POLS 331:Intro to Public Administration

Spring 2007


Professor:†††††† ††††††††††† Curt Wood

Class Times:††††††††††† Tuesday and Thursday 11-12:15 PM in DuSable 246

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 is designed to provide the student with an understanding of the major public administration theories influencing the discipline, the role of the public bureaucracy in American society, and the interplay of politics and public administration at the national, state, and local levels. This course serves as an introduction to public administration. During the semester we will review topics generally associated with its study and practice 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.Through class discussion, group work, lectures, reading, and praxis papers students will become familiar with the primary issues and challenges facing public administrators today at the local, state, and national levels.


Required Texts


Shafritz, Jay M. and Russell, E.W. 2007. Introducing Public Administration. Fifth Edition. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.


Goodsell, Charles. 2004. The Case for Bureaucracy: A Public Administration Polemic, Fourth Edition. Washington D.C.: CQ Press.


Teaching Philosophy


It is my goal to train students to think critically about the major theories of public administration and to link theory with practice through praxis papers and case studies. I 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 Charles Goodsell book. The book review should describe the authorís primary message(s) or theme(s), his findings, how these themes and findings relate to the class readings, lectures, and cases, and your reaction to the book. The book review should be no longer than 5 pages. Papers should be double-spaced with 1-inch margins, written with 12-point font, and include a cover page and citations.The book review is due no later than the last regular class. Grades will be based on how well the student integrates the book to theories, concepts, and cases studied in class or in the readings, how well the student understands and explains the book, and how well the paper is written in terms of sentence structure, grammar, and spelling. No late book reviews will be accepted.


Praxis Papers

Each student will be required to turn in and be prepared to present and discuss five (5) short (no longer than two pages) papers during the semester that relate to one major idea, theory, or concept from the readings to a public administration case, story, or experience. How does the idea/theory/or concept fit (or not fit) with practice on the ground? What are the lessons learned? The case or story may come from a current events article or experience. Praxis papers are due on Thursday of each week. No late praxis essays will be accepted. Only one praxis paper will be accepted each week. Cases must involve public (governmental) organizations and public (governmental) administrators. Grades will be based on how well the student integrates the article or case with the theories and concepts studied in class or in the readings, how well the student understands and explains the case, and how well the paper is written in terms of sentence structure, grammar, and spelling.

††††††††††† The praxis paper should have a title, be double-spaced, have one-inch margins, and 12-point font. Students should cite all sources in a reference section and there should be embedded citations with the authorís last name, year of publication, and page number if a direct quote.If a student turns in more than 5 reaction papers, the professor will drop the lowest grade, bringing the total number of reaction papers to 5. For example, if a student turns in 7 praxis papers, the professor will drop the two lowest grades. Extra praxis papers will also receive extra credit.



Throughout the semester, 5 in-class quizzes will be given at the end of the class period. Quizzes may involve group work or an individual assignment. Quizzes will primarily emphasize the material covered by the professor that day only. The lowest quiz score will be dropped, to end up with a total of four (4) quizzes.No make-up quizzes will be given.


Midterm and Final Examination

There will be a midterm and a final exam.The mid-term and the final exam will be comprised of multiple choice questions and true/false questions. The final examination will cover the material during the second half of the semester.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. An unexcused absence from an exam will receive a score of zero.


Class Participation and Attendance

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 (i.e. receive credit), each student must be prepared for class.Attending class is a prerequisite for participation.Each student is expected to have read the material prior to coming to class. Sleeping or talking in class is grounds for a lower participation score. Use of 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% Ė 100% = A, 80% Ė 89% = B, 70% - 79% = C, etc.).The following components are the criteria for calculating the course grade.

Quizzes (4)††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† 10%

Mid-term ††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† 20%

Final†††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† 20%

Praxis Papers (5)††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† 20%

Book Review†††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† 20%

Participation/Attendance††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† 10%

††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† 100%


Class Schedule:


Week 1 (January 16,18): Introduction

††††††††††† Tuesday: Introduction

††††††††††††††††††††††† Professor introduction

††††††††††††††††††††††† Introduce Ernita Joaquin, doctoral candidate

††††††††††††††††††††††† Introduce Neil Wright, GTA

††††††††††††††††††††††† Introduce the teaching assistant (if applicable)

††††††††††††††††††††††† 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 (January 23, 25): Public Administration and Bureaucracy

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

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


Week 3 (January 30, February 1): 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 case study.


Week 4 (February 6, 8): Ethics††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††

††††††††††† Tuesday: Chapter 5 lecture and discussion of the four types of ethics

Thursday: Praxis paper due and lecture/discussion on the ICMA professional code of ethics and case studies pertaining to the code.


Week 5 (February 13, 15): Social Equity†††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††

††††††††††† Tuesday: Chapter 12 lecture and discussion on what is social equity

Thursday: Praxis paper due and lecture/discussion on social equity in action.


Week 6 (February 20, 22): Leadership†††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††

††††††††††† Tuesday:Chapter 10 lecture and discussion of leadership theories.

Thursday: Praxis paper due and leadership case study.


Week 7 (February 27, March 1): Organizational Theory††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††

Tuesday: Chapter 6 lecture and discussion (Ernita Joaquin)

††††††††††† Thursday: Praxis papers due and lecture on Chapter 6 and the garbage can model of ††††††††††† organizational decision-making (Ernita Joaquin). 


Week 8 (March 6, 8): Organizational Behavior†††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††

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

††††††††††† Thursday: Mid-term


Week 9 (March 13, 15): Spring Break


Week 10 (March 20, 22: Strategic Management and Performance Measurement

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

††††††††††† Thursday: Praxis paper due and lecture/case study on performance measurement (Chapter ††††††††††† 8).


Week 11 (March 27, 29): Public Budgeting and Finance†††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††

††††††††††† Tuesday: Chapter 13 lecture and discussion on public budgeting

Thursday: Praxis paper due and lecture/discussion on types of revenues.


Week 12 (April 3, 5): Finance continued and Auditing and Evaluation

††††††††††† Tuesday: Revenue case study and Chapter 14 lecture and discussion on auditing and †††† ††††††††††† evaluation.

Thursday: Praxis paper due and auditing case study.


Week 13 (April 10, 12): Intergovernmental Relations (IGR)††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††

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

Thursday: Praxis paper due and lecture/discussion on regional government and governance.


Week 14 (April 17, 19): Personnel Management††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††

††††††††††† Tuesday: Chapter 11 lecture and discussion on the civil service and personnel ††††††††††† management

Thursday: Praxis paper due and lecture/case study on collective bargaining.


Week 15 (April 24, 26): Administrative Reform††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††

††††††††††† Tuesday: Chapter 3 lecture and discussion on the New Public Management (Ernita ††††††††††† Joaquin)

Thursday: Current events reaction paper due and lecture/discussion on the Challenges of privatization(Ernita Joaquin).


Week 16 (May 1, 3):†††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††

††††††††††† Tuesday: Dr. Vicki Clark, MPA Coordinator at NIU, and Anne Marie Guerra, City ††††††††††† Administrator of Montgomery to talk about the NIU MPA program and what itís like to ††††††††††† be a city administrator.

Thursday: Review for Final Exam


Final Examination: To be announced. Finals are May 7-11


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



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 Departmentís 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 Ė one with the studentís name and one without the studentís 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 yearís 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