SeminarinPublic!Policy! Public!Affairs!880K06!

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Seminar  in  Public  Policy  
                                  Public  Affairs  880K06  
                                                   
                                                  Syllabus  
                                                           
                                            Winter,  2011  
                                                           
       Professor:  David  Landsbergen                            Time:  Thursday,  1:30-4:18  
             Office:  310F  Page  Hall                            Location:  240  Page  Hall  
                 Phone:  292-9577                            Office  Hours:  Thursday  4:30-5:30  &  
                                                                          By  Appointment  
  
  
Introduction  
  
This  seminar  is  designed  to  heighten  the  graduate  student's  ability  to  think  critically  
about  public  policy  research.    It  builds  upon  the  ideas  and  discussions  in  "The  
History  of  Public  Administration  Thought  and  Current  Directions".    It  is  one  of  the  
two  policy  courses  offered  in  the  Ph.D.  program  in  Public  Policy.  
  
The  Ph.  D.  degree  requires  the  mastery  of  a  body  of  research  concepts  and  
techniques  and  the  ability  to  apply  them  to  extend  knowledge  in  the  candidate's  
area  of  expertise.    It  further  requires  the  ability  to  analyze  critically  a  body  of  
literature  as  a  prerequisite  for  advancing  that  literature.    Mere  familiarity  is  not  
sufficient.    This  course  will  emphasize  the  critical  assessment  of  public  policy  
research  on  policy  formulation,  implementation,  and  evaluation.  
  
There  are  three  primary  crosscutting  perspectives.    There  is,  first,  an  historical  
perspective  that  is  concerned  with  the  chronology  and  currency  of  ideas.    A  second  
perspective  is  cultural.    This  perspective  illuminates  how  concepts  are  reflections  of  
a  distinctive  set  of  values,  ideology,  and  customs  as  well  as  preferred  modes  of  
reasoning.    In  this  vein,  understanding  the  epistemology  and  ontology  of  the  field  is  
key.    The  third  perspective  is  analytical  with  an  emphasis  on  the  authority,  
justification,  value,  and  "workability"  of  ideas;  i.e.,  how  they  shape  our  thinking,  both  
normatively  and  empirically  and  both  intellectually  and  pragmatically.  
Seminar  Objectives  
  
The  purpose  of  this  course  is  to  introduce  doctoral  students  to  the  historical  
intellectual  conversations  about  the  nature  and  scope  of  American  public  policy.      
More  specifically,  the  objectives  are  to:  
  
        a.  enable  students  to  develop  a  "cognitive  map"  of  the  major  contributors  and  
        their  intellectual  relationships;  
          
        b.  identify  the  major  theoretical  and  practical  issues  in  the  field  and  some  of  
        the  answers  that  have  already  been  given;  
          
        c.  develop  the  ability  to  think  critically,  synthetically,  and  to  develop  new  
        theory;  
          
        d.  learn  the  craft  of  writing  academic  papers;  and  
          
        e.  learn  the  craft  of  writing  a  critical  book  review.  
          
  
  
Grading  
  
                  Course Requirement                                 Percentage of Grade
                  Weekly Written Critiques                                      40%
                  Seminar Participation                                         20%
                  Literature or "Classic" Book Review                           40%
  
  
Seminar  Requirements  
  
There  are  three  seminar  requirements.  
  
1.  Weekly  Written  Critiques  (40%  of  your  grade)    
  
It  is  expected  in  a  Ph.D.  seminar  that  everyone  will  read  the  assigned  readings.    
  
In  addition,  the  responsibility  of  leading  the  discussion  of  each  one  of  the  readings  
will  be  assigned  to  various  individuals  throughout  the  quarter.  
  
These  assignments  will  be  based  upon  several  criteria  including,  but  not  limited  to,  
the  interest  of  the  student,  how  the  class  discussion  develops  along  any  number  of  


                                                        2  
  
important  theoretical  themes,  or  my  judgment  that  someone  could  benefit  from  
reading  a  work  "that  takes  them  out  of  their  comfort  zone".    
  
Once  the  quarter  begins,  we  will  make  up  an  assignment  list  for  the  rest  of  the  
quarter  so  that  you  can  plan  our  work  schedule.    The  only  individuals  responsible  
for  producing  a  written  critique  are  the  persons  responsible  for  leading  the  class  
discussion  on  that  reading.  
  
Your  grade  will  be  based  on  the  quality  of  the  written  review  as  well  as  how  well  
you  present  your  review.  
  
  
Written  Review  
  
The  written  review  should  consist  of  two  parts.    I  have  uploaded  some  examples  to  
the  Carmen  website  (Knoke.rtf,  Lindblom.rtf,  Powell.rtf,  Taylor.rtf).  
  
The  first  part  should  be  a  brief  factual  description  of  the  main  points  of  the  reading.    
This  does  not  involve  any  critique  and  ideally  your  description  of  what  the  author(s)  
is  saying  would  be  agreeable  to  both  the  author  and  critics  of  the  work.    This  will  
allow  the  reader  to  quickly  identify  the  main  contribution  of  the  work.    Please  limit  
your  use  of  direct  quotes,  except  where  necessary.  
  
The  second  part  of  the  written  review  should  be  a  critique  of  the  work.    Review  
Appendix  1,  for  directions  on  how  to  write  up  a  critique  of  your  assigned  readings.  
  
Please  limit  your  critique  to  three  pages  in  length.  
  
  
Presentation  of  Review  
  
Your  grade  is  also  dependent  upon  how  well  you  present  your  review.    This  includes  
how  well  you  present  your  summary  and  critique  of  your  assigned  reading  AND  
how  well  you  listen  to  the  comments  of  your  peers  (using  the  same  criteria  in  
Appendix  1).  
  
Please  do  not  read  your  critiques!    You  should  understand  the  reading  and  your  
critique  of  the  work  sufficiently  that  you  need  only  refer  to  your  notes,  not  read  
from  them.  
  
  
How  to  Exchange  Files  
  
The  written  critiques  should  be  made  available  to  the  class  by  Monday  night  (12  
a.m.)  so  that  we  have  enough  time  to  read,  think  about,  and  formulate  our  questions  
before  the  seminar  on  Thursday  afternoon.  
                                                           3  
  
  
To  make  the  copies  available  to  your  colleagues,  email  a  copy  of  your  review  in  RTF  
format  to  everyone  in  the  class.    Our  email  addresses  can  be  found  on  the  Carmen  
website.  
  
Students  will  receive  feedback  from  their  peers  during  the  class  discussion  and,  if  
necessary,  additional  comments  from  the  instructor.    
  
  
2.  Class  Participation  (20%  of  your  grade)  
  
The  second  requirement  in  this  class  is  class  participation.    Class  discussion  will  
bring  out  the  subtleties,  connections  to  other  works,  and  the  relevance  and  power  of  
these  ideas  for  modern  theory  and  practice.  
  
Your  class  participation  grade  (20%)  is  dependent  upon  how  well  you  summarize,  
critique  and  present  the  article  AND  listen  and  react  to  the  presentation  made  by  
your  peers  of  their  assigned  articles  (using  the  same  criteria  in  Appendix  1).  Also,  
please  review  the  specific  questions  I  have  asked  the  class  to  consider  for  each  
session.      
  
Your  assignment  includes  reading  others'  critiques  before  the  class,  listening  to  
their  presentation,  and  making  sure  that  it  makes  sense  to  you  and  the  class.  
  
  
3.  Literature  Review  OR  Review  of  "Classic"  Book  in  Policy  Sciences  /  Policy  
Analysis      (40%  of  your  grade)  
  
Please  "drop"  your  assignment  in  the  "Dropbox"  on  the  course  website.  
  
Option  A:  Literature  Review  Relevant  to  Your  Dissertation  /  Research  Interests  
  
The  final  assignment  is  to  write  a  manuscript  that  traces  the  intellectual  
development  of  an  important  issue  or  field  of  specialization  within  public  policy  that  
is  relevant  to  your  interests.    The  primary  requirement  is  that  this  topic  be  of  
interest  to  you  (which  usually  means  that  it  may  have  some  relationship  to  your  
future  dissertation  topic).    For  example,  one  could  trace  the  development  of  
research  on  public  participation  and  public  policy,  the  role  street-level  bureaucrats  
in  implementing  policy,  or  what  the  critical  factors  in  policy  innovation  are.    
  
The  purpose  of  this  assignment  is  for  you  to  begin  gaining  mastery  over  a  particular  
subject  area  in  public  policy.    This  is  a  first  and  important  step  in  beginning  your  
dissertation  work  and  ultimately,  your  professional  development  as  an  academic.    
Appendix  2  gives  some  suggestions  on  how  you  might  proceed  with  this  assignment.    
I  strongly  encourage  you  to  talk  to  me  or  to  your  classmates  frequently  about  your  
ideas  or  doubts.    If  you  do  not  contact  me,  I  will  be  contacting  you.    
                                                        4  
  
  
Here  are  the  due  dates:  
  
           1.  January  20  -  One  paragraph  description  of  your  topic  including  an  
           explanation  of  the  issue,  why  it  is  important  to  study,  how  it  fits  in  within  
           your  longer  career  goals.    It  is  important  that  when  you  write,  you  begin  
           writing  with  a  target  journal  in  mind.    Please  also  identify  a  target  journal  
           (and  secondary  and  tertiary  journals  should  your  article  be  rejected  at  the  
           primary  target  journal).  
             
           2.  February  17  -  Rough  draft  of  literature  review  
             
           3.  March  10  -  Final  Paper  
  
Appendix  3  provides  a  listing  of  some  of  the  more  important  journals  in  the  field  of  
Public  Policy.  
  
  
Option  B:  Review  of  a  "Classic"  Book  in  Policy  Analysis  or  Policy  Science  
  
As  an  alternative,  you  can  review  a  "classic"  book.    Appendix  4  lists  some  suggested  
books  (and  articles).    If  you  would  like  to  read  something  else,  please  discuss  with  
the  instructor  first.  
  
           1.  January  20    Identify  your  selected  book  
             
           2.  February  17  -  Rough  draft  of  critique  
             
           3.  March  10  -  Final  Paper  
  
  
Course  Readings  
  
The  following  books  are  required:  
  
1.  Theories  of  the  Policy  Process,  edited  by  Paul  A.  Sabatier.  (S)  2007.  
  
2.  Evaluating  Public  Policy,  Frank  Fischer.  (F)  2005.    
  
3.  Agendas,  Alternatives,  and  Public  Policies  (2d.  Edition),  John  Kingdon  (K)  2002.  
  
  
  



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