         Martha Gilliland, �Leading a Public University,� Public Administration Review May/June 2004, Vol. 64, No. 3

         John Tagg, Double Loop Learning in Higher Education, Change Magazine, July/August, 2007


Memo Topic

         Your choice, related to the readings





Week 17 (April 11) Strategic Planning and Performance Management


         Poister and Streib, �Elements of Strategic Planning and Management in Municipal Government: Status After Two Decades� PAR, Jan/Feb 2005

         Robert Behn, �Performance Leadership: 11 Practices that can Ratchet up Performance,� May, 2004.

         Robert Behn, The Behn Report (2 pages each):

o       July, 2004

o       June, 2004

o       November, 2005

o       September, 2006

o       July, 2006



o       Draft of your policy brief � due in class today. This is an individual write up of 2-3 pages that is a summary, �policy brief� version of your group project. The brief should convey a clear understanding of the problem or issue, why it matters, and to whom. It should demonstrate that you�ve applied a broad range of concepts from seminar to understanding the issue. The policy brief should address your findings or conclusions, even if still tentative. It does not need to include the kinds of graphics that I have asked for in the final version.


Suggested Memo Topic

         Assess your organization�s approach to strategic planning and/or performance measurement in light of the principles and factors from the readings.


Week 18 (April 18) Accountability, Performance Measurement, Performance Budgeting


         Re-read this short article: Dubnick, Pathologies of Governance Reform: Promises, Pervasions and Perversions in the Age of Accountability (article begins on p.3)

         Federal Agencies Ratchet Up Focus on Performance,� article from PA Times, April 2007.

         Sean Nicholson-Crotty, �Disparate Measures: Public Managers and Performance-Measurement Strategies,� Public Administration Review, Jan/Feb 2006

         John Gilmour and David Lewis, �Does Performance Budgeting Work,� Public Administration Review, Sept/Oct 2006 66:5 p. 742

         Shulock and Moore, Invest in Success, p. 52-58


Suggested Memo Topic

         For what should your organization be accountable? How can it best demonstrate performance? or,

         Is performance budgeting a good idea � in practice as well as in theory?

Week 19 (April 25) - Public service and you


         Ashworth, pp. 45-62; 121-184

         Moore, reread Conclusion, pp. 293-309


Suggested Memo Topic

         Have your own career goals changed over the course of your fellowship? How and why?


May 2: Interviews for new Fellows (Sacramento) � NO SEMINAR



May 9: Interviews in LA � NO SEMINAR



Week 20 (May 16): Group Presentations



Week 21 (May 23) Group Presentations


Final Projects Due