Courses Typically Offered in the Spring

Race and Voting in the United States

This course will introduce students to the history of and contemporary fight for voting rights in the United States. We will begin with a brief overview of historical struggles over access to the ballot box, up through and including the 15th Amendment and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The bulk of the course will focus on the contemporary context of voting rights, looking specifically at recent Supreme Court decisions, and include scholarship about white backlash against the growing political power of Americans of color.

Healthcare Emergency Management

Emergency events are disruptive. Whether acutely impactful and short-term, negligible and protracted, or any mix thereof, these incidents alter healthcare organizations’ abilities to consistently deliver safe and effective care. While potentially devastating, emergencies are also unique opportunities for exemplary leadership and unprecedented innovation. COVID-19, ransomware, and active shooters are, respectively, a few of the myriad natural, technological, and intentional emergency events that healthcare organizations, and their leaders, face.

Management and Leadership

Management and Leadership is designed to empower you with the skills you will need to make meaningful change in the world—whether you care about bike lanes, criminal justice, prenatal care, community development, urban planning, social investment, or something else. Whatever your passion, you can have an impact by leading and managing. In this course, you will enhance the technical, interpersonal, conceptual, and political skills needed to run effective and efficient organizations embedded in diverse communities, policy arenas, sectors, and industries.

Management Consulting for Public Service Organizations (EMPA)

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?

Truth, Accountability, and Reparations

The global movement for truth, accountability, and reparations has a history that begins with the human rights movement in Latin America and includes (ongoing) struggles to address genocide, human rights abuse, and crimes against humanity in countries as diverse as Liberia, East Timor, Argentina, South Africa, and the United States.

The Practice of Adaptive Leadership (EMPA)

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.

Data and AI Strategies for Social Impact Organizations

Data plays an increasingly important role in powering today’s enterprises, governments and society as a whole. With the rapid pace of innovation, data science, advanced analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are becoming increasingly central and critical to business today. Over time, social impact organizations will deem these tools as core to achieving their mission.

Equitable Community Engagement

Key to the planning profession is engagement. Most of a planner’s work necessitates engagement of institutions and of people in order to effectuate change, and change (or prevention thereof) is the planner’s currency. Specifically this course will look at community engagement, or engagement of the public within a defined geography. What is community? How is it defined? What does it look and feel like? And how does it manifest itself, or not, as part of the planning process? Communities in the United States are rarely equitable, particularly as it relates to planning.

Emergencies, Disasters, and Cities

This course introduces students to the discipline of emergency management to better understand the urban planning and public service approaches necessary to prepare for, respond to, recover from and mitigate future emergency and disaster impacts. Focusing primarily on natural disasters, the course uses case study examples and recent events to expound upon the historical and conceptual frameworks that have and continue to shape this field.

Labor Movement Politics, Advocacy & Social Change

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of U.S. workers involved in work stoppages in 2018 reached its highest point since the mid-1980s. The resurgence of the use of strikes and worker activists withholding labor is set against the backdrop of enormous societal challenges like wealth and income inequality, climate change, and a lack of affordable, quality health care.  

The Intuitive and Counterintuitive in Policy Analysis

How to make decisions in light of pervasive uncertainties? How to think about incentive structures faced by decision-makers, and think through unintended consequences of one’s decisions? Economics, for better or worse, is organized common sense. No more, also no less. This class makes use of the toolkit given to us by economics and applies them to real-world policy problems.

Government Agencies: How Plans, Policies and Projects are Put into Action

This course examines how government agencies implement plans, policies, and projects under real-world constraints. Government agencies are some of the largest and most consequential organizations shaping contemporary life, especially for the poor. Their importance is even more evident now, as governments around the world continue to mishandle the pandemic, slide towards authoritarianism, and abuse the rights of vulnerable people. Surprisingly, their outsized influence is rarely matched by an adequate amount of attention.