PSCI 503 Policy Analysis
MASTERS OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM
Semester: Spring 2013 / Professor: Jeffrey Greene / Telephone: 243-6181
Office: LA 356 / Office Hours: 2-3 p.m. Tue/Wed / E-mail: email@example.com
This class is open to graduate students from any graduate program at the University of Montana. Undergraduates must have the consent of the instructor to take this course.
The online version of PSCI 503 begins on
Wednesday, January 30 and ends April 17.
Public Policy: An Evolutionary Approach, 3/e, by Lester and Stewart (Students can use the 2/e of the book)
for Debate in American Public Policy, 13/e, by The CQ
Researcher (Supplemental Reader)
Public policy is one of the most exciting areas in political science and public administration. PSCI 503 is designed to provide students with an overview of the public policy process and an overview of the history and evolution of policy studies. The course also provides an introduction to the fundamental theories, concepts, terms, and methodologies associated with policy analysis, and an introduction to the basic procedures used in conducting policy analysis.
The purpose of the course is to acquaint students with the complexities of public policy and policy analysis. The course is intended to provide students with an adequate background at a level of understanding appropriate for a variety of public sector employment settings. The course will blend theory and practice. Much of the course will be used discussing and analyzing a series of policy issues included in the Lester and Stewart text and the Issues for Debate in American Public Policy text by Congressional Quarterly via the Discussion Board. The online version of PSCI 503 is a 12-week session.
Objective #1: To provide students with a general understanding of public policy and policy analysis by reading and discussing classic and contemporary literature. Students will be exposed to the basic concepts, terms, and methodologies associated with policy studies. In this process, students will gain a general understanding of the history and evolution of policy studies. Students’ proficiency will be measured via the discussion board. The traditional written, comprehensive exam that was used in the past will not be used in this section of PSCI 503.
Objective #2: To enhance students’ ability to write concise reports pertaining to public policy. This objective will be accomplished by having students write article critiques and an 10-12 page policy summary. Details of these projects are explained later in the syllabus. Students’ proficiency will be assessed via the written article critiques and the policy summary paper.
Objective #3: To provide students with the basic procedures used to conduct policy analysis. Students’ proficiency in this area will be assessed by material included on the comprehensive exam. Students will also develop proficiency at "framing" policy issues. This idea is illustrated in the National Issue Forums' books.
Upon success completion of the course, students should be able to:
Additional and more specific learning objectives can be viewed at PSCI 503 Learning Objectives.
REQUIREMENTS: TAKE HOME EXAM (POLICY SUMMARY PAPER), and ARTICLE SUMMARIES
The policy paper that requires the integration of concepts and the use of critical thinking skills, and analyzing a public policy choices. You can pick any policy area of interest to you personally for this paper. You can also find materials at Public Agenda, www.publicagenda.org
Article Critique Guidelines
The McCool text contains a variety of articles about public policy. All students must write five (5) article critiques for this class taken from the McCool text. The critiques constitute 20 percent of one’s final grade.
There are some specific questions one should consider while reading the article and developing a summary.
1. What is the major subject and theme of the article?
2. What is the major question the author addresses?
3. What techniques, tools of analysis, or methods are employed by the author to answer the question? (If applicable)
4. What major points does the author make?
5. What does the author conclude? What suggestions are made?
6. What is the relevance of the article to theory or practice? (What does it mean?)
7. Is there anything in the article (a point, lesson, etc.) that you can "take back to the office?"
Click here for a sample article critique.
ATTENDANCE: Students are encouraged to participate in class. Attendance and participation is based on the Discussion Board.
COURSE OUTLINE and READINGS
Session 1 Introduction, Background, and Context: What is Public Policy? What is Policy Analysis? (January 30; due February 6)
Lester & Stewart, Chapters 1,2
McCool, Sections 1,2
Assigned Articles (McCool)
"Interest Groups and the Nature of the State" by Truman _____________
"Three Types of Pluralism" by Kelso ______________
"The Golden Era of Interest Group Pluralism" by Garson _____________
"The Comparative Study of Political Elites" by Putnam _______________
"A Critique of Elitist Theory of Democracy" by Walker ______________
"Policy Analysis" by Banfield ________________
and Models (February
6; due February 13)
Assigned Articles (McCool)
"The Political System Under Stress" by Easton ________________
"Fiscal Behavior of the Modern Democratic State by Mitchell ________________
"The Science of Muddling Through" by Lindblom _______________
"Stages of the Policy Process" by Ripley ___________________
Session 3 Analysis in the Policy Process: Agenda Setting and Policy Formulation (February 13; due February 20)
Lester & Stewart, Chapters 5,6
Assigned Articles (McCool)
"Four Systems of Policy, Politics, and Choice" by Lowi ________________
"Developing Public Policy Theory..." by Greenberg, Miller, Mohr, and Vladeck _______________
"Typologies of Public Policy..." by Steinberger ___________________
"Promoting Policy Theory" by Spitzer _______________________
Assigned Articles (McCool)
"The Subsystems in Perspective" by Freeman ________________
"Issue Networks and the Executive Establishment" by Heclo _________________
"Patterns of Influence among Committees, Agencies, and Interest Groups" by Hamm ______________
Advocacy Coalition Framework of Policy Change and the Role of Policy Leaning
Therein" by Sabatier __________________
"Introduction: The Age of Dead Ideas?" by McCool ______________
"The Future: Theoretical Choices" by McCool _______________
PART 2 ANALYZING POLICY CHOICES AND POLICY ISSUES
Analyzing Public Policy Choices
This section will examine a variety
of policies, including Education Policy, Welfare Policy, Crime Policy, and
Environmental Policy from the Lester & Stewart text. Also, additional
policies are included from the CQ Reader such as rising costs of higher
education, race relations, gay marriage, media issues, and many others. You
may find one of these useful for your policy summary paper (the take home
exam). Please note that the original syllabus was prepared using the 13/e of
the CQ Reader. It should also be noted that there are some differences
between the Lester and Stewart 3/e and 2/e (mainly updated material and the
2/e includes a chapter on crime policy that was not included in the 3/e). You
can use either edition of the Lester and Stewart book.
#9 "Digital Education" ____________________
#10 "Student Debt" ______________________
Session 6 Welfare Policy (Lester and Stewart, Chapter 11 and Chapters 12, 13, and 14 in the CQ Reader for Welfare Policy). (March 6; due March 13)
#12 “Occupy Movement” _______________________
Session 7: Health Care Policy (Lester & Stewart, Chapter 12) and Chapters 15 and 16 the CQ Reader, (March 13;due March 20)
#15 "Preventing Disease" ____________________
Obamacare updates: For years there have been complaints about health care policy in the United States. In late 2009, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare) was passed under a cloud of controversy by a few votes in the House and by Democrats in the Senate in late December along party lines. It was signed into law in March 2010 by President Obama. It was challenged in federal courts, and ultimately ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. This link provides recent articles and updates about the law. http://ihealthcareupdates.com/ It is the most significant change to our health care system ever and remains controversial to this date. One cannot discuss health care in the U.S. without including Obamacare. Other significant laws include Medicare and Medicaid, both passed in the 1960s.
Session 8: Environmental Policy (Lester & Stewart, Chapter 13 in the 2/e) and Chapters 3 and 4 in the CQ Reader, (March 20; due March 27)
"Fracking Controversy" ___________________
Session 9: Spring Break April 1 – 5
Policy Paper is Assigned (Due April 17)
Session 10: Business and the Economy (No readings in Lester & Stewart) Chapters 6, 7 and 8 in the CQ Reader), (March 27; due April 10)
Assigned Article (McCool)
"American Business, Public Policy, Case Studies, and Political Theory" by Lowi _____________
#6 "Financial Misconduct"
Session 11: All work is due (April 17)
Session 12: All work will be returned (April 24) Note that the online class is a 12-week session
Study Guide and PSCI 503 Learning Objectives (The learning objectives are considered to be part of
the study guide. Although there will not be a traditional exam is this
section, the learning objectives should be reviewed by all students.)