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Institute of Government

Tennessee State University




Course Number:                     PA 644


Title:                                       Seminar In Urban Administration


Course Credit:                        Three Credits


Instructor:                              Rodney E. Stanley, Ph.D.

Office: Avon Williams Campus, Suite F-13


Phone: (615) 963 – 7249: W

                                                (615) 886 – 4542: H

Office Hours:  Tuesday 2:00 – 4:30

                        Wednesday 12:00 – 4:00

                                                                        Thursday 1:00 – 4:30


Course Description:            This class is conducted in seminar format in order to instruct the public administration student about the development and practice of urban administration in America.  Various theories discussing the formulation of American local governments will receive attention, along with popular trends and issues affecting the decisions of urban administrators in the United States.  This class will emphasize applying the theoretical knowledge discussed in class lectures to “real world” situations and events through the use of case study analysis.  The student will be expected to demonstrate their knowledge of urban administration through various reading, writing and oratorical exercises.


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


·        Inform the student about the history and development of urban administration as a professional career.


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


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


·        Inform the urban administrative student about emerging issues and trends impacting the profession and discipline of public administration.


Topical Outline:            Core functions of urban administration: human resources management, budgeting, public policy, the political environment of urban administration, and federalism.


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


Required Texts:


Banovetz, James M. (ed).  2001.  Managing Local Government:  Cases In Decision Making. Published by ICMA.


Bogart, William T.  2002.  The Economics of Cities and Suburbs.  NJ: Prentice Hall.  ISBN: 0-13-569971-1.


Ross, Bernard H., Myron A. Levine.  2001.  Urban Politics: Power In Metropolitan America.  Illinois: F.E. Peacock Publishers, INC.  ISBN: 0-87581-6.


Course Requirements


Two Book Reports                                    200 points

Two Case Study Critiques (50)            100 points

Two Presentations (50)                        100 points

Participation/Attendance                         100 points

Total                                                            500 points


Grading Scale:  Final Grades will be premised on cumulative points as follows: A = 500- 420; B = 419 - 360; C = 359 - 280; D = 279 - 200; F = below 200.


Book Report:

Each student will prepare two book reports for the class.  The book reports will critique the author’s main arguments and provide an opinion of whether or not the student believes the book is valid for the subject of urban administration.  Each book report should be between 3 – 5 pages in length. 


Case Study Analyses:

Each student will be required to write a critique of two case studies in local government.  Each case study critique will be between 4-5 pages in length and should discuss the major facts of the case and the student should tell whether or not they believe the right decision(s) was/were made and why.  The format of each case study critique should be as follows:



Grading Criteria for Papers:


1)      Analysis: A sufficient number of public administration 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.


*** All papers should use the following format: Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1” margins from left to right and top to bottom, and double spaced.  Each student should submit two copies of their papers, of which, one will be returned with the grade.


The student will then facilitate class discussion by presenting the cases they chose to critique.  The class will participate in this discussion by agreeing or disagreeing with the student’s recommendations for each case in a “civil” manner. Each student will submit to the instructor a grade that they think the student should receive for their case study presentation. The case study critiques will be due on the date assigned for the presentation(s). 


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.



Individual Evaluation Forms: Leadership



Evaluation Forms


50            Superior, outstanding                            25            Not quite what was expected

45        Very Good                                       20            Less than expected

40        Much Better Than Expected                      15            Much less than expected

35        Better Than Expected                         10            Considerably less than expected

30        What was expected                           5            Pure charity


Name: ________________________________________________________________


Topic: _____________________________________________________________________________


Factor                                     Strong                                                 Weak


                                                            Comments:                                           Comments:


1) Group Contribution (10)                  _______________________________________


2) Planning (10)                              _______________________________________


3) Organization (10)                             _______________________________________


4) Utility to Group Effort (10)            _______________________________________


5) Work with again? (10)                   _______________________________________


Overall Grade: ___________________ (50/Perfect Score)