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Spring 2012 - 61970 - PA388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Ethics in Public Service

Instructor(s): Evans, Angela
Unique Number: 61970
Day & Time: Th 9:00 - 12:00 pm
Room: SRH 3.214
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

Topics for these policy seminars have included environmental and natural resources policy, health-service delivery policy, social welfare policy, transportation policy, science and technology policy, international affairs, national security, urban and regional growth policy, and political campaigns.


Section Description

The course is designed to study the philosophical and practical features of ethical decision making in the public sector. The focus of the course will be on the analysis of ethical problems and the development of analytic skills and frameworks that advance ethical conduct in public service roles. The course is designed to create a setting in which students may reflect upon their own ethical and moral beliefs, and critically examine them in light of literature and class discussions. The course is also structured to expose students to the ethical dimensions of public administration and policy that occur regularly and often without public note.

Students will learn to:

  • Evaluate the differences between personal and public ethics;
  • Recognize the legal, ethical and organizational approaches in resolving ethical dilemmas;
  • Understand and implement codes of conduct and ethics;
  • Analyze ethical issues faced by public servants at the individual and organizational level especially concerning integrity and professionalism; and
  • Research complex public sector ethical issues and present information both orally and in written form.

To support this learning the class will:

  • Assess and describe ethical aspects of actual situations encountered by public managers;
  • Review and discuss appropriate ethical standards for public employees;
  • Discuss the influences of social and organizational environments on ethical decision making;
  • Analyze the impact of personal values on acting ethically in the public service;
  • Articulate the impact of ethical ambiguity on complex public policy issues with few, if any, universally accepted solutions.

The course requires extensive reading to prepare for class, class exercises, and a final assessment of an ethical challenge. There is no final examination.

Readings: There are no required books for the course. All of the readings for the course will be available on Blackboard. I encourage students to identify new and interesting resources that would enrich class discussion.