POLS 331: Introduction To Public Administration
Spring Semester 2006
Instructor: Casey LaFrance
Office: DuSable 476
Office Hours: TBA or By Appointment
Course Purpose: Welcome! This course will be a very broad introduction to the field of public
administration and its subfields (public policy, public personnel
administration, public budgeting, public management, politics and
bureaucracy, etc.). We will discuss the history of public
It is my hope that this class will prepare you for further study in the
field of public administration.
Course Objectives: To gain an understanding of the development of public
administration in the
To explore the subfields of public administration
To discuss seminal literature in the field and ideas outside the
field that have influenced administrative practices
To understand the operation of the bureaucracy
To understand how PA affects our lives
To learn from one another
To have a comfortable and enjoyable experience
Assigned Text: Public
Administration: Stillman, R.J. II. Public
Administration: Concepts and Cases, 8th
Participation/Attendance/Group Assignments: 20 Points
Since this course has a strong group work/discussion component, attendance is very important. I encourage and expect each of you to be present for all class sessions. I also ask that you be alert and active in class discussions and be prepared to answer any questions that I may direct toward you. Finally, I expect you to make substantial contributions to your group’s assignments and discussions. In order to earn these points, you must not only be present, but also be active.
I am aware that illness, court obligations, familial obligations, university activity, religious obligations, and unforeseen events may inhibit your ability to be present for class. If you have documentation to support your reason for being absent, please bring it me at the beginning of class when you return. If you are aware that you may be absent, please notify me via e-mail so I can send materials, etc. You may expect a significant decrease in your course grade if you miss more than 5 class sessions without documentation. If you miss a quiz, group activity, or other assignment due to an unexcused absence, you should expect to lose those points as well.
Individual Assignments: 10-20 Points
clear in expressing your ideas. I do not
accept “ipse dixit” arguments as justifications for theses. Whether you are using relevant literature in
the field of PA and/or personal interview citations, please support your
statements! Also, significant
spelling/grammatical errors that make your paper difficult to understand will
result in point deductions. In order to
avoid these deductions, please PROOFREAD and spell-check your assignments
before turning them in. For assistance
with written assignments, NIU invites you to take advantage of the
815-753-6636 or visit: www.engl.niu.edu/writing_center/
Interview with a Public Administrator 5-7 Pages TNR, 12pt.: 10 Points
To help you understand the “real world” aspect of public administration, you will interview a public administrator at the local, state, or federal level. Your interview should uncover how long the person has worked in his/her field, the operations of the agency, department, bureau, etc. in which the person is employed, any “secrets” the person has to share about administration in his/her capacity, the person’s opinion of public administration in his/her capacity, the person’s explanation of any changes he/she has noticed in his/her agency’s administrative strategies, and the person’s summary of how his/her agency cooperates with elected officials, legislative bodies, community/interest groups, and other bureaucratic agencies. A verbatim transcript of the interview is not expected, but please use quotation marks to indicate the interviewee’s exact words. If you elect to record the interview, please obtain permission (via consent form) from the interviewee before doing so. The last page or so should be your reaction to the interview.
Optional Research Paper: 10 or more pages TNR 12pt.: 10 Points
Choose a topic in one or more subfields of public administration. Research this topic, develop a thesis, and then substantiate your thesis with relevant literature in the field (e.g., articles obtained from J-Stor, Public Administration Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory, American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, and other peer-reviewed social science journals and books). Please limit your use of internet sites, especially .com sites, and be as objective as possible (i.e., facts are much more valuable than opinions). If I can help you learn to navigate journal databases and/or the library, please bring your need to my attention.
This assignment is not required, but is worth 10% of your grade in this course. Since this assignment is optional, I will expect it to be completed by those who have a true desire to excel in the course. In other words, if you want to attempt to “coast” through the class, that is your decision, but do not cheat on this assignment in any fashion and make sure the paper you submit is a product of your own (best) effort. More thorough information about this assignment will be provided.
Quizzes: 2 Quizzes, 10 points each: 20 points
During the course of the semester you will be given 2 quizzes. Quiz questions could be multiple choice, true/false, or short answer. Quiz scores will count 10 points each, for a total combined possibility of 20 points.
Exams: 40 Points Combined
Mid-Term: 20 Points
The mid-term may have multiple-choice, true false, short answer, and essay questions. You will work in your class discussion groups to develop a study guide for the mid-term to help you get to know the material.
Final: 20 Points
The final will not be cumulative, per se, but you may have to have an understanding of concepts covered during the first half of the course in order to demonstrate competent understanding of the concepts covered in the second half of the course. This test may have MC, T/F, Short Answer, and Essay Questions. Again, you will work in your discussion groups to develop a study guide for the final.
Total: 100 points possible (100%)
Grading: A = 90-100 B= 80-89 C= 70-79 D= 60-69 F= <60
Make Up Exams/Assignments: If you miss an exam, and have a VERY COMPELLING reason, I will consider offering a make-up exam. Late assignments will automatically receive a 10 percent deduction for each class session past the due date. I will not consider make-up work for quizzes/group assignments missed due to unexcused absences. It is your responsibility to inquire about make up assignments.
Academic Integrity: Please refer to you undergraduate handbook (page 49) for NIU’s policy on Academic Integrity (for Plagiarism and other forms of cheating). It is impossible to learn from one another if any of us recycle the ideas of others. Please turn in your own original work, use quotation marks “ “ when quoting a source, and use a recognized citation style (preferably APA). Please do not speak to one another during the course of an exam. If I suspect that you may be cheating, I will contact the University Judicial Office. If your actions are judged as academically dishonest, you will receive an automatic zero on the assignment and a grade of F in the course.
Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,
NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with
documented disabilities. Those students with disabilities that may have
some impact on their coursework and for which they may require accommodations
should notify the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth
floor of the
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.
Decorum/Expectations of Proper Conduct:
In order to ensure that each member of this class has an equal opportunity to learn from and participate in class discussions and activities, I ask that you please demonstrate the following forms of courtesy to one another and to me:
Please make bathroom trips before class and minimize early departure from class (unless you have informed me of your need to leave early)
Please turn off electronic devices (cell phones, ipods, pagers, pda’s, and similar devices) upon entering the classroom. Please leave these devices out of sight in a backpack, purse, or pocket. Please feel free to ask a question or make a comment at any point during the lecture and/or your group activities. Please do not interrupt another student while he/she is speaking. Briefly show your hand, and I will call on you in these situations.
If you eat or drink in class, please clean up after yourself. Please do not bring distracting food items into the classroom (e.g., rustling chip bags, items that require silverware, alcoholic beverages, very pungent foods, etc.).
Please treat your classmates and group partners with respect. Do not raise your voice in a hostile manner to anyone in the room. Please do not use excessive profanity, avoid ethnic/gender/religious/racial slurs. In short, be civil to one another.
Some of the ideas in the field of Public Administration (and its subfields) are often controversial. I invite you to share your opinion of these ideas (e.g., Affirmative Action, Federalism, Gun Control, etc.), but please do not use “hate speech” in doing so. Remember, also, to keep your ears open to ideas that may vary greatly from your own. This is how learning takes place. Please back up your comments with empirical evidence/scholarship from this field or other social sciences when possible. Finally, I value debate, but I will not tolerate heated arguments in the classroom.
Please refrain from “side conversations” during the lecture/group work.
To better facilitate learning in this class, I ask that only registered members of the class be present (i.e., please do not bring guests, children, etc.)
If you fall asleep in class, you may be asked to return to your domicile so that you may nap there and avoid distracting the rest of the class.
On the day of a test, I ask that you use the restroom before class. You will not be permitted to finish an exam if you leave the room for any reason during the course
of taking the exam. Leave backpacks/notebooks/textbooks and other materials beneath your seat during the course of an exam. When you finish an exam, bring your test paper up to me and turn it in face-up so that there will be no possibility of “losing” an exam.
If I deem them necessary, additional “decorum/behavior” regulations may be imposed.
If you violate these guidelines, you may be asked to leave class and you will not be considered present for the session.
Schedule: Please Note that the scheduled contained in this syllabus is subject to change and/or revision at the discretion of the instructor. Please come to class so that you may keep up with the activities of this course. Additional reading assignments (e.g., Journal Articles, etc.) will be announced as the course progresses. Please make sure that you complete ALL readings before the class session in which they will be discussed. All Articles Listed on this Syllabus are available on J-Stor.
Week 1: January 18 & 20 Introduction, What is P.A.?
Meet and Greet, History of Public Administration in the
Stillman, Chapter 1
Week 2: January 23, 25, 27 Ecology and Structure of PA
Public Personnel Administration
Required: Stillman, Chapters 2 & 3
Week 3 January 30, February 1, February 3 Public Personnel Administration Continued
Required: Stillman, Chapters 6 & 11
Week 4 Feb 6, 8, 10
Week 5 Feb 13, 15, 17 Intergovernmental Relations
Structure of State and Local Governments
Required: Stillman, Chapter 5
*Interview With A Public Administrator Due Wednesday At Beginning of Class*
Week 6 Feb 20, 22, 24 Policy Development & Implementation, Public Policy Models
Required: Stillman, Chapters 8 & 13
Week 7 Feb 27, March 1, March 3
Stillman, Chapter 12
Week 8 March 6, 8, 10
Midterm Exam 03/10
Week 9 SPRING BREAK
Week 10 March 20, 22, 24 Regulation
Stillman, Chapter 15
Week 11 March 27, 29, April 1 Public Participation Clientele Orientation in Bureaucracy
Skocpol, Theda (1997). The Tocqueville Problem: Civic Engagement in American
Democracy. Social Science History, 21(4), pp. 455-479.
Nightmare?” Perspective on Politics 1 (4) December: 663-679.
Verba, Sidney; Burns, Nancy; and Kay Lehman Schlozman (1997). Knowing and Caring about Politics: Gender and Political Engagement. The Journal of Politics, 59(4), pp. 1051-1072.
Week 12 April 4, 6, 8 RESEARCH PAPER DUE 04-08 @ Class Time
Planning and Decision-Making
Stillman, Chapter 9
Week 13 April 11, 13, 15 Accountability & Ethics
Stillman, Chapter 16
ASPA Code of Ethics
Week 14 April 18, 20, 22
Politics & Administration
Presidential Powers and Limits
Appointee Powers and Limits
Stillman, Chapter 14
Week 15 April 25, 27, 29
Technology and Public Management
Week 16 May 2, 4
Leadership, Orders and Compliance, Professions In Govt., The Future of PA, Loose Ends to be Tied Up
Final Exam Review