University at Albany Teaching

Since I moved into the University at Albany, I have been teaching the following courses. You will find the last syllabus at the end of the course description, and you can log into UAlbany Blackboard if you are registered in any of them.

UAlbany Blackboard


Data, Models and Decisions.- This course introduces computer-based tools for planning, policy analysis, and decision making. Topics include evaluating the quality of data for decision making, database construction and information management, administrative and policy models in spreadsheets, making decisions with multiple criteria, an introduction to probability and decision trees, and the use of simulation models as testbeds for policy making. Emphasis is placed on summarizing information meaningfully for policy makers and different stakeholders, and using standard spreadsheet programs likely to be encountered in the workplace. Get Syllabus.

Computer Modeling for Decision Support.- 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. Get Syllabus.

Information Policy.- Analysis and evaluation of public policies affecting the production, dissemination, and access to information at the national and international levels, in order to better understand their rationale, effectiveness, and appropriateness with regard to their intended role in society. Topics may include concepts of intellectual freedom, the public's right to be informed, freedom of information and privacy legislation, policies on dissemination of information in non-print formats, open government, national security classification, privatizing of government information, issues of equity, and related policy matters.

Causal loop diagram

Business Dynamics.- Why do seemingly good strategies fail to produce the desired results? Are problems so complex that we cannot affect outcomes in any meaningful way? Can we learn from success and failure? This course introduces tools and perspectives that will help you with 'wicked problems,' where complexity, constraints, and conflicting pressures are the norm. This effort covers two related areas - systems thinking (ST) and system dynamics (SD). Systems thinking is an analytic approach that looks for endogenous interactions among elements to explain outcomes. System dynamics uses computer simulation to turn systems thinking ideas into formal models supporting experimentation and hypothesis testing. Employing the techniques of these two areas, we will discover the important role of feedback and structure that drive business growth and failure. We will experiment with strategies that support economic vitality and efficient and effective governance (among other issues) in a time of increasingly scarce resources. The course includes in-class simulation as well as lectures. Simulation exercises provide group-driven interactive learning. Lectures will include the ideas of systems theory, problem structuring, model building and analysis, and techniques for using models for theory building and testing. Get Syllabus.

Simulation for Policy Analysis and Design.- This course provides advanced instruction and practice in the use of simulation science in support of strategic or policy change. The course includes in-class simulation as well as lectures. Simulation exercises provide group-driven interactive learning. Lectures will include problem structuring, formulation, and model validation. The course is offered at variable credit levels to support multiple student populations. Get Syllabus.

Strategy and Systems Thinking.- This is a course designed to teach key aspects of strategic planning and systems thinking without teaching mathematical systems modeling. The course will draw together and teach key concepts from the strategic planning and system thinking literature using cases, examples, and computer-based gaming environments.The course presents a set of concepts and tools for thinking through complex system-wide problems that challenge managers' ability to design and manage large initiatives, strategies and programs. Students will learn to diagnose and solve complex system-level problems by applying strategy planning and systems thinking tools to case examples. Although the course has an emphasis on system dynamics, we will also learn other system approaches to management. This course can be counted as an elective in several of the existing MPA and MPP concentrations as well as the PhD in Information Science. Get Syllabus.

Research Methods for Informatics.- In this course students will gain an understanding of key methods, and techniques in research; prepare to critically evaluate, and engage in research. Topics covered will include: identifying and articulating research problems, posing research questions, research design, data collection strategies, quantitative and qualitative analyses, interpreting results of analyses, and concerns in human subject research. Get Syllabus.

Last Update: December 13, 2020

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