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 who trade sex; PI on an evaluation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Minority Youth Violence Prevention program; co-PI of a New York State multi-site evaluation of a public health approach to reducing gun violence; co-PI of an evaluation of an anti-gun violence initiative in Brownsville, Brooklyn; and co-PI on a study of sex work and human trafficking in NYC. 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 2016 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 2015 PADM-GP.2171.003
Spring 2015 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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Spring 2015 PADM-GP.4116.001 Participatory Policymaking

Though the policy-making process is complex, with a host of actors and competing interests, public policy is traditionally shaped by elected officials, administrative agencies and organized interest groups. There are many avenues for policies to be informed by the lived experience of members of low-income and marginalized communities, however, their participation is often hidden and/or undervalued. Public servants and policy-makers can provide proactive opportunities for communities to assert their own priorities and rights through mechanisms like public planning processes or participatory budgeting. Similarly, marginalized communities can self-organize and even form common cause with broader interests to create more just public policies.

In this course, we will examine the essential concepts of power – what it is, how it is used, how groups and communities can expand and strengthen their political power, and how public officials can share theirs.  We will explore strategies for initiating participatory policymaking from above (e.g., government/ policymakers initiating participatory approaches to decision-making, the opening of previously hidden datasets to the public) and below (e.g., grassroots communities mobilizing to influence policy), and the democratic tradition of challenging traditional power structures.  Case studies will include a landmark set of laws passed in 2013 in New York City to advance oversight of the Police Department, the global expansion of Participatory Budgeting, grassroots campaigns to improve public transit, and the effect of "open data" laws on policy formation. Students will learn about the mechanisms often used to advance community-driven efforts such as public planning processes, public hearings, meeting with elected officials, public information campaigns, and mass mobilizations.


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Spring 2014 PADM-GP.4116.001 Participatory Policymaking

Though the policy-making process is complex, with a host of actors and competing interests, public policy is traditionally shaped by elected officials, administrative agencies and organized interest groups. There are many avenues for policies to be informed by the lived experience of members of low-income and marginalized communities, however, their participation is often hidden and/or undervalued. Public servants and policy-makers can provide proactive opportunities for communities to assert their own priorities and rights through mechanisms like public planning processes or participatory budgeting. Similarly, marginalized communities can self-organize and even form common cause with broader interests to create more just public policies.

In this course, we will examine the essential concepts of power – what it is, how it is used, how groups and communities can expand and strengthen their political power, and how public officials can share theirs.  We will explore strategies for initiating participatory policymaking from above (e.g., government/ policymakers initiating participatory approaches to decision-making, the opening of previously hidden datasets to the public) and below (e.g., grassroots communities mobilizing to influence policy), and the democratic tradition of challenging traditional power structures.  Case studies will include a landmark set of laws passed in 2013 in New York City to advance oversight of the Police Department, the global expansion of Participatory Budgeting, grassroots campaigns to improve public transit, and the effect of "open data" laws on policy formation. Students will learn about the mechanisms often used to advance community-driven efforts such as public planning processes, public hearings, meeting with elected officials, public information campaigns, and mass mobilizations.


Download Syllabus
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.


Download Syllabus
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?


Download Syllabus
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

Though the policy-making process is complex, with a host of actors and competing interests, public policy is traditionally shaped by elected officials, administrative agencies and organized interest groups. There are many avenues for policies to be informed by the lived experience of members of low-income and marginalized communities, however, their participation is often hidden and/or undervalued. Public servants and policy-makers can provide proactive opportunities for communities to assert their own priorities and rights through mechanisms like public planning processes or participatory budgeting. Similarly, marginalized communities can self-organize and even form common cause with broader interests to create more just public policies.

In this course, we will examine the essential concepts of power – what it is, how it is used, how groups and communities can expand and strengthen their political power, and how public officials can share theirs.  We will explore strategies for initiating participatory policymaking from above (e.g., government/ policymakers initiating participatory approaches to decision-making, the opening of previously hidden datasets to the public) and below (e.g., grassroots communities mobilizing to influence policy), and the democratic tradition of challenging traditional power structures.  Case studies will include a landmark set of laws passed in 2013 in New York City to advance oversight of the Police Department, the global expansion of Participatory Budgeting, grassroots campaigns to improve public transit, and the effect of "open data" laws on policy formation. Students will learn about the mechanisms often used to advance community-driven efforts such as public planning processes, public hearings, meeting with elected officials, public information campaigns, and mass mobilizations.


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