POLSC241: Introduction to Public Administration

Course Syllabus for "POLSC241: Introduction to Public Administration"

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In the field of public policy and administration, there have been several enduring questions.  In a larger context, what is the role of government?  There has always been conflict in our society regarding the proper role of government.  How should public organizations be structured to reflect the will of the public?  How do we ensure accountability?  What is the proper role of the public administrator/analyst in policy implementation?  How should programs be evaluated? This course will provide you with an overview of the field of public administration, particularly the distinctions that set management of public organizations apart from that of private-sector organizations.  You will begin with an examination of the history and perception of the role of government in the provision of services.  You will then examine the context in which public administrators deliver services to citizens.  Public administrators must also possess a basic knowledge of managing organizations and people in order to implement policy—this includes an understanding of organization theory, personnel administration, budgeting, and the administration and evaluation of policies and programs.  By the end of this course, you will gain a broader understanding of public organizations, the administration of public programs, and a greater appreciation for public service.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the functions of government and the role of public administrators in carrying out those functions.
  • Discuss the history, scope, and environment of public administration.
  • Articulate the basic theories and concepts relevant to the field of public administration.
  • Explain and identify the importance of ethics and accountability in public organizations.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course you must:
√    Have access to a computer.
√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.
√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).
√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.
√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).
√    Be competent in the English language.
√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

Course Information

Welcome to POLSC241: Introduction to Public Administration.  Below, please find general information on this course and its requirements.

Course Designer: Heather Wyatt-Nichol, PhD

Primary Resources: This course is composed of a wide range of free online materials, including U.S. Supreme Court decisions and publications from the National Academy of Public Administration and the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all its assigned materials.  This includes self-assessments at the end of each unit.  You will also have a final exam once you have completed all units.

Note that you will only receive an official grade on your final exam.  However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the resources and self-assessments in each unit.

In order to “pass” this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam.  Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.

Time Commitment: This course shouldtake approximately 132.5 hours to complete apart from the self-assessments and final exam.  Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to commit to each subunit.  It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then to set goals for yourself.  For example, Unit 1 should take 17.75 hours.  Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunits 1.1 and 1.2 (a total of 3.75 hours) on Monday night; subunit 1.3 (a total of 5.25 hours) on Tuesday and Wednesday nights; etc.

Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.