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Winter '03  SYLLABUS

MPA Public Policy Foundation

Joan Bantz, MPA, RHU an introduction
LAB I, 3011     360-867-5095      Office Hours T/TH 4:30 to 5:30 and by Appt. 

Class meets Saturdays:  Jan 11*, Feb 1, Feb 22, and March 8,          9 am to 5 pm
* You must be the present the first night to be considered enrolled

Course Description

  This intensive and online course examines how public policy is analyzed, created, implemented, evaluated and held accountable within the current culture, social, economic and political environment. This required foundation course or elective, within the new MPA Public Policy Concentration, acknowledges that there is not a grand theory or design of policy formulation.  We will however examine multiple frameworks and tools, building upon theoretical foundations that deconstruct common assumptions.

  Through the use of lecture, seminar, case study, guest speakers and web crossing postings, this intensive course will encourage dialogue and use web-based communication tools to help students think critically and actively about vital issues, practice policy applications and skill building tools and facilitate further research.
Learning Outcomes

Our learning objectives include:

Critical Thinking: Build on established knowledge and skills to deconstruct and deterritorialize common assumptions about politics and policy in order to reconstruct policy perspectives that are just, equitable, and democratic.

Reflective Thinking: Develop reflection skills for professional growth and development. Become more sensitive to the salient factors influencing the way policy is conceived and executed; the ultimate values and conceptions of moral right and wrong; the influence of decentralized institution's political authority on attempts to implement rational moral purpose. Examining personal, national and worldviews on issues of class, race and gender to maximize policy effectiveness.

Clarify Roles: Try on and become comfortable with various public policy perspectives, their paradoxical political cultures, challenges and critical issues in order to clarify personal and professional roles and responsibilities in the public policy arena.

Writing: Develop skills to formulate, analyze, write, present, and critique policy perspectives.

Technologies: Develop proficiency with web-based communication tools.


Stone, Deborah A. (1997).  Policy Paradox:  The Art of Political Decision Making.  W. W, Norton & Co.  ISBN: 0393976254.

Kingdon, John (1995). Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies (3rd Edition).  Addison-Wesley;  ISBN:  0321121856.

Clemons, Randall S. and Mark K. McBeth (2000).  Public Policy Praxis - Theory and Pragmatism: A Case Approach. Prentice Hall;  ISBN: 0130258822.

Fischer, Frank (2000). Citizens, Experts and the Environment: The Politics of Local Knowledge.  Duke University Press.  ISBN: 0822326221.

McFarlane, Deborah R. and Kenneth J. Meier (2000).  The Politics of Fertility Control:  Family Planning and Abortion Policies in the American States.  Chatham House;  ISBN: 1889119393.


Assignments are as follows:

  1. Active participation in classroom and seminar activities; timely Web Crossing postings and other written assignments.
  2. Policy Perspective Posting – you will select a particular policy issue (this should be issue driven, not process or theory driven) – issues include, but are not limited to: education, health, environment, transportation, gun-control, fertility, etc. The final essay essay will integrate these efforts.  Between classes, for each week indicated, write a 1-2 page Policy Analysis paper on the selected policy area we are covering in class. These areas will have explicit directions for completion handed out in class and posted on Web Crossing prior to the assignment.
    Each week indicated, post a copy of your Public Policy Analysis paper:

    DUE: January 18, February 8

  1. Policy Reflection Paper Posting - between class meeting times, for each week indicated, read then write a 1-2 page reflection on the pertintent assigned policy article. These reflection papers should integrate current text, classroom work and experience directly to the article.  Post your reflection paper:

  2. DUE: January 25, February 15
  3. Peer Critique of Reflection Paper Posting - between class meeting times, for each week indicated, post a 1-2 response that uses graduate critical thinking skills to your peer's reflection paper.  We will go over this in class. Post your responses:



    DUE: January 29, February 19,

  5. Culminating Policy Analysis Essay and Panel Presentations– you will select a particular policy issue (this should be issue driven, not process or theory driven) – issues include, but are not limited to: education, health, environment, transportation, gun-control, fertility, etc. This issue should be the one you are using to work on your policy analysis practice, so the final essay will not be a completely new work.



    Write a critical essay of the researched issue. A review essay is more than a book or research review, in that it contains a thesis and is not just a recap of the research findings. The essay is the method by which you state and argue your thesis. More material and clarification will be shared in a workshop.

    You will share your essay (5-7 pages) with the entire class by giving a short public presentation of your review essay as part of a panel with your colleagues who are reviewing like topic/policy issues. Panel presentation style will mimic panels at academic conferences.

    DUE: March 1 (paper), March 8 (presentation)

  7. Policy Study Reflection Paper – in 3-5 pages, reflectively summarize your intellectual, cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal (as defined by Denhardt and Aristigueta article from UPO) experiences in the MPA program, particularly with regards to the policy tract, thus far. In addition, project forward your concerns about your future professional expectations/experiences given your experiences in the program. A workshop addressing this assignment will be held– things will more become clear then.
DUE: March 8

Click to see calendar of assignments and class. Note however that a calendar is not full information and you will be held accountable
for the information in this Syllabus.


The course is designed to be an active/experiential learning community. Much of what we will learn in this program will come from the work we do together. Therefore, as usual, attendance and active engagement is extremely important.

A successful learning community requires that students attend class, timely post their work and arrive prepared to be engaged in the activities for the Saturday intensive and submit assignments when they are due. Students will be evaluated based upon their progress on the learning objectives, as evidenced by performance on the assignments and class participation.

Students will receive graduate or undergraduate credit based on satisfactory and on-time completion of all course requirements and assignments. The faculty will make credit denial decisions. Plagiarism (i.e., using other peoples’ work as your own), failing to complete one or more assignments, completing one or more assignments late (without having made special arrangements before the due date), or multiple absences may constitute denial of total credit.

In turn, students can expect the faculty members to be prepared for classes and seminars, to be available for office hours, to respond to telephone or email messages in a timely manner, and to provide timely feedback on assignments.

All students will receive a written evaluation of their academic performance. Each student is expected to participate in the end of quarter evaluation conference with faculty. For the end of quarter conference, each student is expected to complete and bring to the conference a written self-evaluation – no conference will be conducted without the self-evaluation. Students are also expected to provide a written evaluation of their faculty. These two evaluations are part of the requirements of the course and must be completed to obtain full credit.

In furtherance of our learning community, we expect students and faculty to:

Both students and faculty agree to discuss any problems involving others in the learning community directly with the individuals involved, with the right to support from other program members during those discussions, if that seems helpful. For example, students must first discuss any problems involving a faculty member directly with the person in question; other faculty will refrain from discussing details of any such problem except in the above format.

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