PA602 Seminar in Public Affairs

for S1P 2013

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Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

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, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.

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 602 Seminar in Public Affairs


S1P 2013 GS


Box, Richard C.


Visiting Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs


D.P.A., University of Southern California

Daytime Phone



Class Days


Class Time


Credit Hours



Box, Richard C. 2009. Public Administration and Society: Critical Issues in American Governance. 2nd ed. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.  

King, Cheryl Simrell. 2011. Government is Us 2.0. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.

Additional Resources:

Video of mock Jefferson-Hamilton debate, available from C-SPAN at



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Course Description:
PA 602 Seminar in Public Affairs: PA 602 is the capstone seminar of the MPA program. Conducted as a graduate seminar, this course addresses correlation of the academic and practical experiences of the degree candidates to their responsibilities as professionals in a democratic society. Each student prepares a series of papers and/or presentations that emphasize various expectations to be faced in professional work, such as case analysis, critique, evaluation, implementation research and proficiency in U.S. Constitutional issues. Prerequisite: 27 hours academic credit, including completion of PA 501 and 502

Educational Philosophy:

Educational Philosophy

The content and structure of the course are designed to further Hauptmann School values related to preparing public service leaders for the 21st century. The professor's role in the course is to provide a conceptual framework and facilitate learning rather than solely to deliver factual material to passive learners. The professor hopes that each student will gain increased appreciation for the American democratic setting and her or his role in shaping the future.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate the ability to analyze, critique, and evaluate current issues in public affairs;
  2. Communicate one's views clearly and civilly, and offer substantiation for those views;
  3. Demonstrate the ability to articulate and argue opposing sides of issues;
  4. Differentiate between personal beliefs and sound public policy in a pluralistic society.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to write critically and effectively;
  6. Participate productively in teams;
  7. Articulate clearly one's responsibilities as professionals and citizens in a free and democratic society, and in the world.

Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:

Key Ideas

Description.  In each of six weeks of the course with assigned readings, class members post discussion of one “key idea” for each reading (so, for example, in a week with five assigned readings, five key ideas entries will be posted). The key ideas assignment is intended to encourage reflective reading and informed discussion.

A key idea addresses what the student finds to be an important or useful concept. Each key idea entry briefly describes the key idea, then may assess its importance, strengths and/or weaknesses, practical application, or points of interest or confusion. It can be useful to illustrate key ideas by briefly linking them to news events, societal conditions, or personal experience. Key ideas entries should not be boring summaries of reading material, but should provide interesting thoughts that other class members will enjoy responding to.

Key ideas are about specific concepts from a portion of a reading, though sometimes they are central to an entire reading. Key ideas entries do not summarize entire assigned readings or the posted course notes for the week. Each key ideas entry is chosen from a different assigned reading or chapter (key ideas are not written for section introductions in Public Administration and Society). Students should avoid repeating ideas from weekly materials posted by the professor.

Posting and Format. Key ideas for the week are typed or pasted as a single posting into a weekly discussion thread, no later than 11 p.m. Central on Friday. Each key idea should be discussed in 125-175 words of narrative (not including quotation or lists), separated into paragraphs where appropriate. An example of a single key idea entry is shown below; each week, each student will post several entries that appear similar in format to this single example.

Each key idea is labeled with the name of the key idea, author of the source reading, and page number(s) of the key idea (for example: “Hamilton or Madison, human nature, pages 55-56; or, “Mostel, lessons learned, page 155”). Note that the names given in key idea headings, parenthetic citations, and at the beginning of reference list entries are those of the authors of specific works, not those of the editors of edited books.

Neither parenthetic citations with author and date nor a reference list need be included with the key ideas entries, except to cite sources from outside the readings. However, parenthetic citations for page numbers must be given for quotations and to show locations of ideas from the readings (showing location is not necessary if the key idea appears on only one page). Excessive quotation and lists should be avoided; concepts should usually be discussed in the student’s words.

Replies to Class Members. In each of the six weeks with assigned readings, class members post replies to one key idea from each of at least two other class members (and the professor, as applicable). Replies are posted no later than 11 p.m. Central on Sunday. They should be thoughtful, substantive, and 5-8 lines in length. Additional dialogue posts are encouraged.  

Weekly Discussion Questions

In each of the six weeks with assigned readings, class members post a response to a question in a threaded discussion forum. Responses are posted no later than 11 p.m. Central on Friday. The initial response to a question should be 5-8 lines in length.

Class members should post thoughtful and substantive replies to at least two other class members in the forum each week. These replies are due by 11 p.m. Sunday. Additional dialogue posts are welcome.


Participation at the ASPA Conference

Class members will attend a portion of the 2013 conference of the American Society for Public Administration, meeting in New Orleans. They will: arrive at the conference in time to participate in the pre-activities course meeting on Saturday, March 16 in the late afternoon; attend panel sessions; attend special events as assigned; and participate in the post-activities course meeting on Tuesday morning, March 19.

In the weeks before the conference, class members will use the ASPA conference website to identify panel sessions that interest them and will discuss their choices during the pre-activities course meeting. They will prepare a brief (not to exceed 8 minutes) presentation for the post-activities meeting in which they discuss specific ideas or lessons learned during the conference that could be useful to them in the future.

            The grading criteria for the ASPA experience are active attendance at required activities and concurrent sessions and thoughtful participation in class discussion about the conference experience.


Final Exam

The final exam is given in week eight. It is made available on Monday and it is due the following Saturday by 11 p.m. Central. The exam is designed to give class members an opportunity to reflect on what they have learned during the course and how course materials may be useful in their professional careers.

The exam consists of four essay questions; students are asked to do their work on their own, but there is no limitation on the use of course or other source or reference materials. The exam is posted as a single attached Word file in the Dropbox. The rubric for the final exam is given below.


Rubric for final exam.

Exceeds expectations (“A” range, 225-250 points):

·       Uses clearly identified and described course concepts

·       Discussion clearly, logically, and thoroughly addresses the question

·       Appropriate length

·       Full citations and reference list entries in correct format; one or two minor errors

·       Clear, error-free writing

Meets expectations (“B” range, 200-224 points):

·       Some concepts are not fully described

·       Discussion addresses the question; may not be fully developed or entirely clear

·       Appropriate length

·       A few incorrect or missing citations and/or reference list entries

·       A few difficulties with sentence structure, grammar/punctuation, or clarity of meaning

Does not meet expectations (“C” or below, 0-199 points):

·       Few course concepts are used, and/or they are not clearly identified or described

·       Discussion is unclear, poorly organized, or does not directly address the question

·       Length is too short or too long

·       Multiple incorrect or missing citations and/or reference list entries

·       Multiple difficulties with sentence structure, grammar/punctuation, or clarity of meaning

Example of a single Key Ideas entry

Social equity and inequality, Frederickson, pages 201-202.

            Frederickson states that social equity has been added to the classic objectives of public administration, which are “efficient, economical, and coordinated management of the services” that public agencies provide (202). He argues that government works in favor of privileged groups, leading to militancy by, then repression against, disadvantaged minorities.

            Examples include segregation and the “separate but equal” doctrine from the late 19th century case of Plessy v. Ferguson that resulted in inadequate education for Blacks. The riots of the 1960s show there was still repression a decade after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered school desegregation in Brown v. Board of Education.

Whether or not social equity is regarded as a central concept in public administration, given the conditions described in our reading “Unequal America,” I think it makes sense to consider it in the design and implementation of public policies. I’m not sure how much most public administrators can do to promote social equity, but I think we need to be aware of it in our work.




Course grades of “incomplete” are discouraged and are given only when a specific part of the required course work from the later part of the course remains unfinished. There will be 1000 points possible in the course, with percentage grade ranges and points as follows: A, 90-100 percent (900-1000 points); B, 80-89 (800-899 points); C, 70-79 (700-799 points); D, 60-69 (600-699 points); F, less than 60 percent or 600 points.

All grades are shown in eCollege, with a cumulative total. Grades for each week’s work are posted in eCollege within one week of the due date. The course grade is the final cumulative total applied to the ranges given above. Individual course grades may, at the professor’s discretion, be adjusted based on improvement or decline over the semester. Available points by assignment are given below.

- Key ideas and replies, 50 points/week, total 300 points.
- Discussion question posts and replies, 50 points/week, total 300 points.

- Participation at the ASPA conference, 150 points.
- Final Exam, 250 points.

Rubric (Final Exam has a separate rubric).

Exceeds expectations (45-50 points for Key Ideas and for Weekly Discussion Questions; 135-150 points for conference participation (“A” range)):

·       Thoroughly addresses required elements of the assignment

·       Written clearly and logically

·       Appropriate length

·       Parenthetic page citations or full author-date-page citations are provided where appropriate

·       Reference list in correct Chicago format is provided where required

·       Largely error-free writing

·         Active, frequent, thoughtful participation in conference discussions. 

Meets expectations (40-44 points for Key Ideas and for Weekly Discussion Questions; 120-134 points for conference participation (“B” range)):

·       Addresses required elements of the assignment; some entries may not be well developed

·       Reader can follow the logic of the writing

·       Appropriate length

·       Some parenthetic citations missing (not an issue if the key idea is on one page only)

·       Where a reference list is required, there are several errors

·       A few difficulties with sentence structure, grammar/punctuation, or clarity of meaning

·          Several thoughtful contributions to conference discussions.

 Does not meet expectations (0-39 points for Key Ideas and for Weekly Discussion Questions; 0-119 points for conference participation (“C” or below)):

·       Addresses required elements of the assignment in a fragmentary, inadequate manner

·       Logic or organization is difficult to follow

·       Length is too short or too long

·       Parenthetic citations are inadequate

·       Where a reference list is required, there are multiple errors and/or parts are missing

·       Multiple difficulties with sentence structure, grammar/punctuation, or clarity of meaning

·          Few, or brief, or not especially useful contributions to conference discussions. 

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Due Dates/Deadlines. Assignments are due by 11:00 p.m. Central time on the day specified (follow-up postings in addition to the assignment may be made at any time). If you may have difficulty submitting material on time, please contact the professor as soon as possible. Assignments that are posted late in the absence of prior arrangement with the professor or serious and unanticipated emergency are not read or graded for credit. The professor cannot with fairness to others distinguish between postings that are a few minutes late and those which are hours late, so late is late.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Process and Standards

Communication. Class communication will be through eCollege unless otherwise indicated. It is the responsibility of students to check frequently for messages or announcements and to ensure they are able to send and receive text attachments in Word, correctly reading the professor’s editing marks in red-colored font. Problems with spam filters, over-quota email accounts, and so on, are the student’s to resolve and it is the student’s responsibility to immediately notify the professor if materials have not been received. 

The professor would like to be available 24/7 by email, but that is not always possible. If you have not received a response within 24 hours, resend your message. If it is an emergency, call the home office number in the syllabus heading.

Length of Entries. Lengths of entries or assignments specified in the syllabus do not include quotation, lists, or web addresses. For material typed directly into eCollege, the length applies to the posted result.

Work Standards. Success in the course depends on timely participation and maintaining work standards. A failing course grade will be assigned should a class member:  

·       Fail to complete all activities during two or more weeks without making other   


·       Receive a grade of F for any of the four grading categories (key ideas; responses to

         discussion questions and replies to class members; participation at the ASPA conference;

   final exam); or,  

·       Fail to write in a manner appropriate to a professional graduate program.


Expectations. The standard for writing in this course, including writing in online dialogue and e-mail messages, is that of the professional workplace and a graduate degree program. Writing must be clear, straightforward, and correct in punctuation and use of language. Difficulties with writing that are noted by the professor should not appear in later written work—this is a criterion for grading in the course.

Except as otherwise indicated, written material in attachments will be in Times New Roman 12 point font, single space (not 1.15 space, the Word default). Papers should include student name, date, and heading or title and should have numbered pages. The electronic title of attached files should include the student’s last name.

Academic Honesty.

Park University policy: “Academic honesty is required of all members of a learning community. Hence, Park University will not tolerate cheating or plagiarism on tests, examinations, papers or other course assignments. Students who engage in such dishonesty may be given failing grades or expelled from Park University.” The Hauptmann School takes this very seriously!

Attribution and Plagiarism. When writing about, paraphrasing, or quoting the work of others, students must give proper attribution in the form of parenthetic citations, a bibliography, and quotation marks around directly quoted phrases or sentences, using the parenthetic citation and reference list style of the most recent edition of the Chicago Manual of Style. Failure to do so is plagiarism. Plagiarism is not allowed and fabricating quotations that do not appear in source material is also unacceptable. While plagiarism can occur through carelessness or ignorance, Park University’s Graduate School policy on this matter is severe. Students who have questions about this should contact the professor.

For online guidance with Chicago style, see the Chicago Quick Guide,; be sure to select the “author-date” format rather than “notes and bibliography.” For questions not answered by the Guide, see Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers, using reference (“R”) and parenthetic citation (“P”) format. 

            In weekly discussion, page number citations should be given to indicate locations in source materials. Full parenthetic citations with reference list entries are only needed when referring to works other than those assigned for the week.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Course Schedule

[PAS = Public Administration and Society; GIU = Government is Us 2.0. Key ideas will not be written for introductions to sections, though a concept from a section introduction may be included in a key idea entry.]

Week 1.  PAS, Part I (3 key ideas, one for each chapter).    

Week 2.  PAS, Part II; mock Jefferson-Hamilton debate (6 key ideas, one for each reading and

   one for the video).

Week 3.  PAS, Parts III and IV (6 key ideas).

Week 4.  PAS, Part V (4 key ideas).

Week 5.  GIU, chapters 1, 2, 4, 6, 7 (5 key ideas).

Week 6.  GIU, chapters 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 (5 key ideas).

Week 7.  Attendance at the ASPA conference (March 16-19).

Week 8.  Final Exam due Saturday, March 30.

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 2012-2013 Graduate Catalog Page 21-22


Plagiarism is 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 2011-2012 Graduate Catalog Page 21

Attendance Policy:

Students must participate in an academically related activity on a weekly basis in order to be marked present in an online class. Examples of academically-related activities include but are not limited to: contributing to an online discussion, completing a quiz or exam, completing an assignment, initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course related question, or using any of the learning management system tools. Park University 2012-2013 Graduate Catalog Page 26

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: .


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Last Updated:12/18/2012 1:03:23 PM