PA501 Public Affairs Concepts & Theory

for SPP 2011

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Mission Statement: The mission of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Park University is to provide leadership and directions to Park University's graduate and professional programs to assure that they are specialized, scholarly, innovative, and designed to educate students to be creative, independent, and lifelong learners within the context of a global community.

Hauptmann School for Public Affairs Mission Statement
The Hauptmann School of Public Affairs offers a citizen-centered, professional program of graduate study that is grounded in the liberal arts tradition.  As participants in HSPA's vibrant academic community, faculty and students consider, with the coursework, the larger issues of democracy, stewardship, and technology.  In so doing, HSPA seeks to prepare students for the courage and discernment to act for the common good in the global context.  Going beyond competence, students develop knowledge, skills, and values requisite for leadership and service in and across all sectors of society, including government, business, and nonprofit.  HSPA cultivates public affairs as a life-long passion that is fundamental to citizenship in a free society.

Vision Statement: Park University's School of Graduate and Professional Studies will be an international leader in providing innovative graduate and professional educational opportunities to learners within a global society.

Hauptmann School for Public Affairs Vision Statement
The Hauptmann School for Public Affairs will serve the common good by graduating leaders who exercise authority responsibly, make ethical decisions, act with moral courage, and advance human dignity world-wide.


PA 501 Public Affairs Concepts & Theory


SPP 2011 GSD


Gordon, Janice L.


Adjunct Faculty


Master Public Administration
Bachelor of Arts
Associate of Arts

Daytime Phone

816 694 3007

Other Phone

816 694 3007


Semester Dates

January 10, 2011 through May 9, 2011

Class Days


Class Time

5:45 - 8:15 PM

Credit Hours



DeParle, Jason. 2004. American Dream. New York: Penquin Group.
de Tocqueville, Alexis, 2003. Democracy In America and Two Essays on America. New York: Penquin Group.
Drucker, Peter F. 2001. The Essential Drucker. New York: HarperBusiness.
Friedman, Thomas L. 2006. The World is Flat (Updated and Expanded): A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century.
        New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Fry, Brian and Jos. C.N. Raadschelders. 2008. Mastering Public Administration. 2nd Ed. Chatham House Publishers.
Jordan, Terry L. 2004. The U.S. Constitution: And Fascinating Facts About It.  Napeville, IL: Oak Hill Publishing
         Company, 2004.
Kolbert, Elizabeth. 2006. Field Notes from a Catastrophe. New York: Bloomsbury USA.
Putnam, Robert D. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Fireside Paperbacks.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information

Course Description:
PA 501 Public Affairs Concepts and Theory: An introduction to the field of public affairs and to the current problems in the area. Public affairs will be related to concepts of organizational theory and organizational behavior with an emphasis on the special nature of public organizations. The emphasis areas of the M.P.A. program and their interrelationships will be explained.

Educational Philosophy:
The instructor's educational philosophy is one of providing each student the opportunity to consider, analyze and articulate their own views about various methods and issues in the profession of public affairs.  Through course materials and activities, each student will engage in what is referred to as disputatious learning, which encourages lively exploration of ideas, issues and contradictions. 

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Become acquainted with the basic concepts of public affairs and organizational theory
  2. Understand the relationships of the social, economic and political aspects of public affairs
  3. Recognize the complexity of public problems and the issues underlying their attempted solutions within a democratic political system
  4. Discover the connections between the study of public affairs and organizational theory
  5. Develop personal approaches and opinion about the solution of public problems
  6. Build awareness of the ethical dimensions of public affairs

Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:
Weekly discussion topics and participation; asigned papers, final paper.


Assigned homework papers = 5 papers X 50 points each = 250
Theorist comparison paper and presentation = 75 points
Final Paper = 150 points
Participation and attendance = 125 points
Total = 600 points

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Late submission of written assignments will result in 2 percent reduction per day that the paper is late unless instructor approves otherwise in advance.  A late submission can be made any time through e-mail to

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Students should arrive at class on time prepared to participate in each session's discussion and activities.  Mutual respect should be shown at all times in expressing opinions and in listening to those of others.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Jan. 10, 2011 - Introduction to course.
Jan. 17, 2011 - Topic: U.S. Constitution     Reading completed: Jordan book - All
Jan. 24, 2011 - Topic: Max Weber             Reading completed: Fry, Chapter 1 - Weber
Jan. 31, 2011 - Topic: Democracy in American     Reading completed: Tocqueville book, volume 1
Feb.  7, 2011 - Topic: Frederick Taylor      Reading completed: Fry, Chapter 2: Taylor   Writing assignment due: (Tocqueville analysis)
Feb. 14, 2011 - Topic: Field Notes from a Catastrophe    Reading completed: Kolbert book (All)
Feb. 21, 2011 - Topic: Luther Gulick   Reading completed: Fry, Chapter 3      Writing assignment due: Kolbert analysis
Feb. 28, 2011 - Topic: American Dream     Reading completed: DeParle book (all)
March 6 through March 13: Spring recess - no class
March 14, 2011 - Topic: Mary Parker Follet    Reading completed: Fry, Chaper 4     Writing assignment due: DeParle
March 21, 2011 - Topic: The World is Flat     Reading completed: Friedman (all)   
March 29, 2011 - Topic: Elton Mayor        Reading completed: Fry, Chapter 5.    Writing Assignment Due: Friedman
April 4, 2011     - Topic: Bowling Alone     Reading  completed: Putnam book (all)
April 11, 2011  -  Topic: Chester Barnard and Herbert Simon          Reading completed: Fry, Chapters 6 and 7   Writing
           assignment due: Bowling Alone analysis
April 18, 2011 - Topic: The Essential Drucker         Reading completed: Drucker book (all)
April 25, 2011 - Topic: Charles Lindblom and Dwight Waldo     Reading completed: Fry, Chapters 8 and 9
May 2, 2011 - Topic: Theorist Comparison papers and presentation
May 9, 2011 - Wrap up and final paper due. 

Academic Honesty:
As a learning community, the University upholds the highest standards of academic integrity in all its academic activities, by faculty, staff, administrators and students. Academic integrity involves much more than respecting intellectual property rights. It lies at the heart of learning, creativity, and the core values of the University. Those who learn, teach, write, publish, present, or exhibit creative works are advised to familiarize themselves with the requirements of academic integrity and make every effort to avoid possible offenses against it, knowingly or unknowingly. Park University 2010-2011 Graduate Catalog Page 20


Plagiarism involves the appropriation of another person's ideas, interpretation, words (even a few), data, statements, illustration or creative work and their presentation as one's own. An offense against plagiarism constitutes a serious academic misconduct.  Although offenses against academic integrity can manifest themselves in various ways, the most common forms of offenses are plagiarism and cheating. Plagiarism goes beyond the copying of an entire article. It may include, but is not limited to: copying a section of an article or a chapter from a book, reproduction of an art work, illustration, cartoon, photograph and the like and passing them off as one's own. Copying from the Internet is no less serious an offense than copying from a book or printed article, even when the material is not copyrighted.

Plagiarism also includes borrowing ideas and phrases from, or paraphrasing, someone else's work, published or unpublished, without acknowledging and documenting the source. Acknowledging and documenting the source of an idea or phrase, at the point where it is utilized, is necessary even when the idea or phrase is taken from a speech or conversation with another person.

Park University 2010-2011 Graduate Catalog Page 20

Attendance Policy:

Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and report absences. Excused absences can be granted by the instructor, for medical reasons, school sponsored activities, and employment-related demands, including temporary duty. Students are responsible for any missed work. Absences for two successive weeks, without approved excuse, will be reported to the Director of the individual graduate program, or to the Executive Director for the Graduate School, for appropriate action. Students with such a record of absences, without an approved excuse, may be administratively withdrawn from the class and notified that an "F" will be recorded, unless the student initiates official withdrawal from the class(es).Park University 2010-2011 Graduate Catalog Page 24

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .

Additional Information:

Theorist Comparison paper and presentation: You may use graphics, powerpoint, whatever you need to develop a thorough, thoughtful paper and presentation to the class about the theorists in the Fry text.  Compare and contrast the theories, and indicate those with which you personally agree and/or disagree.


Final Paper: You will cover the topics covered in class, as well as any others you think are important in public affairs.  What are the issues facing public officials?  How are they, and how can they, be addressed?





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Last Updated:10/4/2010 3:08:30 PM