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Institute of Government

Tennessee State University


Spring 2003


Course Number:                     PA 641


Title:                                       Seminar In Public Policy Analysis


Course Credit:                        Three Credits


Instructor:                              Rodney E. Stanley, Ph.D.

Office: Avon Williams Campus, Suite F-13

Email: or

Phone: (615) 963 – 7249: W

                                                            (615) 746 - 4958: H

Office Hours:  Tuesday 12:00 – 5:00

                        Thursday 12:00 – 5:00


Course Description:            This seminar serves as an introduction to the discipline of public policy analysis.  This class explores the various theories and practices that have led to, and continue to dominate the profession and study of public policy analysis. Students will display their knowledge of public policy analysis in various reading, writing and oratorical assignments throughout the semester.


Course Objectives:            At the end of this course the student will be able to:


·        Inform other students about the history and development of public policy analysis as a professional career and academic discipline.


·        Create analytical reasoning techniques that the public policy analysis student may apply to their professional career as an administrator in a public or non-profit agency.


·        Establish communication skills that will assist the public administrative student in the various career endeavors associated with the management of public and non-profit agencies.


·        Inform the student about emerging issues and trends impacting the professional and discipline of public policy analysis.


Topical Outline:            Theories of public policy analysis, current public policy issues such as education, health care, welfare, and finance issues associated with public policy analysis


Teaching Strategies:            Lecture, class discussion, critical appraisal, individual presentations, essay papers, final exam.


Required Texts:


Bonser, Charles F., Eugene B. McGregor, Jr., Clinton V. Oster, Jr.  2000.  American Public Policy Problems: An Introductory Guide, 2nd ed.  New Jersey: Prentice Hall Pub.


Dunn, William N.  1994.  Public Policy Analysis: An Introduction, 2nd ed.  New Jersey: Prentice Hall Pub.


Course Requirements


Final Exam                                                100 points

Policy Position Paper                                    100 points

Annotated Bibliography                        100 points

One Class Presentation                         100 points

Participation/Attendance                         100 points

Total                                                            500 points


Grading Scale:  Final Grades will be premised on cumulative points as follows: A = 500- 440; B = 439 - 380; C = 379 - 300; D = 299 - 220; F = below 220.



Each student will be required to complete a comprehensive final exam.  The exam will be in class and the student will have one class period to complete the exam.  The exam will consist of several essay questions about important topics discussed throughout the semester.  A study guide will be provided to assist the student in preparing for the exam.


Annotated Bibliography:            

                                    Annotated bibliographies train the research-oriented student on the systematic process of formulating literature reviews that are used in theses and dissertations.  This is a good exercise for the student who is planning on continuing their graduate education at the doctoral level or for the student planning on writing a masters thesis.


Annotated Bibliography

The format of each article analyzed in the annotated bibliography should be as follows:

·        Citation of the Journal Article

·        The stated Problem addressed by the article           

·        The Purpose of the article

·        The Methods used to gather the data in the Article (this may not be applicable in all cases since most of the articles are theoretical arguments)

·        The Findings and Conclusions of the Article

·        Your Opinion of the validity of the Article in helping us understand public organizations and why you tend to believe this way


The overall structure of the Annotated Bibliography should be as follows:

·        Title Page

·        Table of Contents of sections with each article alphabetized

·        The summarized articles in alphabetical order

·        An analysis of the articles relating them to one another, and identifying the literature gap

·        Conclusion stating what we have learned from the articles

·        Bibliography

·        Citation Style: APSA, APA, or Chicago


Minimum Requirements for the Annotated Bibliography

·        At least 10 pages in length, not counting the title page but no more than 15 pages.

·        No less than 6 sources, of which can only be from referred journal articles.

·        Submit two copies of annotated bibliography of which I will return one copy graded.


Policy Option Paper:

Your paper should have the following sections: a title page with the students name, date, class (PA 641) and the instructors name, an abstract at the bottom of the title page (approximately 150 words), an introduction section, literature section, position section, conclusion, and works cited section (minimum of three sources). All references used in writing your papers should be cited appropriately.  Excluding the title page and the reference section, your paper should be around 5 pages in length.


Section Contents of Policy Option Paper:

Abstract or Executive Summary:

                        The problem, purpose, policy options to solve the problem, solution


The introduction section of the paper should tell me the problem and purpose of your paper.

Literature Review:

The literature review should discuss at least two opposing positions on a particular policy issue in public administration.


Support one of the two positions you discussed in the literature review.  In stating your position you should identify why you believe the option you chose is adequate and why the other position to be inadequate for solving the issue at hand.  Furthermore, you should identify possible limitations of your position.


                        The conclusion is a brief summary of what your paper is about.


Technical Format:

All papers should use the following technical format: Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1” margins from left to right and top to bottom, and double space each line in the paper. However, if direct quotes used in the paper are the equivalent of three lines or more, single space and separate them from the main text.   Make sure you number all pages in each written assignment you submit for a grade.  Submit two copies of your paper and I will return one copy with your grade.  Late projects will automatically be reduced one letter grade for each day they are late (not class period or week).


Grading Criteria for Papers:


1)      Analysis: A sufficient number of public policy analysis concepts are used to analyze the situation discussed in the paper;

2)      References: A variety of pertinent and timely references were sought and obtained in preparing the paper;

3)      Organization: The main points are stated clearly and arranged in a logical sequence;

4)      Coherence: The development of ideas, arguments and discussion shows consistency and logical connection;

5)      Clarity: The ideas, arguments and discussion shows consistency and logical connection;

6)      Conciseness: The language is direct and to the point, using sufficient space to say exactly what is intended and be readily understood by the reader;

7)      Grammar: The written is in standard American English, with proper sentence structure, syntax, punctuation and spelling;

8)      Drafting: The writing shows evidence of being drafted and revised before submission of the final copy.


Class Presentations:


Each student will be required to assist in the presentation of the reading material at least once, and maybe twice in the semester (depending on the size of the class).  Groups of two to four individuals will be assigned to present the basic arguments of the literature assigned for that week and facilitate discussions regarding the literature.  Your presentations will be critiqued on how thorough you present the material, how well you project to the class, the amount of class discussion that results from your presentation (in other words try to be controversial it makes for better discussions), and the amount of time you use in your presentations (please try not to exceed 30 minutes in your presentations).  The class usually finds it helpful if you distribute an outline of your material before you begin your presentation, however this is not required.


1)      Organization – There is a structured format in which the student displays throughout the presentation.

2)      Planning – There is evidence of rehearsing and the presentation flows well and is properly paced according to time.

3)      Visual Aids – Adequate use of visual aids to assist in explanations during the presentation.

4)      Speaker Enthusiasm – Displayed adequate knowledge of the subject, and exhibited sufficient self-confidence during the presentation.

5)      Voice Projection – Good articulation, proper delivery rate, no distracting gestures (e.g., chewing gum, too many “uhs”, etc).



Students are expected to be present in order to participate in class discussions.  For every absence the instructor will deduct 10 points from the students participation and attendance grade. Excessive absences will lead to a substantial lowering of a student’s grade. General criteria used to assess class participation include:


1)      Content Mastery: Students must display an understanding of facts, concepts, and theories presented in the assigned readings and lectures.  This ability is the basis for all higher-level skills and must be made evident by classroom comments and/or response to questions.

2)      Communication Skills: Students must be able to inform others in an intelligent manner what she/he knows.  Ideas must be communicated clearly and persuasively.  Communication skills include listening to others and understanding what they have said, responding appropriately, asking questions in a clear manner, avoiding rambling discourses or class domination, using proper vocabulary pertinent to the discussion, building on the ideas of others, etc.

3)      Synthesis/Integration: Students must illuminate the connections between the material under consideration and other bodies of knowledge.  For example, one could take several ideas from the reading or class discussions and combine them to produce a new perspective on an issue, or one could take outside materials and combine them to create new insights.  Students who probe the interdisciplinary roots of the theories presented or who are able to view the author or the materials from several viewpoints demonstrate this skill.

4)      Creativity: Students must demonstrate that they have mastered the basic material and have gone on to produce their own insights.  A simple repetition of ideas from the articles will not suffice, nor will simply commenting on what others have said.  Students must go beyond the obvious by bringing their own beliefs and imagination to bear.  Creativity may be displayed by showing further implications of the material, by applying it to a new field, or by finding new ways of articulating the materials, which produce significant insights.

5)      Valuing: Students should be able to identify the value inherent in the material studied.  The underlying assumptions of the author should be identified.  Furthermore, students should be able to articulate their own positions by reference to basic underlying values.  Students must not simply feel something is wrong or incorrect; they must be able to state why, based on some hierarchy of values.  In either accepting or rejecting a position, the operative values must become explicit.

6)      General Enthusiasm and Interest in the Class: This can be shown by regularity of attendance and thoughtful insights given throughout the semester in class discussions.


Additional Readings:

Additional readings will be assigned throughout the semester to accompany chapters in the required texts for this class.  The instructor will provide these additional articles to the students approximately one week before the readings are due in class.


Note: Following explicit directions are an important aspect of graduate school training.  Therefore, it is important that the student follow the stated guidelines in this syllabus, throughout the course of this class, because failure to do so will result in point reductions.  Furthermore, it will probably be to your best interest to submit papers to me before the due date (at least two weeks), so I can make suggestions on how you might want to change your work in order to receive a higher grade.


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Any students who feel the need for academic accommodations due to a recognized disability by the TSU Handbook, will be given such adjustments only after the student goes through the proper channels at the university to receive such accommodations.  The TSU Handbook is a good place to start if you are unaware of the “proper procedures.”


*** Note this syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.


Course Outline

Week One

Class Introduction

Dunn 1-2


Week Two

Dunn, Chapters 3-4

            Bosner et al., Chapters 1: The American Public

Bosner et al., Chapter 2: Who Needs Government?

            Bosner et al., Chapter 9, Education and Human Capital


Week Three

Dunn, Chapters 5-6

            Bosner et al., Chapters 4: Government Regulation

Bosner et al., Chapter 5: Economic Stabilization and Growth

Bosner et al., Chapter 6: US Policy in a Global Economy


Week Four

Dunn, Chapters 7-8

Bosner et al., Chapter 7: Poverty and Welfare: A Heartless Society?

Bosner et al., Chapter 8: The Mirage of Healthy Security

Bosner et al., Chapter 3

Annotated bibliographies are due


Week Five

Dunn, Chapters 9

Bosner et al., Chapter 10, Environmental Policy & Chapter 11, Agricultural Policy: Back to the Market

Bosner et al., Chapter 12, Natural Resource Policy

Bosner et al., Chapter 14


Week Six

            Final Exam

            Policy Option Papers are due



Student Presentation Evaluation Forms


100            Superior, outstanding                            75            Not quite what was expected

95        Very Good                                       70            Less than expected

90        Much Better Than Expected                      65            Much less than expected

85        Better Than Expected                         60            Considerably less than expected

80        What was expected                           59 - 0            Pure charity


Name: ________________________________________________________________


Topic: ________________________________________________________________________


Factor                                      Strong                                                 Weak

                                                            Comments:                                           Comments:


1) Organization (20)                              _______________________________________


2) Planning (20)                              _______________________________________


3) Visual Aids            (20)                              _______________________________________


4) Speaker Enthusiasm (20)                  _______________________________________


5) Voice Projection (20)             _______________________________________



Overall Grade: _____________ (100/Perfect Score)



Grading Criteria for Papers


100            Superior, outstanding                            50            Not quite what was expected

90        Very Good                                       40            Less than expected

80        Much Better Than Expected                      30            Much less than expected

70        Better Than Expected                         20            Considerably less than expected

60        What was expected                           10            Pure charity


Name: ________________________________________________________________


Title: _____________________________________________________________________________




1) Analysis: (10)                              _______________________________________


2) References: (10)                              _______________________________________


3) Organization: (10)                              _______________________________________


4) Coherence: (10)                              _______________________________________


5) Clarity: (10)                                    _______________________________________


6) Conciseness: (10)                              _______________________________________


7) Grammar: (10)                              _______________________________________


8) Drafting: (10)                              _______________________________________


9) Following Directions: (10)                  _______________________________________


10) Timeliness: (10)                              _______________________________________


Overall Grade: _____________ (100/Perfect Score)