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Public Policy Courses

Public Policy Courses

PUB 211. Conflicted, Complex, Uncertain. 3 Units.

Sets public policy making and implementation in contexts of value conflicts, complexity and uncertainty especially as addressed in US democratic system of governance but also comparatively globally. Starts with structural design of the US constitution (separation of powers, federal system, and limited government). Includes analysis of major changes in structures, powers and activities with emphasis on roles and responsibilities of public professionals. Establishes importance of analyses from differing perspectives: individual/household, communities (of place or interest), firms/organizations, public agencies and public interest, including intergenerational. Introduction to tools premised on rational public policy making and implementation. Major attention to tools of analysis and instruments of action that explicitly incorporate value conflict, complexity and uncertainty.

PUB 212. Routines and Exceptions. 3 Units.

Election, legislative and budget processes and calendars are examples of routines critical to making and implementing public policies. So too are statutory requirements shaping critical internal processes (e.g., collective bargaining) or policy and program decision processes (e.g., California Environmental Quality Act or US Affordable Care Act) and standards established by professional bodies (e.g., Government Accounting Standards Board). These routines are analyzed strategically, as to use and also as tools That can be changed. Budget processes receive the greatest attention as a common, powerful routine and to ensure students gain relevant skills. Exceptional actions are analyzed as sometimes required for success, but which can also have unintended consequences.

PUB 213. Enhancing Societal Capacity. 3 Units.

Enhanced societal capacity is an overarching goal of public policy. Today’s quality of life, economic competitiveness and opportunity, or use of natural resources, reflect past choices. Societal capacity to choose and to act will determine our futures and should be viewed globally. Progress here is not synonymous with “larger” or more “active” government as very important public purposes are achieved by actions which protect the liberty of or empower individuals, households, firms and communities. However, important societal purposes are achieved by public action that requires capacity derived from legal authority, technical competencies, fiscal resources, political support and networked relationships. Examination of a broad, global range of policy making and implementation tools, ranging from individual or family choice (e.g., in schools), through expertise (e.g., scientists) and a variety of techniques to learn from assessment of policy and program implementation, all analyzed from different perspectives established in PUB 211.

PUB 214. Budgets, Financial Management. 3 Units.

Develops understanding of budget types and processes in public and nonprofit organizations. Examines the politics of budgeting and the relationship of budgeting to other decision processes. Develops competencies in core budgetary processes, such as preparation of Budget Letters or Budget Change Proposals. Also covers budget implementation as a fiscal and programmatic control system. Introduction to audit function. Develops competence to analyze a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

PUB 215. A Complex Public Policy Case. 2 Units.

Examines capacity for effective action beyond single jurisdictions or agencies. Also examines devices for joint actions across sectors, including inter-sectoral and inter-governmental, such as specific area plans, joint powers, financing districts or purposeful networks. Explicit attention is given to allocation of risks as a public policy tool, often seen in financing of large projects and programs.

PUB 219. Directed Research. 1-3 Units.

Students complete comprehensive individual research projects under the supervision of a faculty member resulting in a public policy relevant analysis. Topic, unit credit and graded or pass/fail must be approved in advance. (P/F or graded) (may be repeated).

PUB 221. Economic Concepts and Tools. 3 Units.

Develops competence in economic concepts and tools. Draws upon microeconomics. Key concepts include efficiency, equity, opportunity cost, marginal analysis and roles of incentives, competition, and market failure. Provides opportunity for students to discuss the effectiveness of various government programs and regulation or de-regulation strategies from economic points of view.

PUB 222. Finance for Public Policies. 3 Units.

Develops competence to use concepts and tools of public finance common to professionals in public policy arena. Analysis of the efficiency, equity and incentives of various taxes. Other topics include revenue estimation, public goods, benefit-cost analysis, and financial structures for public investments. Relationships to budget processes and decisions analyzed. Attention also paid to institutions critical to public finance.

PUB 231. Public Policy Statistics. 3 Units.

This course introduces students to descriptive and inferential statistics often used in public policy analyses. The course aims to provide students with a solid foundation for analyzing data, conveying analyses in convincing and appropriate ways. Topics covered include: measures of central tendency and dispersion, probability and probability distributions, random variables, hypothesis testing and confidence intervals, statistical power, correlation, simple regression, and an introduction to multivariate regression.

PUB 232. Public Policy Research Tools. 3 Units.

Emphasizes importance of accurate and relevant information to sustain and advance effective public policy in support of constitutional democracy. Develops skills for use of qualitative and quantitative research methods, including construction and analyses of purposive samples, interviews and surveys. Includes techniques useful in providing information from the different perspectives introduced in PUB 211. Develops competencies in program or policy evaluation. Attention is given to unobtrusive measures found in common public policy processes and to effective presentation of results to different audiences.

PUB 233. Public Manager Analytics. 3 Units.

Introduces students to use of analytics in managing organizations and implementation of programs or policies. Includes analyses of cases within organizations and at program and policy levels. Develops competencies in identifying relevant analytics, collection of data, and making information usable for decision makers seeking to improve performance in achieving policy goals.

PUB 241. Leaders, Organization Behavior. 3 Units.

Analysis and development of knowledge and skills relevant to strategic leadership of public organizations, including responsibilities for organization structures and their internal and external relationships; human, financial, and property resources; systems, including digital revolution dynamics; and political and symbolic roles. Explicit attention to professionally expert leadership for success in contexts characterized by conflict, complexity, and uncertainty.

PUB 242. Systemic Change. 3 Units.

Analysis and developing skills relevant to purposeful, enduring change of public policies and public institutions. Roles and strategies of policy entrepreneurs are analyzed. Actions which strengthen policies are contrasted with those which weaken them. Explicit attention not only to public executives, but also to strategies of elected officials, stakeholders, and advocacy groups. Identifying and understanding the articulation of a variety of tools, such as strategic communications or facilitated processes, as well as more specific policy tools, such as changed laws, new decision arenas, or changed financial incentives.

PUB 251. Values, Roles and Skills. 3 Units.

Importance and interrelationships in Public Administration of (1) values that are fundamental to public action and often contested as political actors interpret core values differently, (2) roles which are defined by cultures and institutions (e.g., department head, staff analyst, city manager) and (3) professional knowledge and skills which support ethical behaviors which are also effective in achieving desired public purposes. Emphasis is on constitutionally grounded search for liberty, human dignity and reasonableness under a rule of law.

PUB 252. Strategic Public Management. 4 Units.

Integration of learning from courses taken through (1) self-assessment and (2) class analyses of relevant cases of both successful and unsuccessful public professionals. A goal is targeted development of knowledge and competencies for sustained, long-term effectiveness.

PUB 261. Water Policy Choices. 3 Units.

Identifies and analyses possible changes in water policy in the next 2-5 years and beyond. Develops capacity to understand, analyze and recommend actions with sufficient understanding of relevant values, past history, competitive forces, and adaptive human behaviors to reasonably assess implementation feasibility and to identify probable longer term effects of public policy choices.

PUB 262. Health Policy Choices. 3 Units.

Identifies and analyses possible changes in health policy in the next 2-5 years and beyond. Develops capacity to understand, analyze and recommend actions with sufficient understanding of relevant values, past history, competitive forces, and adaptive human behaviors to reasonably assess implementation feasibility and to identify probable longer term effects of public policy choices.

PUB 263. Sustainability Policy Choices. 3 Units.

Identifies and analyses possible changes in sustainability policy in the next 2-5 years and beyond. Develops capacity to understand, analyze and recommend actions with sufficient understanding of relevant values, past history, competitive forces, and adaptive human behaviors to reasonably assess implementation feasibility and to identify probable longer term effects of public policy choices. Includes attention to energy, water and land uses, but also to sustainability agendas of businesses and other actors.

PUB 264. Public Reform Policy Choices. 3 Units.

Identifies and analyses possible changes in public institutions and practices in the next 2-5 years and beyond. Develops capacity to understand, analyze and recommend actions with sufficient understanding of relevant values, past history, competitive forces, and adaptive human behaviors to reasonably assess implementation feasibility and to identify probable longer term effects of public policy choices.

PUB 265. Emergency Services Policy. 3 Units.

Encompasses emergency preparedness planning, response and recovery, including natural disasters, terrorism, intelligence/information available and analyses, and counterterrorism. Attention to linkages among national, state, local and nongovernmental arenas of decision and capabilities.

PUB 266. Advanced Quantitative Tools. 3 Units.

Multivariate regression and modeling tools, including application to cases in water and health care. (prerequisites: PUB 231 and PUB 232).

PUB 267. Economics of Place, Industry. 3 Units.

Develop competence in economic concepts, theories and tools relevant to analyses of sub-national places, such as a region or watershed, including valuation of ecosystem services, and to industries, such as health care or agriculture. (prerequisites: PUB 221 and PUB 222).

PUB 268. Judicial Administration. 3 Units.

Identifies and analyses possible changes in judicial institutions and practices in the next 2-10 years. Develops capacity to analyze relevant values, past history, competitive forces, and adaptive human behaviors to identify promising strategies. Emphasizes skills and tools of leadership and implementation required for success in this complex context.

PUB 271. Public Policy Special Topics. 3 Units.

Topic selected by faculty member to fit curricular needs, current issues and student interest. Illustrative topics include “U.S. Social Movements and Public Policy,” “Spatial and Data Analysis,” or “The Economics of Race in the United States.”.

PUB 281. Public Finance Policy Choices. 3 Units.

Identifies and analyses current practices and possible changes in instruments and practices of public finance in the next 2-5 years and beyond. Develops competencies in use of selected instruments. The primary focus is supporting executive roles: capacity to understand, analyze and recommend actions with sufficient understanding of relevant values, past history, competitive forces, and adaptive human behaviors to reasonably assess implementation feasibility and to identify probable longer-term effects of public finance practices.

PUB 282. Public Data Policy Choices. 3 Units.

Identifies and analyses current practices and possible changes in public policies and practices concerning collection, use and access to public data in the next 2-5 years and beyond. Includes analytics of public data. Develops capacity to understand, analyze and recommend actions with sufficient understanding of relevant values, past history, competitive forces, and adaptive human behaviors to reasonably assess implementation feasibility and to identify probable longer-term effects of public policy choices regarding collection and uses of public data.

PUB 283. Public Policy Decision Tools. 3 Units.

Identifies and analyses uses of decision tools in making and implementing public policies. Develops competencies in use of selected tools. Additionally considers possible changes in use of such decision tools in the next 2-5 years and beyond. The tools considered include those which emphasize formal calculation, structured uses of science and other expertise, and procedural rules under which decisions are made. The primary focus is supporting executive roles: capacity to understand, analyze and recommend actions with sufficient understanding of relevant values, past history, competitive forces, and adaptive human behaviors to reasonably assess implementation feasibility and to identify probable longer-term effects of use of various decision tools.

PUB 284. State Government. 3 Units.

Focuses on the distinctive attributes and roles of state governments. Emphasizes understanding of the institutions and operations of state government with particular attention to effectiveness and to the roles of public professionals, including civil service careerists, public-interest advocates, political leaders and contracted service providers. Develops capacity to understand, analyze and recommend actions with sufficient understanding of relevant values, past history, competitive forces, and adaptive human behaviors to reasonably assess implementation feasibility and to identify probable longer-term effects of public policy choices.

PUB 285. Local Government. 3 Units.

Focused on the distinctive attributes and roles of local governments, including counties, cities, special districts and the variety of local public authorities. Emphasizes understanding of the institutions and operations of local governments with particular attention to effectiveness and to the roles of public professionals. Develops capacity to understand, analyze and recommend actions with sufficient understanding of relevant values, past history, competitive forces, and adaptive human behaviors to reasonably assess implementation feasibility and to identify probable longer-term effects of public policy choices.

PUB 286. Intersectoral Leadership. 3 Units.

Effective action on many important public issues requires joint or complementary action by all sectors of society and also support or acceptance by citizens. This course builds further on concepts and skills developed in core courses to deepen competencies to analyze and to act effectively in leadership roles in the most complex, uncertain and conflicted contexts. Central to success is mastering various aspects of governance, including the use of formal authority and competencies of governments, roles of nonprofits and businesses, and important public policies and cultural factors which shape possible actions. Attention to effective framing of issues, reaching public judgments and mobilizing resources.

PUB 290. Foundations of Social Policy. 3 Units.

This course explores the normative and historical development of the state’s role in providing for the social welfare of its citizens. In doing so, it examines current and past federal and state polices relating to aging, education, health, housing, and welfare, among others. In addition, some social welfare policies in other countries are investigated. Skills developed: Analytic writing, subject area knowledge, analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, and the presentation of descriptive data.

PUB 291. Externship. 3 Units.

Students will perform on-site public policy work as externs under the supervision of field placement supervisors in government agencies, non-profit entities or for-profit firms engaged in public policy processes. Placements in for-profit firms can include consulting firms focused on public policy processes and firms directly providing services with largely public funding, such as in health care. The Field Placement Director and/or the Associate Director of the Public Policy Program will help students find an appropriate placement, and must approve each student’s registration. Placements in for-profit firms must also receive approval of the Director of the Public Policy Program. (P/F).

PUB 292. Demography. 3 Units.

Demography is the science of population characteristics, including population size, distribution, processes, and structure. This course examines the causes and consequences of population change—e.g., changes in fertility, mortality, migration, technology, lifestyle, and culture. These changes have implications for a number of social issues: hunger, the spread of illness and disease, household formation, the labor force, marriage and divorce, care for the elderly, poverty, and urbanization, among many others. The course also examines the concepts, measures, and methods used to document and project population changes over time. Skills developed: Analytic writing, subject area knowledge, analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, and the presentation of descriptive data.

PUB 293. Housing Policy. 3 Units.

This course is an exploration of housing (and by extension, community) policy in the United States. We begin by setting the context for U.S. housing by examining the social and spatial segregation of housing in the United States. We next move on to an examination of federal, state, and local housing policies affecting the production, pricing (i.e., affordability), and consumption of housing. Topics include the structure of housing and related financial markets; the economic and social bases for government intervention in these markets; and the different tools available to policymakers, including subsidies (both direct and through the tax system), regulation of financial institutions (e.g., the Community Reinvestment Act), government sponsored enterprises, zoning, and the regulation of lands and rents. Skills developed: Analytic writing, subject area knowledge, analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, and the presentation of descriptive data.

PUB 294. Poverty and Welfare Policy. 3 Units.

In this course, students will examine the nature and extent of poverty in the United States as well as become familiar with the policies and programs used to combat it. We will examine the controversies and politics surrounding theories of why people are poor, the measurement of poverty, its effects on individuals’ and families’ welfare, and the different programs used (and proposed) to provide relief. The course will primarily focus on income-assistance programs (e.g., Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Earned Income Tax Credit), but attention will also be given to anti-poverty programs more commonly associated with education, health, housing, and nutrition. Skills developed: Analytic writing, subject area knowledge, analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, and the presentation of descriptive data.