The Evergreen State College

Graduate Program in Public Administration

MPA Core—Spring 2005  Syllabus (any changes are in red)

Doing Democracy

Tuesday 6:00—10:00 p.m.





Office hours

Joan Bantz


Lab 1, 3011

T 3-5pm; and by appt.

Gail Johnson


Sem 2, D-2112

T/W 3-5pm; by appt

Joan’s homepage:

Gail's home page:


This course completes the first year CORE foundation in the MPA program.   It looks at contemporary issues in our democratic system through multiple frames.  We begin by continuing our understanding of self.  Our learning community provides a mirror, reflecting the ways we work with others and handle issues of power.  How do we practice democracy within our learning community?  The course will then consider the larger systems, moving from our U.S. Constitution to our current fractured political rhetoric, by considering two crucial questions:

1.     Can politics be returned to “we the people?”

2.     What can “we the people” create and do?

The learning community will look at models for social movements within the U.S. and then consider what social movements look like in the global uprising.  We will circle back to the practical skills needed to effectively advocate and organize for positive change.  Democracy is not a spectator sport; it depends on our active engagement. In our roles as administrators, non-profit managers, leaders in our community groups, and as citizens, we have much work to do to return democracy to “we the people.”

The intention of a learning community is to provide a safe space in which we can explore current issues in participatory democracy, social justice and social movements.  The course will provide opportunities for each of us to enhance our skills in working collaboratively and in speaking across differences.  We will explore our values as we engage with the material to expand our understanding of the complex nature of emotionally charged political discourse.  The material and discussions are intended to move everyone outside their comfort zones.  There is not an expectation of agreement.   We do not all see the world in the same way, and the course will explore the space between our differences.  We are likely to find many places of agreement despite our differences.  It is also likely that some of our long cherished ideas will be shaken and a few may even fall.  As each of us work in the world, we will find an even wider range of differences.  Coming to understand these differences and accepting that intelligent people can have widely divergent opinions enables us to be more effective in working in the our learning community as well as in the larger community. 



III.       Credit

Students will receive 4 graduate credits based upon satisfactory and on-time completion of all course requirements and assignments.  The seminar faculty will make credit denial decisions.  No partial credit will be awarded.  Plagiarism, failing to complete one or more assignments, completing one or more assignments late (without having made special arrangements in advance of the due date) or two non-excused absences, may constitute automatic denial of credit.  Extra assignments may be assigned by seminar faculty to make up for missed classes.


We have designed this program as a reading course that has minimal paper-writing.  We also have front-loaded the reading to give you more time to work on the team “teach-to-learn” project and the final reflective paper. Most of the books we have selected are intended for a non-academic audience. We think these are well-written, interesting books that best meet our learning objectives and will create great seminars. We hope you find them helpful. As well as the required reading list we will provide a list of texts for you to self select one of interest.

Dahl, Robert A.  How Democratic is the American Constitution?  New Haven: Yale University Press.  2003. ISBN: 0300095244
Hooks, bell.  Teaching Community:  A Pedagogy of Hope.  NY: Routledge.  2003. ISBN: 041596818
Lakoff, George.  Don’t think of an elephant!:  Know your values and Frame the Debate.White River Junction, VT:Chelsea Green Publishing. 2004. ISBN: 1931498717

Moyer, Bill.  Doing Democracy:  The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements.  New Society Publishers. 2001. ISBN: 0865714185
Starhawk.  Webs of Power:  Notes from the Global Uprising. New Society Publishers.  2002. ISBN: 086571456
Wallis, Jim.  The Soul of Politics:  Beyond “Religious Right” and “Secular Left.”  San Diego:  Harcourt Brace and Company.  ISBN: 0156003287.

Recommended Book List for “Making Your Contribution”

Alinsky, Saul.  Rules for Radicals.  1971.
Bellah, Robert.  Habits of the Heart:  Individualism and Commitment in American Life. 1985

Chopra, Deepak.  Peace is the Way:  Bringing War and Violence to an End.  2005

Coles, Robert.  The Call of Service:  A Witness to Idealism.  1993

DePree, Max.  Leading Without Power: Finding Hope in Serving Community. 1997.
Edelman, Marian Wright. The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours. 1992.
Guinier, Lani. Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback into a New Vision of Social Justice. 2000.

Guinier, Lani and Gerald Torres, The Miner’s Canary. 2004.
Hardina, Donna. Analytical Skills for Community Organizing Practice. 2002.

Hartman, Thom.  The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, 2004.
Myles Horton and Paulo Freire, Conversations, in We Make the Road By Walking Conversations on Education and Social Change. 1999.
Horwitz, Claudia.  The Spiritual Activist:  Practices to Transform Your Life, Your Work, and Your World.  2002.

Loeb, Paul Rogat.  The Impossible Will Take a Little Longer, 2004

Loeb, Paul Rogat.  The Soul of a Citizen. 1999.
Matusak, Larraine.  Finding Your Voice:  Learning to Lead…Anywhere You Want to Make a Difference.  1997.
Mohanty, Chandra. Genealogies of Community, Home and Nation, Feminism Without Borders. 2003.
Peavey, Fran.  Heart Politics. 1986.
Piven, Frances Fox and Cloward, Richard.  Poor People’s Movements: Why they Succeed, How They Fail. 1979.
Ray, Paul and Anderson, Sherry Ruth.  The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People are Changing the World. 2000.

Shaw, Randy.  The Activist’s Handbook.  2001.

Shore, Bill.  The Light of Conscience:  How a Simple Act Can Change Your Life.  2004.
Smock, Kristina. Democracy in Action: Community Organizing and Urban Chang.  2003.
Twist, Lynne. The Soul of Money.  2003.

West, Cornel.  Democracy Matters: Wining the Fight Against Imperialism. 2004.
Wheatley, Margaret.  Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future.  2002.

Williamson, Marianne (ed).  Imagine:  What America Could Be in the 21st Century.  2000.



1.    Intellectual Journal.  You will bring a spiral notebook to each class.  We will have short, free-writing time to engage our right brains.  You will also journal outside class throughout the quarter to create a cognitive map for your intellectual journey.  This should be an integrative process, connecting new learning with prior learning. This journal is your opportunity to make sense of the readings and class discussions in terms of your own experience.  This is your private space and you will not turn it into the faculty.  However, it will be the basis for the final paper (described below). 

Learning Goals:  To increase your awareness of who you are, integrate your making of knowledge and to continue your reflective practice.

Due: Weekly


2.     Final Paper: Your MPA Program Experience: Past, Present and Future.  The cumulative paper will present an opportunity to reflect on your yearlong experience and create a vision for yourself for your MPA future.  Revisit what you intended to learn when you applied to the program.  Considering what you have learned this year, in what ways have you met your goals?  What do you still want to accomplish?  What barriers did you encounter?   Did any of your goals change?  If so, why?  What did you learn about yourself that surprised you? What have you been able to use in your current work?  Looking to the future, write your resume as it will look five years from now and then develop a learning plan to get there from where you are now.  In addition to your final paper (and biblio) that you will hand in (or email before class) to your seminar leader, you will share a key learning in any format you wish to the class a poem, a song, cartoons, a short story, collage, dance, a cooking recipe, artwork, a poster, whatever.  Due:  Last night of class.

Learning Goals:  To develop personal planning skills and the ability to articulate your grandest vision for you life.

DUE: May 31st


3.     Short Applied Paper:  Using the MAP model, select one of the cases and identify the actions that match the model, and identify where the model was not completely applied. Prepare a one-page, single-spaced paper.

Learning Goal: To develop the ability to apply a model to a concrete example.

DUE: May 3rd

4.     Making Your Contribution:  You will select a book from the book list and prepare a short paper (no more than three double-spaced pages) that identifies the author’s major themes and how this book connects (it does not have to agree) with the other reading in this course.  You will provide a short (5 minute) presentation to your seminar group.

Learning Goals s:  To develop the ability to synthesize and apply other people’s ideas.

Paper DUE: May 31st or email to faculty before class

Presentation in Seminar groups May 31st

5.     Teach to Learn:  “Organizing for Change”

As citizens we are responsible for creating our communities.  Typically, we are participants or leaders in efforts to make something happen—to bring about a change.  We will form teams in week 2 and each team will select one of these topics:

 Organizing for Change Topics:

1.     How to hold effective meetings

2.     How to work with elected officials

3.     How to work with the media, including how to write effective press releases, press conferences, and letters to the editor.

4.     How to make decisions in groups

5.     How to build coalitions

6.     How to organize effective demonstrations and public events

7.     How to sustaining energy and optimism (avoiding burnout)

8.     How to strategically plan in groups

No more than five people will be on a team. The team will develop a workshop of 45 minutes to teach the class. It must have an interactive component.  In addition each team member will interview a community leader who is active in bringing about change.  Your task is understand how they approach that particular task, any lessons learned, and what advice to inspire change they would give to others.  As a group, you will prepare a short paper that integrates the work of all team members into a truly joint/team product, written with a single voice that is seamless.  It will be no more than 4 double-spaced pages. The paper will include a bibliography. Papers due day of Presentation

Learning Goals: In depth knowledge of a skill, to have an opportunity to work collaboratively, and to design learning experience for others.

DUE: May 17th and May 24th





activities/ due

Week 1

March 29

April 2

Venturing Inward and Outward


Course Overview


Seminar Groups

bell hooks:  Teaching Community


Week 2

April 5

Framing of Core Beliefs/Values


Video:  “We the People”

Guest Speaker: Virgil Clark, Mayor of Lacey

Dahl:  How Democratic is the American Constitution

R&K: Public Administration: Understanding Mgmt, Politics, and Public Sector (yr. long text)
Chpts 10-13

Form teams. Develop team charters and task/time line.

Week 3

April 12

Capturing and Framing the Rhetoric


The Power of Words to Shape Political Action

Video:  “Outfoxed”

Lakeoff:  Don’t think of an elephant

Article: Barstow and         Stein

Week 4

April 19
NO Class

NOTE: We meet with the Tribal Governance Core for a guest speaker and potluck on Saturday 4/23, 10 am to 2 pm. Room TBA


The event replace 4/19  class

Week 5

April 26

Can This Marriage be Saved?

Video:  “Patriot Act”

Wallis:  The Soul of Politics

Week 6

May 3

Organizing to Change Social Conditions


Appreciative Inquiry (AI) Workshop

Moyer:  Doing Democracy

Short applied paper.

Week 7

May 10

The Global Uprising


Guest Panel: Steve Niva and Dan Leahy

no seminar, teams meet

In-class:  collage

Week 8

May 17

Teach to Learn Presentations

Seminar: Starhawk:  Webs of Power

Week 9

May 24


Teach to Learn Presentations (cont.)

(Making Contribution presentation  moved to May 31st)

Your Choice text short paper  due 5/31 or if emailing due before class

Week 10

May 31

MPA Core, 1st Year Journey

Making Your Contribution



MPA Final Paper and Making Contribution -

Short Presentations in Seminars

June 6-9


Ideas have power

as long as they’re not frozen in doctrine.

But ideas need legs.

The eight-hour day, the minimum wage,

the conservation of natural resources and the protection of

our air, water, and land,

women’s rights and civil rights, free trade unions,

Social Security and a civil service based on merit—

All these were launched as citizen’s movements and

won the endorsement of the political class only after long struggles

in the face of bitter opposition and sneering attacks.

It’s just a fact:

Democracy doesn’t work without citizen activism

And participation, starting at the community…

It’s also a fact that civilization happens because

We don’t leave things to other people.

What’s right and good doesn’t come naturally.

You have to stand up and fight for it—

As if the cause depends on you,

because it does.

Allow yourself that conceit—

To believe that the flame of democracy will never go out

As long as there’s one candle in your hand.

Bill Moyer, June 4, 2003.