Picture from the Natural Hazards Research & Applications Information Center,

University of Colorado website August 2004:  http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/new.html




POLS 331:  Public Administration 

Spring 2005


Instructor:      Natalie P. Love

Class Times: Tuesday & Thursday 11:00 am – 12:15 pm DU459

Office Hours: Tuesdays 10:00-11:00 am, Thursdays10:00 – 11:00 am,

And by appt at Zulauf  Room 408

Email:             parisnlove@yahoo.com

Phone:             Office: (815) 753-7052 or in an emergency (319) 520-5306


Course Description

This course serves as an introduction to public administration. It is designed to familiarize you with the complexities and dynamics within the bureaucracy as a way of understanding government and society.


Required Texts

Rosenbloom, David H. and Robert S. Kravchuck (2002) Public Administration: Understanding Management, Politics, and Law in the Public Sector (5th ed).  McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Additional Readings

These required readings are on reserve in the library.  A majority of these reading excepts can be found in Shafritz, Jay M., Albert C. Hyde, and Sandra J. Parkes (2004) Classics of Public Administration (5th ed).  Wadsworth.  Also found in Comfort, Louise K. (1988) Managing Disasters: Strategies and Policy Perspectives.  Duke University Press: London.


Midterm and Final Examination

There will be one midterm and a final exam.  Each exam will be worth 25% of the final course grade.  The midterm examination will cover approximately one-half of the class.  The final examination will be cumulative with an emphasis on the last half of the class material.  Make-up exams will only be permitted in the case of extreme emergencies.



Throughout the semester (see the class schedule), in-class quizzes will be given.  Questions will emphasize the reading assignments but may also include material from the lectures.  A total of six quizzes will be given and each quiz will be worth 2% of the final course grade.  The lowest quiz score will be dropped.  No make-up quizzes will be given.


Issue Paper

Each student is to write a one-page problem statement worth 5% of the final course grade and a 5-7 page issue paper worth 15% of the final course grade. 


The challenge of this assignment is to identify a problem within government and structure it as an issue requiring a decision.  There are two parts to this assignment.  The first part is a one-page statement of the problem, possible solutions, and recommended solution.  The second part is the development of an issue paper wherein background on the problem is identified, its importance to various stakeholders such as government agencies, citizens, and the private sector are discussed, and justification for the selection of the recommended solution.


The problem statement should be no more than one page in length and include a clear statement of the problem, at least three possible solutions, and a proposed solution.  The page limitation of one page is designed to encourage students to clearly define the problem and to be concise in developing a solution.


The issue paper portion will include an introduction and background on the issue and its importance to the field of public administration, the primary stakeholders involved in the issue and their positions on the issue, discussion of possible solutions, and a recommended solution where the student selects a specific solution and provides solid justification for choosing that course of action.


In order for you to develop the issue and evaluate the issue, you will need to read some of the scholarly literature available in journals such as the Public Administration Review available in the library.  You will be required to provide at least four scholarly references.  Please make sure to document your sources, using a standard format such as MLA or APA style.  Your issue paper must be a minimum of five pages (not including the problem statement page) and a maximum of 10 pages.  Obvious errors in grammar or usage will result in a deduction of points so please proof read and spell check your paper. 


Reflective Essays

Each student will be required to write two reflective essays throughout the semester.  Each essay will be worth 5% of the final course grade and will be 2-3 pages in length.  These essays are designed to demonstrate your understanding of current issues in public administration.  I will provide a topic for you to analyze.  You will be expected to base your analysis of the topic on the theories and ideas gained from the reading materials and the lectures.  The analysis will include a short summary of the topic, discussion of the issues surrounding the topic, and your impressions of the impact of the topic on a particular stakeholder (such as the citizens, government agencies, non-profit agencies, the private sector, etc) as it pertains to public administration.


Class Attendance & Participation

Each student is expected to attend class and fully participate in class discussion and is encouraged to ask questions during the class.  Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class.  Throughout the semester we will have guest speakers who can provide a unique insight into public administration and as a courtesy to them it is especially important that you come to class prepared.  Attendance is a requirement and will constitute 5% of your final grade while participation will constitute 5% of your final grade.


Evaluation Method and Grading and Late Assignments

Letter grades will be based on the standard 10% scale (e.g. 90% - 100% = A, 80%-89% = B, 70% - 79% = C, etc).  The following components are the criteria for calculating the course grade.


            Quizzes                        10%

Midterm                       25%

            Final                             25%

            Problem Statement       5%

            Issue Paper                  15%

            Reflective Essays          10%

Class Attendance            5%

Class Participation          5%



Any assignment submitted late will be graded down 5% for each day late.


Academic Dishonesty Policy

Any instance of academic dishonesty, e.g. cheating on exams or plagiarism on assignments, will be dealt with as severely as university rules allow, including but not limited to a zero on the exam or the paper and reporting of the incident to the appropriate departments.  According to the Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Plagiarism is defined as “appropriation or imitation of the language, ideas and thoughts of another author, and representation of them as one’s own work.”  The following are examples of plagiarism:

  1. Directly copying a phrase, sentence, passage or paragraph from another source without proper quotation marks and full citation.
  2. Paraphrasing an idea, sentence, or passage from another author without proper citation.
  3. Knowingly presenting another person’s ideas, thoughts or work as your own including turning in a written assignment that you did not write (e.g. one you bought, copied, or downloaded off the internet).


Classroom Conduct

In order to ensure that everyone has an environment that facilitates learning, please adhere to the following classroom rules:

1.                  Turn cellular/mobile phones and pagers to silent or off during class time.

2.                  You will not be allowed to leave the classroom during an exam.  Please ensure that you visit the restrooms and have all test taking items (pens, paper, etc) with you before the exam begins.

3.                  If your conduct is disruptive, you will be asked to leave the classroom and will receive no points on any scheduled exam or quiz that may be conducted during that class period.

4.                  Please make every effort to come to class on time and to remain until the end of the class unless permission has been otherwise granted.


Statement Concerning Students with Disabilities

NIU abides by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which mandates 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).  It is important that CAAR and instructors be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.


Department of Political Science 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.


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 28th.  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.






January 18 & 20

Week 1:  Public Administration: Definitions Concepts, and Settings

                Rosenbloom, Chapter 1:  The Practice and Discipline of Public Administration


January 25 & 27

Week 2:  The Political and Cultural Environment

Rosenbloom, Chapter 2:  The American Administrative State: Development and Political Environment

                Quiz Thursday, January 27th


February 1 & 3

Week 3:  Intergovernmental Relations

Rosenbloom, Chapter 3:  Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations, the Structure of the American Administrative State. 

                Quiz Thursday, February 3rd


February 8 & 10

Week 4:  Organization Theory

                Rosenbloom, Chapter 4:  Organization: Structure and Process

Gulick, Luther 1937. “Notes on the Theory of Organization”, On Reserve. In Classics of Public Administration.

                Reflective Essay #1 Due Thursday, February 10th


February 15 & 17

Week 5:  Personnel Management

Rosenbloom, Chapter 5:  Public Personnel Administration and Collective Bargaining

Mosher, Frederick C. 1982.  “Democracy of Public Service: The Collective Services”. On Reserve. In Classics of Public Administration.

                Quiz Thursday, February 17th


February 22 & 24

Week 6:  Public Financial Management

                Rosenbloom, Chapter 6:  Budgeting and Finance


March 1 & 3

Week 7:  Decision-Making

                Rosenbloom, Chapter 7:  Decision Making

                Quiz Thursday, March 3rd


March 8 & 10

Week 8:  Public Policy

                Rosenbloom, Chapter 8:  Policy Analysis and Implementation Evaluation

Lindblom, Charles E.  1959.  “The Science of Muddling Through” Public Administration Review.  On Reserve.            


MIDTERM Tuesday, March 15, 2005, 11:00 am – 12:15 pm


March 17

Week 9:  Convergence of Management, Politics and Law

Rosenbloom, Chapter 9:  Regulatory Administration:  An illustration of management, politics, and law in the public sector.


SPRING BREAK                 March 12 – 20, 2005 NO CLASS


March 22 & 24

Week 10:  Non-Profit Agencies

Lewis, Ralph G.(1988).  “Management Issues in Emergency Response.”  In Managing Disasters: Strategies and Policy Perspectives.  On Reserve.

Guest Speaker, Chapter President of Southeast Iowa American Red Cross


March 29 & 31

Week 11:  Public Participation

                Rosenbloom, Chapter 10: Public Administration and the Public

                Reflective Essay #2 Due Tuesday, March 29th

Quiz Thursday, March 31st


April 5 & 7

Week 12:  Democratic Constitutionalism

Rosenbloom, Chapter 11:  Public Administration and Democratic Constitutionalism

                Problem Statement Due Thursday, April 7th


April 12 & 14

Week 13:  Accountability and Ethics

                Rosenbloom, Chapter 12:  Accountability and Ethics

                Quiz  Thursday, April 14th


April 19 & 21

Week 14:  Globalization and Public Administration

Simon, Herbert A. (2000).  “Public Administration in Today’s World of Organizations and Markets.”  American Political Science Association.  On Reserve.


April 26 & 28

Week 15:  The Future of Public Administration

                Rosenbloom, Chapter 13:  The Future


May 3 & 5

                Issue Paper assistance and Review for final exam.

Issue Paper Due Thursday May 5th by 10:00 am at DU 459


Final Examination:  Tuesday, May 10th 10:00 am – 11:50 am