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Public Administration Undergraduate
Courses & Syllabi (Fall 2014)

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This course introduces students to the process of public policy making. This course analyzes public policy making as the outcome of a number of political actors and processes. As a student in this course, you will gain a greater appreciation for the complexity of policymaking, the vast number of actors involved in policy making, and the factors that make policies more or less successful. Through the course, we will ask questions such as: Where do ideas for policies come from in the first place? Why do some ideas get attention while other problems are ignored? What does it take to get a policy formulated, enacted, and successfully implemented? What are the roles of the executive, legislature, courts, interest groups, business, the news media, and other actors in the policy process? Why do some policies, even after extensive research and analysis, seem so irrational and haphazard? There are no prerequisites for this course. Only one version of RPAD/RPOS 140 may be taken for credit.

RPAD 204 COMPUTER MODEL DECISION                                              
Making tough decisions – can computers help? Students will learn to use Internet technologies as well as techniques in computer modeling for critical thinking, policy analysis, and decision support. Topics include a review of quantitative methods for strategic analysis, tools for helping make tough decisions, and a survey of formal modeling techniques.

The major objective of this course is to provide students with an opportunity to explore basic ideas about how people work in large (work) organizations, and the processes and structures that operate day to day in such organizations. The course examines how people act and interact within organizations and attempt to change those organizations, and how organizations react to the individuals who comprise the organization. The course uses multiple perspectives or frames as a way of understanding of individual and organizational behavior in work organizations. Only one version of R PAD 302 may be taken for credit. ** Note this class meets on downtown campus.

This course is designed to provide students an introduction to the field of public administration, including its practice, themes and values, and contemporary challenges. Public administration is government in action, as broadly defined by Woodrow Wilson in 1887. Public administration includes activities taken directly by government, or indirectly by its partners, to meet the democratically expressed needs of the public. These activities include policy design, implementation, evaluation of outcomes, and re-design or re-direction. By the end of the course, students should have a basic understanding of 1) the relationship and tensions between politics and administration, 2) various means for assuring administrative accountability and responsiveness, and 3) the challenges associated with implementing public programs. It is intended that students will leave the course with a substantive, applied understanding of the values and practice of public administration. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior class standing. ** Note this class meets on downtown campus.

Introduction to research design, statistics, and computer usage in public policy with an emphasis on the interpretation of results. Students examine experimental, quasi-experimental and nonexperimental research designs, summarize and present univariate distributions, perform bivariate and multivariate analyses including simple cross-tabulations and multiple regression analysis, and learn to use a computer to perform statistical and data management operations. Required for public affairs majors. Only one version of R PAD 316 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite: RPAD 204.

Introduction to the major political and governmental institutions of New York State. Examines the historical, constitutional, and economic setting of government and politics in New York State; the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of state government with an emphasis on separation of powers and checks and balances among the branches; state-local relations and federal-state relations; and the nature of party competition and elections in New York's unusual multi-party system.

Examination of the role of the of the courts in the public policy process and in substantive policy fields; integrates the literature of law and policy and applies it to such areas as mental health care, corrections, human resources, education, and housing policy. Only one version of R POS 328 may be taken for credit.

Examination of political behavior within and among administrative agencies, focusing on the sources of power in the bureaucracy, and the ways in which agencies use their political resources to shape public policy. Only one version of RPAD 329Z/RPOS 329 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): RPOS 101 and 102, or junior or senior standing.

RPAD 350/RPOS 350 COMPARATIVE PUBLIC POLICY                                 
Why do countries differ in their policy choices? Why do some countries provide health care and education through the public sector, while in others the provision is mostly private? Why do some countries borrow extensively while others keep their budgets in balance? Why do some countries pay unemployment benefits indefinitely, while others barely pay such benefits at all? This course answers such questions by exploring the nature of social conflicts surrounding policy-making, the differences in national policy-making institutions, changing ideas about the desirable goals and best types of policies and the influence of the international economic and political environment on national policy-making.

This course explores the ways that economists have drawn on psychology to build richer models of human behavior.  We will analyze the actual choices of economic decision-makers in the lab and in the field.  What are the implications of human psychology for economic policy in areas such as savings behavior, economic development, health care, poverty, and consumer protection?  Along the way, we will also work on a few specific skills.  We will cover core principles of present discounted values (a concept used in any evaluation with a time dimension, from pricing a bond to deciding whether to invest in green energy).  We will learn how to apply Bayes' Rule (the central organizing principle of probability theory).  We will learn some of the fundamentals of experimental design.  Most importantly, we will work on writing with numbers.  Specifically, we will think about how to structure papers, sentences, and tables to direct the reader's attention to your key points, especially when you are using quantitative information.  Prerequisite(s): AECO 110, AECO 111, and a 300-level statistics course such as RPAD 316 or AECO 320.   ** Note this class meets on downtown campus.

The class investigates how environmental consciousness arose in major industrial countries and the subsequent formation of environmental policies and institutions in China and India. After reviewing US experience, the class considers critical dilemmas including climate change, water scarcity and renewable energy. Prerequisite: junior or senior status.

This course provides an overview of major theoretical, empirical and policy perspectives in the field of international political economy as a sub-discipline. It starts with the general theoretical frameworks that integrate perspectives of international relations and political economy. It will then explore ways to apply these theoretical frameworks to examine cooperation, interdependence, and contention across global, regional and local state and non-state actors. Special attentions will be paid to interactions between international and domestic institutions, interests, and ideas in a variety of political and economic issues the increasingly integrated global markets. The course will cover historical and contemporary issues such as global trade politics, multinational corporations, international monetary system, global economic crises, aid and development, and controversies around globalization and its limits.  Only one version of R POS 395 may be taken for credit.

From the 1960s in developed countries has progressively widened their involvement in the lives of citizens. The state has assumed the responcibility for the welfare of people not only through public pensions, heath care, education, unemployment benefits and the like, but also through interventions in the economy to smooth out business cycles, stimulate growth and mitigate unemployment. By the 1980s, the tide had turned and many contries were attempting to retreat from the path of the ever-growing welfare state. This course stuides both processes, with special attention given to the cross-national differences within the general patterns. It seeks to explain the driving forces behind the expansion of the welfare state from the 1960s and the differential success of countries in reversing that trend since the 1980s.

The development, operation, and regulation of technological systems shape modern financial markets. These systems are developed and overseen by market centers, clearing organizations, and other market infrastructure organizations, as well as sell-side financial firms, institutional investors and other buy-side participants, corporations, technology providers, and public and private regulators. Market controls, technological development, and regulation shape this system individually and interactively. This course examines the central features of technology in financial markets and how market and regulatory controls and social and behavioral conditions produce and interact with them. Prerequisite(s): prior coursework in study of regulation and/or finance highly recommended.

RRPAD 498/RPOS 390 APPLIED PUBLIC AFFAIRS CAPSTONE                   This capstone course includes the completion of an internship and a linked classroom experience. This internship course integrates the policy and management coursework with practical experience in political and administrative institutions. Students are required to undertake an internship in public policy or public management, typically with a state agency or a non-profit organization. In the course, students will learn practical issues of implementing policy or managing public affairs. They will use written assignments and oral presentations to discuss how their coursework relates to their internship experience. May not be taken by students with credit for RPAD 498/RPOS 390. Prerequisite(s): RPAD 140, RPAD 316, AECO 110, RPOS 101, RPAD 302, and a cumulative grade point average of 2.0.

This course builds on the analytical tools and theoretical concepts developed in the Public Policy and Management core to explore the field of policy analysis, rationales for policy intervention, and a range of policy tools. Students will learn how to locate and apply external information sources, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of existing policy analyses, develop a plan to study a new policy issue, and effectively communicate these complex ideas in writing. May not be taken by students with credit for RPOS/ RPAD 340. Prerequisite(s): R PAD 140, R PAD 316, A ECO 110, A ECO 111. Only for students graduating in May or December 2014 who have NOT taken RPAD 340.

Overview of U.S. and international law addressing the global crisis of catastrophic climate change. The course includes a general overview of the science, economics, policy and legal framework of the law of climate change. This includes the international law of treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol, the international human right to a clean environment, and the attempts to locate and enforce such rights in international and U.S. law. In domestic law, the course examines what governs the principal source of greenhouse gases: transportation and electricity generation. Included is a review of the centrality of the car in our culture and its limits, and the regulation of the electric and natural gas industries – the sources for lighting and heating. The course examines current federal, regional, and state models to mitigate global warming. In addition, students will negotiate treaties, write legal documents, and argue their case.

This course examines the public regulation of business, surveying the field in general but with special attention to regulatory controls in financial markets. Its subjects include the justifications and critiques of government regulation, ethical considerations in regulatory decisions, international dimensions of regulatory policy and management, and how political, legal, and technological processes shape regulation. ** This course is restricted to the Honors College Students **