Rachel Swaner
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Administration

Rachel Swaner is an associate director of research at the Center for Court Innovation. She is currently the project director of the evaluation of the Defending Childhood Initiative, a U.S. Department of Justice multi-site initiative to address children's exposure to violence. She is also the project director of a study on youth engaged in the commercial sex market, co-PI of a New York State multi-site evaluation of a public health approach to reducing gun violence, and co-PI of an evaluation of an anti-gun violence initiative in Brownsville, Brooklyn. She was previously a researcher and evaluator at Harlem Children's Zone.  She is on the advisory board for the Participatory Budgeting Project.  Rachel received her PhD in Sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center, and her Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Administration from New York University.

Semester Course
Spring 2014 PADM-GP.4116.001 Participatory Policymaking: Co-Production of Knowledge in Nonprofits in Communities of Color

In this course, we will explore the challenges as well as opportunities for creating and enacting effective public policies. Specifically, we will examine what counts as knowledge or evidence in the policy making process; how the opinions and experiences of marginalized groups are taken into account or consideration; and the ways in which communities and non-profit organizations mobilize to have their needs met and voices heard in the public sphere.

The main objective of this course is to expose students to current and relevant policy discussion and debates. Upon completion of this course, students should: (1) have gained a more thorough understanding of the co-production of knowledge and organizing frameworks used by advocates and non-profit leaders to have their needs met in the public sphere; (2) an understanding of the significance of public opinion, framing, and agenda setting to the policy making process; (3) understand the role of discrimination and historic inequalities in the distribution and allocation of resources in society; and (4) be better prepared to analyze, discuss, and write about key issues in public policy.


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Spring 2014 PADM-GP.2171.002 Program Analysis and Evaluation

This course serves as an introduction to those evaluation tools most commonly used to assess the performance of publicly funded programs, in both the public and private sector. Topics include developing and assessing program theory, implementation and process assessment, methods of impact evaluation, and efficiency analysis (cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis). The focus is on critical analysis and understanding of both the underlying programs and their evaluations.


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Fall 2013 PADM-GP.2171.002 Program Analysis and Evaluation

This course serves as an introduction to those evaluation tools most commonly used to assess the performance of publicly funded programs, in both the public and private sector. Topics include developing and assessing program theory, implementation and process assessment, methods of impact evaluation, and efficiency analysis (cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis). The focus is on critical analysis and understanding of both the underlying programs and their evaluations.


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Fall 2013 PADM-GP.2445.001 Poverty, Inequality, and Policy

This course examines the nature and extent of poverty primarily in the U.S. but with a comparative perspective (developed countries in Europe). It considers possible causes and consequences, and the antipoverty effects of existing and proposed policies.

In this course, we consider what is poverty – how do we measure it, what does it mean to be poor? Why is it so persistent, and so concentrated on particular groups? Is poverty passed on from one generation to the next? How do labor markets, family structure, and social organization come into play in shaping poverty? How successful have the array of anti poverty efforts been and which look most promising going forward?


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Spring 2013 PADM-GP.2171.002 Program Analysis and Evaluation

This course serves as an introduction to those evaluation tools most commonly used to assess the performance of publicly funded programs, in both the public and private sector. Topics include developing and assessing program theory, implementation and process assessment, methods of impact evaluation, and efficiency analysis (cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis). The focus is on critical analysis and understanding of both the underlying programs and their evaluations.


Download Syllabus
Spring 2013 PADM-GP.4116.001 Participatory Policymaking: Co-Production of Knowledge in Nonprofits in Communities of Color

In this course, we will explore the challenges as well as opportunities for creating and enacting effective public policies. Specifically, we will examine what counts as knowledge or evidence in the policy making process; how the opinions and experiences of marginalized groups are taken into account or consideration; and the ways in which communities and non-profit organizations mobilize to have their needs met and voices heard in the public sphere.

The main objective of this course is to expose students to current and relevant policy discussion and debates. Upon completion of this course, students should: (1) have gained a more thorough understanding of the co-production of knowledge and organizing frameworks used by advocates and non-profit leaders to have their needs met in the public sphere; (2) an understanding of the significance of public opinion, framing, and agenda setting to the policy making process; (3) understand the role of discrimination and historic inequalities in the distribution and allocation of resources in society; and (4) be better prepared to analyze, discuss, and write about key issues in public policy.


Download Syllabus
Fall 2012 PADM-GP.2171.003 Program Analysis and Evaluation

This course serves as an introduction to those evaluation tools most commonly used to assess the performance of publicly funded programs, in both the public and private sector. Topics include developing and assessing program theory, implementation and process assessment, methods of impact evaluation, and efficiency analysis (cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis). The focus is on critical analysis and understanding of both the underlying programs and their evaluations.


Download Syllabus
Spring 2012 PADM-GP.2171.002 Program Analysis and Evaluation

This course serves as an introduction to those evaluation tools most commonly used to assess the performance of publicly funded programs, in both the public and private sector. Topics include developing and assessing program theory, implementation and process assessment, methods of impact evaluation, and efficiency analysis (cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis). The focus is on critical analysis and understanding of both the underlying programs and their evaluations.


Download Syllabus