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NLPA 120: Civic Engagement and Community Decision Making

This course is relevant to general education students as engagement is an expectation of citizenship in a democratic society. This course introduces civic responsibilities and obligations as well as rights while helping students form logical positions on issues that impact them. This course also offers skills and strategies students can use to engage other citizens at the community level. Regardless of major, all students who successfully complete this course can apply course concepts to understand other complex social issues they may confront in other social science courses and throughout their post-university civic lives. The interdisciplinary, integrated and experiential learning approaches employed in this course challenge students to demonstrate knowledge of diverse experiences, cultures and identities while engaging in ethical reasoning and practicing civic knowledge and engagement.

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NLPA 328: Program Design and Evaluation

Program design is needed by funders, agencies and individuals who develop programs to serve the community to identify: an authentic need; populations to be served; goals, processes and outcomes. Program evaluations are used to provide feedback to the stakeholders to help make decisions and make the program and services more effective. They are essential to address the ever-changing demands to increase accountability. Program design and evaluation is one of the 10 core competencies identified by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA) as critical to nonprofit employment success. In general, any organization within any sector with some level of accountability is expected to engaged with the program design and evaluation process. Increasingly, new hires in these sectors are expected to have the skills to design and evaluate programs. This course will involve service-learning experiences with research methods and the tools required for effective program design and evaluation.

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PUB 500: Politics, Policy & Public Administration

What is public administration and public policy? This class will seek to answer this question. We will be exploring public ethics, citizen engagement, e-government, human resources and the policy process. We will explore theory as well as practical issues related to public service and public policymaking. The first 7 weeks of this course will be focused on public administration. This is when we will use the textbook the most. The last 7 weeks of this course will be focused on public policy. We will be learning about the policy process and policy memos. In addition, we will be doing policy simulations in class with Viewpoint.

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POLS 5567 / 4467: State and Local Administration

This course is a compendium to POLS 3308 (State and Local Government), but is not a requirement for this course.  For those students that took this course the present course is more focused and more advanced.  There is some coverage of the structure of government at the state and local level including discussions of constitutions and institutions which was thoroughly covered in POLS 3308.  This course will focus on issues pertaining to intergovernmental mandates, funding, lobbying, own-source revenues, fiscal stress, local government autonomy and civil rights / liberties.  A good portion of this course is focused on state and local government finance.  The intention of this course is to provide the learner knowledge about the functions of the states and their local governments, their problems, their interactions and their unique roles in the governing system of the United States.  The assignments in this course aim to encourage problem-solving while the exams aim to encourage information retention.  The objective of this course is to thoroughly inform current or future administrators / officials at the state or local level about the issues they may experience and provide them with different ways to think about them.  This course also aims to inform future scholars in the field and provide directions for research in this area.

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NLPA 230: Introduction to Public Administration

This interdisciplinary and global approach to public administration will explore the theories and best practices employed by public servants to promote the public good through ethical, culturally competent, and efficient and effective service provision. Through case studies and service-learning projects, students will be encouraged to consider a cross sector approach for implementing and evaluating policies and procedures that impact quality of life both domestically and globally. Students will develop a greater understanding of the role public servants have in their lives, develop skills employed by these professionals and explore public service career opportunities.

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NLPA 139: University Seminar - The Power of Story

We will focus on constructing stories around those causes which are most important to us. Stories define us. They connect societal norms, values and principles to every individual in society. They are directly connected to our emotions and therefore motivate change. We will learn the pros and cons of using narrative and how we can be more critical of them. We will also learn to reveal false narratives that are factually incorrect, but use emotional activators to convince others. We will learn how to conduct thorough research using verifiable sources and data and then make this research compelling to a general audience who may or may not understand or care about our cause. Another critical component of this class is learning to understand others’ stories in order to better understand each other. We will be reading other narratives / stories in the class to help us construct our own narratives. These stories will represent different topics from different perspectives representing different communities.

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PUB 518: Budgeting and Finance in the Public Sector

Governmental budgeting has similarities and differences with private budgeting. At the most basic level the goal is balancing between expenditures and revenues. In a way the government strives to budget-maximize like the corporation strives to profit-maximize. The difference is that government, by its nature, serves the population without any direct return. It provides public goods which the market is unable to do without excluding some of the population. This course explores the dynamics of the budget process in government as well as detailed issues in budgeting. The first half of the course covers general issues in budgeting while the second half of the course focuses on specific main revenues for government. The main objective of this course is to provide the class with a thorough analysis of budgeting terms, methods and problems.

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POLS 5509 / 4409: Community Planning

This is a planning course that aims to cover the primary topics in community and regional planning.  Following the guidelines of the textbook for the class, this class aims to, “define the interdisciplinary nature of the field, identify the forces that shape the planning process, and explain the field’s subspecialties (Kelly, 2004, xii).”  The main goal of this course is to engage the class in thoughtful discussion on planning topics ranging from the theoretical level to specific issues in planning such as zoning.  This course does not involve technical issues such as land-use or growth projection modeling or GIS mapping and its software.  These two important areas of planning require a much more specific course than a general overview.  The objective of this course is to provide a firm understanding of contemporary thinking on planning issues so that current or future professional planners and academics can engage with the issues facing their community in a proactive and productive way.  Some of the challenges in the planning field are new such as the challenges of constantly declining populations and new migration trends, technological changes, globalization, renewed vigor for environmental consciousness, more diverse populations and an increasingly complex administrative structure.  Some of the challenges are more traditional such as zoning issues and eminent domain, traffic concerns and preservation issues.  These issues are explored in this course.

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POLS 3350: Public Administration in the Islamic World

This course intends to provide a historical and contemporary view of the conception of government in the Muslim world.  There are textual (Islamic), cultural (Arab, Persian, Turkish, Indian, Malay, Caucasian, African, etc.) and historical origins for Muslim governance throughout the ages.  The progression of the concept of government in the Muslim world from city-state, to empire to nation-state will be considered in this course.  This course will start with the city-state of Medina under the Prophet Muhammad and expand outward to the early Arab/Persian caliphates to the Turkish caliphate.  Sultanates in the regions of India and South-East Asia as well as the kingdoms in Africa and the Khanates of Russia and Central Asia will be considered within this sphere up until the modern age.  The conceptions of leadership, public finance, the rule of law, the military and democracy will be examined throughout the course.  By the end of this course you will be able to describe the progression of government throughout the Muslim world from the early days of Islam until the modern era.  You will also have a well-rounded knowledge of different aspects of government under Islamic rule.  In addition, you will be able to apply that knowledge to recommend solutions to governance problems throughout the Muslim world potentially as a future international representative of a diplomatic mission or international body. 

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INDP 317: Statistics for the Social Sciences

Statistics are useful tools in many fields. They help to recommend certain solutions and evaluate outcomes, make forecasts and develop regulations. In essence, they help us to objectively understand the environment in which an organization operates. This course will not only learn the theory behind statistics for the social sciences, but we will use them to draw conclusions about a problem under investigation. To this end, students in this class will develop research questions / hypotheses and conduct an investigation using data and statistics. Students will become familiar with a common statistical program, IBM SPSS, and use it to answer their research questions. In this regard, students will not only learn best practices in the development of sound research questions / hypotheses, but they will learn how to gather data and analyze that data to derive interpretable results. Further, they will learn how to translate those results into recommendations.

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NLPA 305: Financial Best Practices for Decision Makers

Financial management is the subset of management that focuses on generating financial information that can be used to improve decision making. In proprietary, or for-profit, organizations, the unifying goal of all decisions is to maximize the wealth of the owners of the organization. In public service organizations—the term by which we may collectively refer to public, health, and not-for-profit organizations—the decisions are oriented toward achieving the various goals of the organization while maintaining a satisfactory financial situation. Financial management encompasses the broad areas of accounting and finance. This course focuses on different aspects of financial management including budgeting and types of budgets, accrual accounting, balance sheets and forecasting. Although the skills acquired in this course can be applied across sectors, the focus of this course is on the nonprofit sector. 

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PUB 502: Public Sector Management

This class will focus on leadership, strategy and performance which are considered core areas in public management. Regarding leadership, we will consider some common qualities of good leadership including its impact on public service motivation. Good leaders are also very strategic. We will explore the strategic planning process and inspect local strategic plans. An aspect of this will be performance measurement. We will learn how to design and implement an importance – performance analysis.

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PUAD 501: Managing Public & Private Organizations

This course will explore the theories, frameworks and elements of organization studies including the organization environment, work motivation, organization design and change and effective public management and development. This exploration will provide a strong foundation in the field for the early and mid-career professional alike as well as those oriented towards public service (practice) or academia. In addition, this course will emphasize those skills needed to be effective in organizational settings. This is a generalized course with no prerequisites required for enrollment.

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POLS 1101: Introduction to United States Government

There are many elements that compose the U.S. government.  There are various institutions, democratic processes, civil liberties, laws, and the role of the media.  This is an introductory course on the different parts of the U.S. government.  It is an online course that will use forums and Blackboard Collaborate through Moodle to facilitate discussions on the role of democracy, the protection of minorities, the influence of the media and interest groups, the power of the courts, politics and political parties and the increasing partisan divide characterizing U.S. politics to date.  The primary goal of this course is to evaluate student’s knowledge of the U.S. government while instructing them in its subtleties to prepare them for more in depth courses they may take in the field of political science and public administration.  The main objective of this class is to facilitate fruitful discussions on the different aspects of the U.S. government to inform, challenge, inspire and motivate the students to study this topic in more detail.

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PUB 585: Applied Research Methods

Statistics are useful tools in many fields. In public administration they are used to recommend certain policy solutions and evaluate outcomes, to forecast revenues and expenditures and develop regulations. In essence, they help us to objectively understand the environment in which government operates. For example, the internal migration of populations from one city, county or state to another presents a challenge for governments that rely substantially on their own-sources of revenue. As the population leaves one area for another the government representing the area with negative internal migration experiences fiscal stress. It would be advantageous to track these changes to anticipate future revenues and expenditures and this is why the Census is an incredibly useful tool. In addition, it would be important to understand the causal mechanisms for these population changes so that appropriate policy responses can be crafted to retain residents.