POLS 331 (Section 0002):  Public Administration

Fall 2008

 

Professor:                   Curt Wood

Class Times:               Tuesday and Thursday 2-3:15 PM in DuSable 252

Office Hours:             Monday and Tuesday 9-10 AM or by appointment

Office Room No.       213 IASBO Building 

Email:                         chwood@niu.edu

Office Phone:             (815) 753-6144

 

 

Course Objectives and Description

This course serves as a public administration survey course. This course is designed to provide the undergraduate student with an understanding of the major public administration theories, concepts, challenges, and issues influencing the discipline and public administrators in 13 areas, through readings; writing assignments such as case studies, a book review, and praxis papers; and class and group discussions. During the semester the professor and students will study 13 topics and issues associated with the study and practice of public administration such as ethics, social equity, organization theory and behavior, public policy formation, public management, administrative reform, strategic planning and performance management, intergovernmental relations, leadership, human resources, and public finance. 

 

Required Texts

 

Shafritz, Jay M. and Russell, E.W, and Christopher P. Borick, 2009. Introducing Public Administration. Sixth Edition. New York: Pearson Education, Inc.

 

Frederickson, H. George, 1997. The Spirit of Public Administration, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

 

Other Readings:

 

Other assigned or optional readings will be posted in Blackboard, in Course Documents.

 

Teaching Philosophy

 

It is the professor’s goal to facilitate the training of students to think critically about the major challenges, issues, and topics of public administration and to link theory with practice through praxis papers, case studies, in-class group cases, and the book review. The professor will challenge students to think actively by taking responsibility for and becoming involved in their own learning inside and outside the classroom.

 

Book Review 

 

Students must write a review of the H. George Frederickson book The Spirit of Public Administration (1997). The book review should be organized as follows: 1) describe Frederickson’s major themes/concepts/theses/theories; 2) the personal and professional values, virtues, and ethical principles that should guide public administrators in a democracy; and 3) how these major themes/concepts/theses/theories and public service values, virtues, and principles are reflected or are not reflected in government and the actions or public administrators, drawing upon examples Frederickson uses in the book, cases or examples in the course readings, notes, lectures, examples from the student’s professional experience, and current events.

The book review should be no longer than four (4) pages. Papers should be double-spaced with 1-inch margins, written with 12-point font, and include a cover page, citations, and page numbers.  The book review is due no later than the last regular class.

Grades will be based on the following: 1) how well the student thoroughly describes Frederickson’s major theses and normative theories (25%); 2) thoroughly articulates the personal and professional values, virtues, and ethical principles that should guide public administrators in a democracy (25%); 3) how these theses, theories, and public service values, virtues, and principles are reflected or are not reflected in government and the actions or public administrators, drawing upon examples Frederickson uses in the book, cases or examples in the course readings, notes, lectures, examples from the student’s professional experience, and current events (25%); and 4) how reader-friendly is the book review (25%).

A model (exemplary) book review can be found on Blackboard, in a discussion board forum titled “Model Written Assignments.”

Students are required to complete the analytic assessment tool prior to turning in their paper and are also required to submit the completed assessment tool to the professor along with the book review. The purpose of this exercise is to train students to incorporate the expected standards into their book reviews and to become more mindful when such standards have or have not been addressed in their paper. A copy of the assessment tool can also be found on Blackboard, in Course Documents. No late book reviews will be accepted.

             

Praxis Papers

In order that students learn how to integrate theory and practice, each student will be required to turn in and be prepared to present four (4) short (no longer than two pages) papers during the semester that relate to one major idea, theory, or concept from the current week’s readings to a public (government) administration case, story, or experience. Each student should use the following format when writing a praxis paper: 1) Statement of the purpose or question (one sentence), 2) Thesis statement (One sentence summary of the literature that summarizes the week’s readings that are directly related to answering the paper’s question or directly addresses the paper’s purpose; 3) Briefly describe the current week’s literature that explains the thesis sentence in more detail; 4) Describe a government related case (professional experience, current event, or example(s) from the literature) and how the case is related to the purpose/question and the literature; 5) How does the literature conform (or not conform) with practice (to the case, experience, or example(s); and 6) lessons learned from integrating the literature with practice. Praxis papers are due on Thursday of each week except for Thanksgiving week, in which case the praxis paper is due on Tuesday. No late praxis essays will be accepted. Only one praxis paper per student will be accepted each week. Students are free to turn in more than the minimum of four (4) required praxis papers, and the professor will average the scores of the four praxis papers with the highest grades.

 

Grades will be based on the following: 1) the quality of the question/purpose (15%); 2) the quality of the thesis sentence (15%); 3) how thoroughly the author draws upon the week’s literature to explain the thesis statement (25%); 4) how well the question, thesis statement, and the literature are connected with the case (25%); and 5) how reader-friendly is the paper (20%).      

 

Students are required to complete the analytic assessment tool prior to turning in their paper and are also required to submit the completed assessment tool to the professor along with the praxis paper. The purpose of this exercise is to train students to incorporate the expected standards into their praxis papers and to become more mindful when such standards have or have not been addressed in their paper. A copy of the assessment tool can also be found on Blackboard, in Course Documents. A model (exemplary) praxis paper can be found on Blackboard, in a discussion board forum titled “Model Written Assignments.” The praxis paper should have a title, the student’s name should be typed on the paper, and the paper should be double-spaced, have one-inch margins, paginated, and 12-point font. Students should cite within the text the current events author’s last name and the year published, and the page number (if a direct quote). A full citation should also be provided at the end of the paper in a reference section that also includes the title of the article, the name of the newspaper or magazine, the full name of the author, and the day published.

           

Quizzes

Throughout the semester, 7 in-class group quizzes will be given at the end of the class period. Quizzes will primarily emphasize the material covered by the professor during that week only. Each group must submit to the professor their written work and answers in order to receive a grade. Each individual in the group will receive the group grade. Students must participate in at lease five (5) quizzes. The highest five (5) quiz grades will be used for the average score. Students will receive a zero (0) for all missed quizzes if the student fails to participate in the five quizzes. No make-up quizzes will be given. In-class quizzes can be found in Blackboard, in Course Assignments. Students are encouraged to read, download, and think about the answers to the in-class quizzes prior to coming to class.

 

Midterm and Final Examination

There will be a midterm and a final exam.  The mid-term and the final exam will be comprised of 50 multiple-choice questions and true/false questions. The final examination will cover the material during the second half of the semester and will also be comprised of 50 multiple-choice and true/false questions. The Final Exam will be held on Tuesday December 9 from 2-3:50 PM in DuSable 252. Make-up exams will only be permitted in the case of extreme emergencies. In order to be eligible to make up a test, a student must notify Professor Wood prior to the test that he/she will not be able to take the test at the appointed time. If the absence is due to an illness, a doctor’s signed release will be required. An unexcused absence from an exam will receive a score of zero.

 

Class Participation

Each student is expected to fully participate in class discussion/group work and is encouraged to ask questions during class. In order to meaningfully participate, each student must be prepared for class.  Attending class is a prerequisite for participation.  Each student is expected to have read the material and in-class case study prior to coming to class. Sleeping or talking in class is grounds for a lower participation score. Students that participate in the Discussion Board on Blackboard will receive credit for in-class discussion.

 

Basis for Calculating Course Grade

Letter grades will be based on the standard 100 percent scale (e.g. 90% – 100% = A, 80% – 89% = B, 70% - 79% = C, etc.).  The following components are the criteria for calculating the course grade.

Group in-class Quizzes (5)                              15%

Mid-term                                                         20%

Final                                                                20%

Praxis Papers (4)                                             20%

Book Review                                                  15%

Participation                                                    10%

                                                                        100%

 

Class Schedule:

 

Week 1 (August 26, 28): Introduction

            Tuesday: Introduction

                         Professor introduction

                         Introduce graduate teaching assistant

                         Student introductions

                         Go over syllabus

                         Professor will show how to access journals, books, and newspaper articles on the                           Library Internet site.

                         Professor will go over citations and references

            Thursday: Lecture/discussion on the purpose and role of government?

                               

Week 2 (September 2, 4): Public Administration and Bureaucracy

            Tuesday: Chapter 1 lecture and discussion on what is public administration?

Thursday: Praxis papers are due and lecture/discussion on what is bureaucracy and the evolution of bureaucracy and public administration.

 

Week 3 (September 9, 11): Public Policy                                                                           

            Tuesday: Chapter 2 lecture and discussion of policy stages and policy theories

Thursday: Praxis paper due and lecture/discussion on types of decision-making and policy in-class case study (first group in-class quiz, policy case found in Blackboard, in Course Assignments).

 

Week 4 (September 16, 18): Ethics                                                             

Tuesday: Chapter 5 lecture and discussion of the approaches to ethics and the ethics triangle.

Thursday: Praxis papers are due and lecture/discussion on the ICMA/ASPA professional codes of ethics and case studies pertaining to the codes.

 

Week 5 (September 23, 25): Social Equity                                                                         

            Tuesday: No Class as professor is at the national ICMA Conference

Thursday: Chapter 12 lecture and discussion about what is social equity and examples of social equity in action. Praxis paper are due and lecture/discussion on social equity in action.

 

 

Week 6 (September 30, October 2): Leadership                                                                           

            Tuesday:  Chapter 10 lecture and discussion of leadership theories. 

Thursday: Praxis paper due and in-class leadership case study (second in-class group quiz, leadership case found in Blackboard, in Course Assignments).

 

Week 7 (October 7, 9): Organizational Theory                             

Tuesday: Chapter 6 lecture and discussion

            Thursday: Continuation of discussion on organizational theory and praxis papers are due. 

 

Week 8 (October 14, 16): Organizational Behavior and Future of Organizations                     

Tuesday:  Chapter 7 lecture and discussion of organizational humanism theories and future of organizations. Also,    review             for Mid-term.

Thursday: Mid-term. Praxis papers are due.

 

Week 9 (October 21, 23): New Managerialism (NPM) and Administrative Reform                             

Tuesday: Chapter 3 and part of Chapter 8. Lecture and discussion on the New Public Management and the challenges of privatization (contracting out).

Thursday: Lecture/discussion on how the private and public sectors are different and the need for government oversight and regulation of the private sector. Praxis papers are due.

 

Week 10 (October 28, 30): Strategic Management, Performance Measurement, and               Regulation

Tuesday: Lecture/discussion on strategic management (part of Chapter 9).

Thursday: Lecture and discussion of performance measurements (part of Chapter 8). Third in-class group quiz, performance case found in Blackboard, in Course Assignments.

Praxis papers are due

 

Week 11 (November 4, 6): Public Budgeting and Public Finance                                   

Tuesday: Chapter 13 lecture and discussion on public budgeting. Fourth in-class group quiz, budget case found in Blackboard, in Course Assignments.

 

Thursday: Continue budgeting lesson and discussion. Lecture/discussion on public finance (types of revenues). Praxis papers are due. Fifth in-class group quiz, revenue case found in Blackboard, in Course Assignments.

 

Week 12 (November 11, 13): Public Finance continued and Auditing and Evaluation

Tuesday: Continue lecture/discussion of public finance. Chapter 14 lecture and discussion of accounting.

Thursday: Lecture and discussion of auditing. Sixth in-class group quiz, auditing case found in Blackboard, in Course Assignments. Praxis papers are due.

 

Week 13 (November 18, 20): Intergovernmental Relations (IGR)                                                          

            Tuesday: Chapter 4 lecture and discussion on the U.S. federal system and vertical IGR

Thursday: Lecture/discussion on regional governance (horizontal IGR). Praxis papers are due.

 

Week 14 (November 25, 27)

            Tuesday: Chapter 11 lecture and discussion on the civil service and personnel         management. Praxis papers are due.

            Thursday: Thanksgiving, No Class

 

Week 15 (December 2, 4): Personnel Management and Labor Relations                                  

Tuesday: Part of Chapter 11, Collective Bargaining. Seventh in-class group quiz, collective bargaining case found in Blackboard, in Course Assignments.

Thursday: Samantha Fischer, MPA Coordinator at NIU will speak about the MPA Program at Northern, and Marc G. Hummel, Village Manager at the Village of Hanover Park, Illinois will talk about what it’s like to be a village administrator.

Book reviews are due. Praxis papers are due.

 

 

Final Examination: The Final Exam will be held on Tuesday December 9 from 2-3:50 PM in DuSable 252.

 

Professor Wood reserves the right to make changes to the above syllabus or syllabus schedule.

 

Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct is defined in the Student Judicial Code as the receipt or transmission of unauthorized aid on assignments or examinations, plagiarism, the unauthorized use of examination materials, or other forms of dishonesty. The professor is authorized by NIU to levy a sanction not greater than an F for the course.

 

Whenever referencing material from the texts, supplemental readings, or lectures, students should include appropriate citations to avoid problems of plagiarism.  Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, journals, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging those sources or if they paraphrase ideas from such sources without acknowledging them  (NIU Undergraduate Catalog). 

 

Statement Concerning Students with Disabilities

 

NIU abides by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that mandates that reasonable accommodations be provided for qualified students with disabilities. If you have a disability and may require some type of instructional and/or examination accommodation, please contact me early in the semester so that I can provide or facilitate in providing accommodations you may need. If you have not already done so, you will need to register with the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR), the designated office on campus to provide services and administer exams with accommodations for students with disabilities. The CAAR office is located on the 4th floor of the University Health Services building (815-753-1303).

 

The Writing Center

The Writing Center provides writing assistance for all undergraduate and graduate students. The Center is located in Stevenson Towers South, Lower Level. For more information call 753-6636.

 

Undergraduate Writing Awards

The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Department’s spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28. All copies should have two cover pages – one with the student’s name and one without the student’s name. Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award. However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for the following year’s competition even if the student has graduated.

 

Other Rules

Please turn your cell phones off before coming to class. Cell phones may not be used in class, nor is it acceptable to read newspapers or bring persons not enrolled in the course to class.

 

Political Science Department Web Site

Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. To reach the site, go to http://polisci.niu.edu