Winter 2018

MPA Courses

PUBPOL 555: Grant Writing

Instructor: Kristina Mayer
Meets: Wednesdays, 9:00-11:50 am
Description: Sustainable nonprofit funding models have a variety of income streams. Grants are often a part of that diverse mix of funding that allows a nonprofit to carry out its mission locally, regionally, or around the globe. This course is designed as a community-based learning experience. There will be active engagement with a nonprofit while learning the facets of grantwriting from crafting a fundable concept to developing a budget that reflects a story of the work you propose and preparing for submission. You will be exposed to key concepts, strategies, and tools applicable across a variety of grant seeking settings. This course can be credited toward the Evans School MPA Nonprofit Management Program and Certificate.

PUBPOL 565 A: Local Government Management

Instructor: Dick Zais, Anne Pflug
Meets: Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:30-5:50 pm
Description: This course is for students who are interested in exploring the field of local government management. With the most jobs in the public sector, local government management touches people’s lives in real ways every day. Learn about the soft and hard skills local government managers use and how Evans School core course material is applied in local government. Over ten professionals in the field present course materials using case studies, real world examples, mock budget, and labor arbitration hearings. Opportunities to connect with career networking and internships are provided.

PUBPOL 565 B: GIS and Public Policy

Instructor: Mahesh Somashaker
Meets: Mondays, 11:30-2:20 pm
Description: This course is a hands-on introduction to Geographic Information Science (GIS) and its application to public policy. Maps are a powerful tool for both describing and studying public policy issues that occur across space. Lectures will discuss the building blocks of effectively creating, analyzing, and presenting maps in policy settings, while lab work and assignments will introduce students to GIS software. Topics include, but are not limited to, understanding how maps can be used; creating and manipulating maps; working with spatial data sources; and conducting spatial analysis. Examples will come from a wide variety of policy settings, such as housing, public health, transportation, and the environment.

PUBPOL 573: Policy and Governance of K-12 Education

Instructor: Bill Zumeta
Meets: Tuesdays, 4:30-7:20 pm
Description: This MPA elective (also open to PhD and non-Evans students) will touch on a range of topics in contemporary education policy while providing students an opportunity to apply and extend their knowledge and skills in economics, statistics, policy analysis, evaluation, and management analysis. We will explore why education tends to be publicly provided and also the reasons behind instances where it is not so or where elements of privatization are integrated into public provision—such as public school choice, charter schools, contract schools, and voucher arrangements. We will also look at American federalism in the context of education—the limited but periodically waxing and waning role of the federal government (e.g., in areas like standards and testing such as the Common Core, desegregation policy, and federal efforts to make education policy more evidence based), as well as the role of the states, and of the 15,000 or so local school districts with elected boards embodying “local control” of American public education. How did the U.S. education system come to be governed this way and what consequences does it have? What are the implications of significant changes that have been afoot in recent decades in the locus of governance as well as pushback against them? We will also give some attention to the organizational and governance structures of early childhood and postsecondary education, which tend to be quite separate (a problem in itself).

We will study in depth the arrangements for education funding in the U.S. and the consequences these have for equity as well as the current ferment and challenges around policy remedies (e.g., the McCleary Supreme Court case in Washington). We will also study policies related to the most crucial resource related to student achievement: teachers, including their recruitment and training, their effectiveness and evaluation, and related labor market issues. Another topic will be the P-20 education continuum (pre-school to graduate school), which turns out to be a fragile ladder for many because of the way our educational system is structured. What policy remedies are available or have been tried to make the system more seamless for students? Finally, we will take a look at “horizontal” links–or the lack of same–with related social sectors (health, social services, criminal justice) whose stronger links to education could certainly improve performance on both sides. We will touch on why these links are generally weak in the U.S. as well as how these challenges might be overcome.

PUBPOL 595: Environmental Governance in the Developing World

Instructor: Kate Crosman
Meets: Wednesdays, 11:30-2:30 pm
Description: The primary purpose of this class is twofold: 1) to introduce students to the array of mechanisms and tools commonly applied to environmental governance in the developing world, and 2) to empower students to think critically about the use and application of those mechanisms and tools in different contexts and to different ends. In order to understand how these mechanisms and tools operate in practice, we will also unpack the actors and institutional structures that influence and underpin environmental governance in developing countries.

1-Credit Skills Workshops

PUBPOL 598 B: Data Processing and Visualization Design in R

Instructor: Graham Bearden
Meets: Wednesdays, January 10 through February 7, 6:00-8:50 pm
Description: This workshop teaches the fundamental skills required to prepare, analyze, and report data in R. Production of data visualizations and tables will be central to materials on reporting. This is an introductory course that will avail R functionality in a way that is accessible to new R programmers. This is an applied course that focuses on successful execution of code. While students should consider theory, style, and efficiency of R programming, getting the job done right will be the first priority of the workshop. Students are required to bring a laptop to the workshop.

PUBPOL 598 C: Career Planning for MPA Students

Instructor: Tamara Schaps, Shannon Merchant
Meets: Thursdays, January 11, 25, February 8, 22, and March 8, 1:30-3:20 pm
Description: Confident in your interview skills? Ready to negotiate your first job offer? Able to articulate your top talents and skills? You will be after taking this class! Intentional career planning helps MPA students successfully transition into the job market after graduation and advance into future leadership roles. This skills workshop will help students understand their talents and skills, build confidence in students ability to articulate their value, and challenge students to master important career management concepts (such as crafting exceptional career documents, interviewing and negotiating job offers, and building relationships with leaders in their fields of interest). A feature of this class will be connecting in-person with successful Evans School alumni through informational interviews, career panels, and networking events. Students are encouraged to identify a job or organization of interest in advance of the first class to use as their focus during class exercises and assignments; this class is tailored to MPA students who will be actively seeking full-time employment within the next six months.

Special Topics

PUBPOL 599 A: Urban Finance

Instructor: Michelle Lofton
Meets: Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:00-11:20 am
Description: Many of the most severe social problems in the United States are concentrated in urban areas. Governments mitigate these social problems by establishing financial mechanisms and structures to pay for the implementation of policy solutions. This course explores recent evidence regarding urban finance problems, identifies analytical tools for understanding the causes of these problems, and discusses alternative financial policy responses to the consequences of these problems. The course is designed to provide an overview of select urban finance topics: (1) education; (2) housing; (3) infrastructure; and (3) the social safety net. Each topic area addresses an expenditure for governments in which partnerships and innovation can be used to creatively finance the public service area. This course is constructed for students that plan to be practitioners who are likely to make recommendations and/or decisions about spending in the selected areas for their organization or establishing management policies and practices. Therefore, class discussions will focus on the intersection of theory and practice.

PUBPOL 599 B: Computation Thinking for Governance Analytics

Instructor: Jose Magallanes
Meets: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:30-9:50 am
Description: This course is an innovative combination of Data Science and Computational Social Science particularly structured for policy studies. It gives participants a practical way to analyze governance by means of analytics of different data structures, including tables, networks and maps. It also connects analytics to optimization techniques and recent developments in policy simulation. Real government data is used throughout the course. The participants will also develop good practices in reproducibility for professional work in policy research. Every session of the course follows and hands-on approach (bring your laptop). Tools to be taught and used include programming languages (Python/R/Netlogo), version control apps (GitHub), document preparation tools (markdown/latex), and advanced excel functionalities. There is no pre-requisite for the course.

PUBPOL 599 D: Advanced Policy Analysis

Instructor: Grant Blume
Meets: Tuesdays, 1:00-3:50 pm
Description: This course expands on the topics that you may have encountered as part of the baseline policy analysis skill set you developed in PUBPOL 513. In PUBPOL 599 we will explore policy analysis from a vantage point where one particular criteria, such as equity or justice, is the centerpiece of the analysis. Using a more focused lens to analyze public policy like this may bring up such questions as "How does the definition of a policy problem change when we acknowledge the policy problem exists within a system of structural sexism?" and "What are the implications for policy analysis when we incorporate justice as one of our criteria?" To grapple with these questions and frame our analysis we will draw from history, sociology, political science, and a range of other disciplines to complement the conventional policy analysis literature.

PhD Courses

PPM 599: Research Seminar

Meets: Wednesdays, 12:00-1:20 pm
Description: Students who sign up for PPM 599 will attend research seminars presented by Evans School faculty and policy and management scholars from other UW departments, as well as other Universities. Students will learn about new theories and empirical findings on a wide range of topics in public policy and management and be more fully immersed in a research environment. To receive credit, a student must attend a minimum number of seminars (TBD), including the question and answer period.  

Autumn 2017

PPM 599: Research Seminar
Meets: Wednesdays, 12:00-1:20 pm
Description: Students who sign up for PPM 599 will attend research seminars presented by Evans School faculty and policy and management scholars from other UW departments, as well as other Universities. Students will learn about new theories and empirical findings on a wide range of topics in public policy and management and be more fully immersed in a research environment. To receive credit, a student must attend a minimum number of seminars (TBD), including the question and answer period. 

PUBPOL 510: Foundations of American Democracy
Instructor: Laura Evans
Meets: Tuesdays, 2:00-4:50 pm
Description: Examines core values about liberty, equality, justice, and American identity that shape American political culture and institutions. Examines key changes in political institutions, along with social and economic conditions, that have shaped the course of the republic. Gives special consideration to consequences for civil rights, checks and balances, bureaucratic power, political cleavages, and state-society relations.

PUBPOL 514: Psychology for Policy Analysis
Instructor: Grant Blume
Meets: Tuesdays, 2:00-4:50 pm
Description: Why are employer-sponsored retirement plans underutilized? What circumstances affect the choices that people make about eating healthy foods? Why does a small change to an application cause a big increase in the take-up of a public program? These questions related to an overarching question that is relevant across all policy domains: What can we learn from the intersection of public policy and psychology? In PUBPOL 514 we will develop an understanding of emerging behavioral research, apply these concepts to policy problems large and small, and consider the important implications that behavioral research has for public policy in a democratic society.

PUBPOL 537 A: Development Practice: Financial Inclusion and Poverty Reduction
Instructor: Carlos Cuevas
Meets: Wednesdays, 5:00-7:50 pm
Description: “Applied development economics” or “development practice” could be defined as the use of development economics theory, empirical evidence and other lessons from development interventions to improve upon those interventions in terms of the degree to which their goals are achieved. From the multiple possible “development goals” we choose poverty reduction as the focus of this course, and take a critical look at the development experience fighting poverty over the last decade. The course aims at providing a solid analytical base for students to conduct and/or evaluate development interventions, especially those using financial services as intended poverty reduction tools. 

PUBPOL 595 B: Environmental Risks and Values
Instructor: Alison Cullen
Meets: Thursdays, 2:00-4:50 pm
Description: Explores a range of sources of risk to human health and the environment, and the values that color communication, perception, and decision making about risk. This topic lies at the core of an ongoing conversation between communities, governments, social scientists, natural scientists, industry representatives, environmental NGOs, and the media. These groups strive to answer difficult questions such as “what is safe?” “what is acceptable?” “what is known?” “who/what do we prioritize?” “who decides the optimal balance of risk and opportunity?” Topics will include energy, climate, water supply, emerging technology, environmental justice, and others.

PUBPOL 598 A: The Art and Science of Effective Public Speaking
Instructor: Grant Blume
Meets: Wednesdays, 2:00-3:20 pm; October 4, 11, 18, 25, November 1, 8, 29
Description: The objective of this skills workshop is to equip you with a toolkit of public speaking skills that will serve you across whatever professional endeavors you pursue upon earning your MPA. Grounded in the science of what makes speakers effective, we will diagnose your existing strengths and weaknesses and spend the quarter improving and refining your public speaking skills.

PUBPOL 598 B: Legislative Skills
Instructor: State Rep. Gerry Pollet
Meets: Tuesdays, 5:30-7:20; October 4-31
Description: By the end of the quarter, you will have developed a small portfolio of legislative products to show any future employer or to use as a citizen lobbyist. Using a variation of Problem Based Learning with guest speakers and interactive strategies learn how to develop and analyze legislation at local, state, or federal levels. The course will use current “hot” legislative topics to examine development of legislative strategies, and the roles of research, staff, and lobbyists in legislative “deliberations.” You will gain hands-on experience with drafting bills and budget analyses, developing strategies and advocacy materials. At the end of the quarter, you will have a small portfolio which may include professional bill analysis, budget provisos, policy or advocacy memos, and other materials.

PUBPOL 599 A: Campaign Management and Political Communications
Instructor: Chris Vance
Meets: Thursdays, 11:30-2:20 pm
Description: In a democracy, election results drive public policy. The next campaign is never far from the minds of elected officials. Policy is often made via ballot measures, or driven by advocacy campaigns. Therefore, anyone who’s career involves public affairs needs to understand how political campaigns really operate. In addition, political campaign management, consulting, and political communications are very viable public affairs career paths. Some make campaigns a career; while many others use campaign jobs as stepping stones to other positions. Office holders and organizations are always in need of press secretaries or other top staff who have the ability to think strategically and communicate a message. This course is designed to give participants the same level of training political organizations and parties provide to candidates and entry level campaign managers and staff, and to train students in the basics of press relations, and strategic communications. The goal is that upon completion of the course, students will not only understand how campaigns function, they will actually be prepared to work on a campaign staff or in a political office or advocacy organization.

PUBPOL 599 B: Crime and Punishment Policy
Instructor: Karin Martin
Meets: Tuesdays, 10:00-12:50 pm
Description: This course examines how the confluence of politics, culture, ideology, and empirics generates policy related to crime and punishment. The course draws on examples from policing, courts, prison, and community supervision to explore the (often contested) realities of policy-making in criminal justice. In order to understand the policy process from conception to evaluation, we will delve into current topics in the field of criminal justice reform, including: cash bail, pre-trial detention, criminal justice debt, risk assessment, abolition/amnesty, and ban-the-box efforts. The course also engages the topic of policy advocacy – or how to actually build support for a policy initiative. Thus, in addition to discussions of readings taken from social psychology, criminology, sociology, political science, and behavioral economics, we will talk with practitioners, advocates, and policymakers about the role of research and politics in the policy-making process. This course equips students to have a nuanced understanding of the political processes informing crime and punishment policy.