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Spring 2011 - 62155 - PA392D - Theory and Philosophy of Public Policy II

Instructor(s): Lynn, Laurence E.
Unique Number: 62155
Day & Time: T 2:00 - 5:00 pm
Room: SRH 3.360
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

Theory and Philosophy of Public Policy I and II explore the theoretical underpinnings of public policy.  Includes political philosophy concepts and various theoretical  approaches to making policy.

Section Description

This is the second in a two-course sequence designed to provide an overview of philosophical and theoretical foundations of academic public policy analysis and research. With Part I of the sequence as a point of departure, Part II will be concerned with the governance, institutional, organizational, and administrative process aspects of public policy research. These aspects may be summarized as a concern for public policy implementation in the political, economic, and social contexts in which it occurs. Course content comprises philosophies, theories, analytic frameworks, and models that enhance understanding of how implementation mediates the relationship between the intent of public policies and their actual outcomes.

The goal of the course is to further prepare students to engage in theory-based and empirical, public policy research. The core of such research is the process of theorizing itself. A perspective on theorizing as an intellectual process is appended to this syllabus and should be read carefully.

Course Requirements

Course requirements are similar to those for Part I of the course sequence. Following detailed guidance below, students are expected to complete all assigned readings, actively participate in, and occasionally lead, class discussions, complete all written assignments, and complete a written, in-class final exam. Required readings represent only some of the important readings in the field. Students are expected to explore other readings on course topics and explore them in class discussions and written assignments. In addition to required readings, students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss current policy issues in relationship to classroom topics based on regular perusal of national and local media.

Grading is based on each student’s contribution to the course and the quality of their work in the following areas:

Class Participation

Students are expected to participate fully in class discussions of the assigned readings and to take the lead, as appropriate, with respect to readings and issues of special interest to them.

Weekly Reflection Papers

Each student is expected to prepare a short (1-2 page, a2-point font, 1-inch margins) paper reflecting on (not summarizing) the assigned readings for the class and raising questions for class discussion.   Papers are due no later than 10 a.m. on the day of the class and must be e-mailed to the instructor and to the other members of the class. No late papers will be accepted.

Journal Article Review

Students are expected to prepare three 3-5 page papers analyzing the argument in a published journal article using the method of argument discussed below. The articles may be part of the research for the student’s term paper. Disciplined critique of published or draft manuscripts is an important skill for public policy academics.

Term Paper

Students are expected to prepare a 10-20 page paper defining a policy problem, ideally one related to their dissertation research, and presenting a clear argument concerning the issues associated with its implementation from the perspective of governance, institutions, organizations, and policy processes. These term papers are due at the beginning of class in Week 14 (April 28).

Final Exam

The final exam will be in-class, closed book, and  written. The exam is modeled on the written portion of the Ph.D. comprehensive exams at the LBJ School.