Courses In: Government

The Intersection of Operations, Policy, and Leadership

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.

Transformative Participation for Democratic Practice

This course introduces participatory frameworks and tools that help students cultivate capabilities to engage others and participate with them in sustained collaborative problem solving within a highly contested public service environment.

Segregation and Public Policy

Students in this course will explore the spatial aspects of inequality, including racial segregation, concentrated poverty, and government structure. Course materials will investigate the consequences of these inequalities for individuals, communities, and American society as a whole, as well as how these seemingly-intractable problems were created by and continue because of public policy decisions. This course will be an interactive experience, requiring preparation before coming to class and active exchange during class.

Behavioral Economics and Public Policy Design

Standard economic theory assumes that individuals are fully rational decision-makers; however, that is often not the case in the real world. Behavioral economics uses findings from lab and field experiments to advance existing economic models by identifying ways in which individuals are systematically irrational. This course gives an overview of key insights from behavioral science and identifies ways in which these findings have been used to advance policies on education, health, energy, taxation, and more.

Terrorism and Counterterrorism Policy

How do terrorist organizations die? What can governments do to hasten their end? Are there government policies that are actually counterproductive?  After nearly a half-century of experience with international terrorism, governments are still having a hard time managing the threat of terrorism. What does the data show us about the efficacy of counterterrorism policies? Moreover, can the data help us discern the lifecycle of terrorism groups? Are there some basic elements to the organizational culture of terrorist groups that states can use to undermine them?

Political Participation and Policy

Why do individuals choose to participate in politics and public life? This is an important question, since much of public policy depends on direct or indirect citizen support in the form of compliance, engagement, or collective action. Without it, even sound policies can fail to be broadly implemented. This course provides a “bottom up” view by exploring the motivations and constraints behind various kinds of civic engagement. We will cover voting, political mobilization, cooperation with the state, and the role of public opinion in both the American and international policy contexts.

Performance Measurement & Management for Public, Nonprofit, & Healthcare Organizations

All public and not-for-profit organizations must assemble and report information on their performance. The need for performance measures goes beyond legal and regulatory requirements. To provide services effectively and efficiently, managers need information to make decisions. This course focuses on what performance measures are needed, how they should be created and what forms of communication are most effective.

Responsible Governance

Responsibility in implementing public policies is the purpose of public management in a democratic society.  This course provides an analytic lens for understanding the rules, norms, processes and practices that incorporate values into administrative decisions.  We use both normative and positive theoretical arguments to understand how responsible action combines accountability with discretionary action.  To bring theory to bear on practice, we evaluate difficult cases—historical and contemporary, domestic and international—in light of these arguments.