The course descriptions below provide a general overview of the content; however, the details are subject to change.
Analysis for Decision-making in Public Service (3 credit hours)
This course provides students with analytical tools that enhance their skills in diagnosing problems and formulating solutions within organizations and communities. The underlying premise is that well prepared public service leaders can increase their effectiveness in contributing to the well-being of their communities by equipping themselves with these analytical tools. Instruction will focus on evaluating community assets as a balance to assessing community need. Underlying values of social justice and collaborative problem-solving provide a benchmark for these activities. Students working in teams will be challenged to apply their skills to cases related to affordable housing and homelessness.
Leadership in Public Service (3 credit hours)
Leadership in public service requires strong interpersonal skills, both to direct an organization effectively and to work successfully with other individuals/organizations in the public, private and non-governmental sectors. The course is designed to increase students’ knowledge of leadership concepts and best practices, provide opportunities and experiences that improve leadership skills and techniques, and enhance capabilities in organizational management. Students will assess their leadership strengths and weaknesses, as well as develop an action plan to match their career goals. They will improve knowledge and skills in building diverse teams, in initiating/managing change, in addressing uncertainty, and in leading non-governmental organizations. At the end of the course students should be able to design leadership strategies – mobilizing individuals, groups and organizations – to successfully address a spectrum of issues in public service and in promoting the community good.
Communication Processes and Conflict Transformation (3 credit hours)
The course is designed to increase your personal communication effectiveness as a leader and public servant. It will challenge students to assess their own communication strengths and weaknesses. The course will help in crafting authentic and compelling leadership messages, in developing relationships with those who are to be led and served, and in facilitating public dialogue and transformational conflict. Students will need to develop skills in writing, speaking, listening, interpersonal communication, negotiation, and conflict management. The course will also enable students to understand the application of the same communication processes in the public arena – facilitating public discussions of difficult issues, sustaining partnerships and collaboration, and using the energy of conflicts to transform organizations and societies.
Dynamics of Social Change (3 credit hours)
The course deals with the elements of social change in a democratic society, and how these intersect with and are impacted by some of the more tangible economic and political forces. A critical examination of the various justifications for promoting or discouraging social change will be undertaken, and the inherent strengths and weaknesses of these various approaches will be analyzed. Real-world cases will be used, and a culminating exercise will be a strategic assessment of an underdeveloped nation – identifying, justifying, and planning specific social change strategies.
Ethical and Legal Dimensions of Public Service (2 credit hours)
Ethical and legal considerations shape every aspect of effective public service. This course will provide an overview of the primary ethical principles and legal concepts that guide difficult decisions in the public realm. Traditional academic study of ethical and legal theory will be combined with practical approaches to problem solving. Students will explore issues of economic, political, and social justice through case studies of current issues. Students will construct cases that are relevant to their own fields and present them to the class, identifying ethical and legal constraints on decision-making and implementation.
Professionalism in Public Service (2 credit hours)
A career in public service demands a personal dedication and selflessness that leads to building stronger relationships, stronger communities and a more workable and responsive world. This course is designed to help students gain knowledge and experience to further their careers in the areas of nonprofit, governmental, political, volunteer, or private sector work. The material in this course extends the knowledge and skill sets learned in the Communication and Conflict Transformation and Leadership courses, as well as compliments the students’ ongoing field work. The course will draw upon a wide variety of resources in an effort to enhance the students’ personal and professional growth.