Kristen O Obst
Doctor of Philosophy: University of Delaware
DEGREE AT A GLANCE:
The Master of Public Administration degree program provides a unique program of study in administrative theory, the program and policy development process, and specific case studies in public policy. This degree program is designed to offer graduates of various undergraduate programs an opportunity to obtain high levels of proficiency of technical and managerial skills to enhance public service work. It aims at broad-level understanding of the goals and challenges of public administration and the relationship of these to more specialized aspects of planning, organization, management, and analysis in the public sector at the national, state and local levels. The degree program is designed to provide advanced study and prepare current and future government employees for management positions in government at all levels. Because of its focus on management and the expanding role of the private sector in providing traditional government services, the degree program is also applicable to industry and the non-profit sector. Students must take POLS500 as the first required course in this program
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PADM699 - Master's Capstone Seminar in Public Administration
The capstone seminar includes a thesis, or a major research project or paper.
In addition to the institutional and degree level learning outcomes objectives, the Master of Public Administration seeks the following specific learning outcomes of its graduates:
Applied Research Methods in Public Administration
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the elements for building research projects and analyzing research in the public administration setting. Topics will include developing research questions, research hypotheses, use of theory in the research project, and the distinction between qualitative and quantitative methods. Students will learn how to select the best methods for the issue or problem being researched. Methods covered in the class include interviewing, survey research, focus groups, content analysis, case study methods, observations, and an overview of statistical methods focused on comprehending statistics. No prerequisite.
Ethics in Government
One only has to pick up the newspaper (or click on the news feed on your mobile phone!) to see examples of the ethical minefields in public service. Sometimes these issues are easy to spot, at other times they are not. This course will look at the moral versus legal aspects of ethics in public administration. Organizational culture and its impact on ethical decision making will be emphasized at the local, state and federal levels. Political activities and the Hatch Act will be considered as well as other restrictions faced by public employees because of their unique requirement to uphold the public trust. Students will be asked to do an in-depth study on a governmental agency and report the findings to the class. Students will also critique and analyze real world case studies and examine current trends in distribution and enforcement of these policies. This course will culminate in the preparation of an ethics code for a hypothetical program. No prerequisite.
Public Administration in Society
The study and practice of public administration is explored in its political context. The student is introduced to the environment within which public administration functions and the dynamics of behavior within large organizations. How choices are made among competing policies, factors affecting the implementation of policy, and the role of policy evaluation in shaping policy choices are examined. Managing large scale bureaucratic organizations is analyzed including the role of leadership, the management of personnel and finances, and the role of communication in inter- and intra-organizational relations.
This course examines the way government policies emerge from the political process and are implemented through participating institutions. In this class students will investigate how good analysis can contribute to informed policy-making and review the factors that go into developing effective implementation strategies. In addition, today’s need for enhanced public accountability and the challenging problems of measuring program performance are examined.
This course examines a range of management issues and strategies within the context of managing public organizations. The core focus is on an enhanced understanding of the theoretical and practical approaches to public management, an examination of enduring and day-to-day dilemmas faced by competent public managers, and the application of relevant theories to public management within the United States.
This course covers public budgeting from the public manager’s perspective. Whether you are currently or hope to be a manager for federal, state or local government or a local or national nonprofit, this course will give you a good overview of budgeting and how it relates to you. Topics include budgetary history, revenue and expenditure management, budgeting processes and operating techniques.
This is an interactive course designed to help students achieve a greater understanding of the statistical methods and models available to analyze data and to solve problems associated with making decisions and testing hypotheses in uncertain conditions. The course is designed for students seeking a thorough appreciation of how statistical tools can support sound decision making efforts in a wide range of situations. Topics covered include inferential statistics, averages, measures of variation, the Normal distribution and its uses, sampling distributions, hypothesis testing for large and small samples, regression and correlation, and Chi-Square distributions. The skills, tools and methodologies needed to analyze systems and to make decisions are provided. State of the art analytical tools and quantitative methods, including computer-based solutions are discussed. The emphasis of the course will be on the proper use of statistical techniques and their implementation rather than on mathematical proofs. However, some mathematics is necessary in order to understand the proper application of the techniques introduced and discussed during the course.
This course covers the major administrative theories that drive macro-level public behavior. It will begin with a consideration of the broad significance of the study of public organizations for individuals in modern society. It will then examine how theorists and practitioners have sought to develop more formal perspectives on public management. It will examine those ideas that are of greatest relevance to the construction of an integrated theory of public organizations. The progression of the course follows the evolution of administrative theory from the pioneering work of Weber, Taylor and Woodrow Wilson to current theories regarding the “New Public Management.”
Law and Public Policy
This course provides an introduction to the law and legal system as it applies to public administration and policy. It covers the interrelation of norms, moral codes and formal laws. The attempt to address social concerns with new laws and regulations has created increased pressure in the courts and legislative chambers. This course examines the sources, influences, operation and consequences of law and public policy formation, and analyzes public policy initiatives from political and legal aspects as to their intentions, achievable aims, and intended and unintended outcomes.
This course is designed to develop fundamental skills essential for students to evaluate public programs. Knowledge of the policy process and research methods is brought together in the ethical assessment of program needs, processes, and outcomes.
Local Political Administration
This course is an analysis and provides research on legislatures, legislators, and the legislative process at national, state, and local levels. It focuses on legislative structures, decision making, and behavior among nations, U.S. states, and local governments.
The U.S. Presidency, Congress, & Bureaucracy
The course covers a combination of theories and applications that will provide the student with basic tools required to understand, navigate, and communicate with the three administrative elements of the federal government. The emphasis of the course is based on a study of composing, legislating, implementing, and enforcing public policy set against a background of both historical and current elements.
Legislatures and Legislative Behavior
This course focuses on legislative structure and decision-making. Through reading, studying, and reflecting upon legislatures, legislators, and legislative processes, students will examine the U.S. legislative structure and conduct an analysis of comparative legislative behavior.
Emergency and Disaster Theory
This course establishes the theoretical foundation that enables the study and understanding of what constitutes ‘disaster’ as a part of the human condition and experience. Students are given a basic understanding of scientific concepts such as fact, theory, and hypothesis. These are then illustrated by analysis and case studies provided by renowned thinkers and writers in the field of emergency and disaster management. Students leave the class with a quality theoretical foundation from which to conduct all of their future master’s-level work.
Emergency and Disaster Planning and Management
This is a survey course that is designed to introduce students to the concepts of emergency management. Topics covered include the history of the field, hazard analysis, mitigation, planning, communication, response, recovery, and terrorism. Students conduct interview research with an emergency manager and conduct a site visit of an emergency operations center. Students can use this course to springboard into advanced topics within the field as offered by other courses, and is a great place for students to begin their emergency management degree programs.
Interagency Disaster Management
This course deals with the interaction, coordination, and facilitation between federal, state, and local agencies during preparation, response, and recovery operations. The history of emergency response organizational development is explored, along with the current structural and operational design provided by the National Response Framework (NRF) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Finally, the potential for public-private partnerships in disaster response is examined. Students will achieve an understanding of how all of the various agencies work together to achieve emergency management and disaster response goals and objectives.
Economics of Disaster
This course is a study of the economics associated with international, national, state, or local level disaster. Students will study, analyze, and conduct research on the direct and indirect economic losses associated with disaster. The course will cover the economics associated with both public and private institutions.
Final Program Requirement
Public Administration Capstone
The capstone for the Public Administration program includes a thesis, or a major research project or paper. This course may not be taken until all other courses are COMPLETED and student has a 3.0 GPA.
Electives are typically courses available at your degree level that are not currently required as a part of your degree program/academic plan. Please visit the catalog to view a complete listing of courses.
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