Courses In: Government

Poverty, Inequality, and Policy (EMPA)

This course examines the nature and extent of poverty primarily in the U.S. but with a comparative perspective (developed countries in Europe). To start, this course will focus on how poverty is defined and measured. It will proceed to explore how conceptions of poverty are socially constructed and historically bounded; examine what the causes and consequences of poverty are and discuss how these are complex and interwoven; and show how people can experience poverty at different points in their life course—some groups experiencing poverty more so than others.

The Practice of Adaptive Leadership

What does it mean to lead? This course is an exploration of the ideas and theories developed at Harvard University by Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky over the last 30 years about the work of leaders in mobilizing groups to act to solve complex and seemingly intractable problems. We will contrast Heifetz and Linsky’s notion of leadership with the more traditional theories of leadership.

Environmental Infrastructure for Sustainable Cities

Sustainability requires the efficient use of resources.  The least carbon- and energy-intensive pattern of settlement today is in compact, walkable cities whose integrated networks of infrastructure that allows us to move, eat, drink, play, and survive extreme weather.  As our population shifts to urban and coastal areas, we will need to build more infrastructure systems to accommodate growth and to increase sustainability.  Yet we are building too little, too slow to maintain our existing infrastructure, let alone to facilitate next generation systems that will accelerate our society to a

Globalization and Global Governance

Globalization and global governance institutions have become hotly contested in some national political arenas, and political pressures around the world have grown on multilateral institutions to improve their effectiveness and value for money. As public debate and division on these subjects intensifies around the world, students of public administration and future professionals should be equipped to critically examine the evidence, theory and practice of global governance and globalization, and to apply this knowledge to solving real-world policy problems.

Evaluating Efforts to Influence Public and Private Policy

This class explores the important evaluation area of policy advocacy evaluation. As development practice shifts to focus on the structural drivers of poverty around the world, and seek long-term social and institutional change, interventions increasingly involve shaping policies, programs and social norms. This class examines the theoretical and practical challenges of measuring influence on policy deliberation and implementation. It explores emerging approaches developed to provide rigor and actionable insights about what works and what doesn’t.

Leading on Disability in Public Service

Advancements in awareness and understanding have led to greater equity and inclusion in society for people with disabilities. Developments such as the establishment of Disability Studies as an interdisciplinary field in the 1980’s and the introduction of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) in 1990 are key milestones in this journey. However, these achievements alone do not guarantee the extent of attitudinal and behavioral change needed within our communities and organizations to remove the barriers and prejudices that remain.

Management Consulting for Public Service Organizations

Management consultants work in all corners of the public and nonprofit sectors on every imaginable topic—from organizational strategy to technology implementation, education to migration. But what is management consulting? Why do so many public service organizations rely on it? What skills and experience do you need to be a management consultant?  And how much good can management consulting really do for the public and nonprofit sectors?

The Intersection of Operations, Policy, and Leadership (EMPA)

Policy, operations, and leadership are inextricably linked. This course aims to expose students to policy formation in a highly political environment, to operations management of systems shaped by state and local policy, and to the requirements and pressures faced by leaders wrestling with difficult problems. The course aims to build a toolbox of specific skills to assess stakeholder environments; to support analysis and decision making in a wide variety of contexts; and to appreciate the role of leadership, consensus building, and conflict management in driving policy outcomes.

Public Policy in an Era of Disruption

We are witnessing a moment where many in the US mistrust existing policy elites and decision-making systems and have elected representatives to disrupt years of regulations and policies. In this course, we will seek a baseline for assessing the effect of this disruption by taking a deep dive into the history of those systems and policies under stress today, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses and the paths they were on before January 2017. Then we will explore how to assess the consequences of this political ferment.

US Climate Policy, Politics, and Change

This course should help those who believe that the United States must reduce its pollution responsible for climate change, despite the unfriendly administration and Congressional leaders.  The course will provide an overview of climate science and politics. Next, we will examine the “theories of change” concept, and identify new theories of change and their policies to reduce climate pollution.  Additionally, we will learn to design issue advocacy campaign plans that would create the political space essential to adopt these policies.

Elections in Action

Elections In Action is for those that are interested in learning how a campaign works from start to finish. Whether one is working a local to national campaign the structure is still the same. This seven-session course will provide an overview and training in modern day campaign planning and implementation all the way from preparing as a candidate, staff roles, media, fundraising and Get Out the Vote strategies.

Communicating Public Policy in the Digital Era

In this class you will focus on translating policy analysis and implementation tools into actionable agents of social change. As such, one of the largest challenges is convincing a skeptical public that the benefits of a policy change or new service outweigh the status quo. In this class we will examine how government entities use digital tools to attempt to tackle this task, using the Obama White House as a case study. This class will give you an in-depth look at how digital tools allow the government to challenge traditional public policy implementation problems.