Core Courses

PAdm 701: Public and Nonprofit Governance

Designed to help students develop an understanding of: a) the governmental and political complexities within which public administration operates; b) the nonprofit sector – including its major public-benefits subcomponents – and its role in the public administration environment; and c) challenges facing both public and non-governmental actors. Students should develop a working awareness of the significant concepts and components of the governance, politics, and institutions, that enables them to analyze forces of change in this challenging environment.


PAdm 702: Research Methods in Public Administration

This course uses a combination of lecture, class discussion, examinations and applied projects to demonstrate the principles associated with the scientific research process. Course content emphasizes survey research and program evaluation techniques. Students are required to design a survey instrument and defend the content of the instrument focusing on validity and reliability. The final examination in the class features the development of a research proposal for a program evaluation. The final examination requires student to understand and apply the major research principles that they have learned during the semester. Sampling theory is emphasized in the class to prepare the students for statistical analysis (Public Administration 802).


PAdm 710: Public Sector Organizational Theory and Behavior

Reviews the scope of the field of public administration, including a survey of key concepts and schools of thought underlying the field, and examines issues shaping the future development of the field.


PAdm 725: Public Management of Human Resources

The focus of the course is management of a vital resource: people. It assumes familiarity with the structure and function of local, state and federal government. The course engages students in an examination of human resource management involving paid staff, volunteers, board members and elected officials.


PAdm 765: Public Sector Economics

An analysis of fiscal institutions and decision making in the public sector of the American economy, budget planning and execution, taxation, debt, and fiscal policy.


PAdm 802: Quantitative Methods for Public Sector Professionals

The data used in the class is taken from an applied research project associated with the Center for Urban Studies and the Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs. A multistage learning regiment culminating in written exercises is used to reinforce learning. First, students learn how to calculate and interpret statistics including discussion of important assumptions. Second, a series of oral exercises are used to introduce students to statistics and SPSS procedures used to produce statistics. Third, students read and orally discuss selected readings and how they relate to policy concerns and the empirical evidence. Fourth, students are required to write papers tying readings to empirical evidence. Fifth, each paper requires an executive summary that succinctly presents policy concerns and findings. The content of the papers (3) include: discussion of important issues or problems as defined by selected readings; discussion of the empirical evidence and associated findings including ties to literature based expectations; discussion of policy implications; an executive summary of issues and findings; an appendix with hand calculations and a conceptual explanation of selected statistics.


PAdm 865: Public and Nonprofit Financial Management

Analyzes state and local government expenditure and revenue system; introduces state and local financial administration.


PAdm 895: Public Decision Making

The course focuses on decision making by public managers through the case study method; reviews models of public decision making; explores public management from the perspective of public purposes, politics, organizational results, and ethics.

Elective Courses


PAdm 709: Urban Economics

A survey of the economic structure and problems of urban areas on both the microeconomic and macroeconomic levels. Stresses the application of regional economic analysis in the study of urban areas as economic regions.


PAdm 760: State and Local Economic Development

Explores the roles of state and local governments and officials in economic development through the use of case studies. Examines financing in economic development from the perspectives of public purpose and community objectives.


PAdm 771: Planning Process

For students desiring to work in an urban planning agency or who will be involved in planning issues as an administrator at the city, county, state, or federal level. Also for students seeking an understanding of the complex process of urban-related life. Examines the role of planning in solving human and environmental problems. Emphasizes the relationship between specialists, citizens and elective officials as participants in the planning process.


PAdm 775: Local Government Law

Exposes students to the legal principles which undergrid the foundation of government operation and administration.


PAdm 785: Public Works Administration

An introduction to public works administration and management. Includes discussion of public works professionals; public works organizations and institutions; infrastructure planning, policy, and project analysis; procurement, purchasing, and contract administration; geographic information systems; and transportation, water, waste water, and surface water system construction, maintenance, and replacement.


PAdm 825: State and Local Government Administration

Course is designed for students nearing completion of MPA degree and emphasizing public management. Course exposes students to the ideas and practices of public managers, primarily local public managers, through case analyses, mentoring by public managers, and preparation of original case study guided by public manager.


PAdm 845: Public Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation

The course introduces students to evaluation of public programs and public policy. It assumes a working knowledge of research methods and statistical analysis. Students learn how to work with stakeholders to formulate a ‘researchable’ question. Course participants probe the ‘theory’ or program logic behind a program. Students learn about evaluations done before (needs assessment), during (process or formative evaluation) and after (outcome or summative evaluation).


PAdm 866: Public Financial Management

Deals with selected aspects of state and local government financial management. Introduces fund accounting, costing of governmental services, capital budgeting, debt management, and asset management.


PAdm 867: State and Local Government Budgeting

Analysis of the development and utilization of the budgetary process in government administration emphasizing the budget in relation to its role in policy formulation and management.


PAdm 870: Fundraising and Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations

Prospect research, proposal writing and financial management are essential aspects of effective nonprofit management. The course begins with an introduction to fundraising from public (state, local and federal government) and private sources (individuals, foundations and corporations). It continues by engaging students in analysis of financial statements (balance sheet, revenue and expense statement, cash flow statement and notes) budget preparation (operating, program and capital).


PAdm 871: Community Networks

A number of forces are converging including those associated with the global economy that demand changes in the way that government relates to community including nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). This class uses systems logic to explore how networked solutions might be formed joining the resources of governmental agencies, NGOs, and citizens as coproducers of community improvement. Systems logic and collaborative networks are designed to reduce suboptimization in investment of public resources through collaborative investment. This class encourages students, who are the future of public administration, to view citizens as assets rather than liabilities and illuminates the connection between the behavior of public agencies and the behavior of citizens. Governments that appeal to narrow bands of self-interest will encourage citizen to behave similarly by retreating from responsibility to community into behavior that is increasingly driven by self-interest. Conversely, public agencies who behave in ways that are consistent with the long-term well-being of community are more likely to successfully engage citizens in ways that improve the functioning of government and enlist commitment to community. This class demonstrates how citizens; as individuals, as constituents of government, and as members of NGOs can become coproducers of community improvement.


PAdm 873: Strategic Planning

In this course students will create a strategic plan for a public or nonprofit organization. The course begins with an introduction to measurement and performance management. Students will create a logic model that describes key elements of a service or process. Stakeholder analysis, an environmental scan and SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) will be among the techniques explored. Students will formulate a strategic issue. Scenarios and other planning techniques will be used to assess alternative courses of action. The final produce will be an action plan that will include decision points, cost and implementation details.