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Public Affairs 



Spring 2018 

MPA6300- Public Sector Economics                                                                                     
Mondays 6PM – 10PM 
This course is designed to introduce and develop the tools of economic analysis that are employed by public administrators and policy analysts in understanding the role and scope of government intervention in a market economy.  This course is specifically geared towards master degree students in public administration.  Specifically, the descriptive (positive) tools of economics are explained, and applied to the normative goals of economics:  efficiency, equity, and stability. The causes of market failures are explained, and analyses of the spending, regulatory, and tax implications are explored.

MPA6540- Intercultural Communication                       
Tuesdays 6PM – 10PM
This course will examine scholarly research and current events with concerted attention towards the improved practice of communication in intercultural, international, and public affairs settings.  The primary questions investigated in the course will address the dynamics of culture, ethnicity, religion, and identity in terms of issues of representation, inequality, and empowerment against the backdrop of global transition in the 21st Century.  The course will pay particular attention to the ways ethnic identity influences decision-making and orientation to one’s world at the individual, community, national and international levels.  This course will closely interrogate communication practices between people of varying international and co-cultural backgrounds with an eye towards engendering intercultural communication competence.  The course will call upon research from critical and functional perspectives that utilize qualitative and quantitative methods of inquiry. 

MPA6600- Public Policy: Theory & Analysis
Wednesday 6PM – 10PM
This course is designed to allow students to develop an understanding of public policy as a field of academic study and an area of professional practice.  This course is considered to be one of the “foundations classes” for the MPA program.  Specifically, it focuses on the evolution of public policy as an academic discipline and a profession in the real world, the context in which public policy-making takes place, the meaning of public service in a democratic society, and the importance of personal and professional ethics.  The course will be conducted as a seminar.  Students must be prepared to discuss reading assignments and participate in analysis of case studies.

MPA6640- Law & Ethics
Thursdays, 6PM - 10PM
The course will explore the laws, regulations, and the ethical rules and issues that public officials, government employees, and individuals and companies dealing with the government will encounter.  The course will discuss the administrative law process, including the influence of laws and regulations created by government agencies, the power of these agencies to create regulations impacting business and public policy, and the ability of individuals, companies, and other entities to influence the process.  The ethical laws, rules, and issues governing public officials and employees and those doing business with them will be covered along with the impact of these rules and issues on public policy.  Through the use of examples, case studies, and readings, the course will explore select legal and ethical areas including administrative law, privacy laws, government contracting law, ethical rules including conflicts of interest rules and rules restricting payment of gifts or gratuities, whistleblowing, open meeting laws, and fraud in military and other government contracts.

MPA6400 Public Affairs Internship/Strategic Capstone
Individual meetings with the Director of the MPA Program
There are two subsets of students- pre-service and in-service. Pre-service students are those who are “coming straight from their undergraduate institutions.” These students do not hold full-time employment in the public or nonprofit sector and are looking to equip themselves appropriately to succeed in an agency upon completing their degree. In-service students are often either looking to further themselves in their current full-time positions or make a shift to a new type of work.

The purpose of the Internship/Capstone course is to provide pre-service/4+1 MPA students with: first-time, hands-on experience in their desired professional field of employment; the opportunity to build a professional network; and apply their developing MPA classroom skills in a tangible way. The project/capstone will be “internshipcentric” for this group of students. Students will work with the Director to find a placement in an organization in a public affairs field. They will complete an average of 20 hrs/wk in their new assignment.

Those students who are currently employed full-time (minimum 35hrs/wk) (in-service) in an organization in a public affairs field, may petition the Director to have the fieldwork hours waived. They can apply their current position to fulfill the fieldwork hours, and will be assigned a Strategic Capstone project- an in-depth analysis of their current profession which can be used to further their career enhancement/career development.

The Internship/Capstone course thus allows in-service students to complete an alternate project or study in lieu of the fieldwork hours. In-service students with fieldwork hour waivers will complete this alternative assignment not required of their pre-service classmates. In-service students will receive an assignment focused on a particular aspect or additional short-term function in their current position and complete it under the supervision of a faculty member. For this group of students, the project/capstone will be “academic/theoretical centric”.

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and consent of the Director

Summer 2018


MPA6580- The Public Executive
This is a graduate level course which draws on the material from the foundation level courses in the Masters of Public Affairs program.  The focus is on enhancing executive level decision making and leadership skills.  The context is executive level management of local government and nonprofit organizations, but lessons learned will have broad applicability for mid-level and senior managers in all government agencies and other public service entities.  The course will provide the student with an in-depth perspective into the environment, challenges, and responsibilities of a public sector executive.

MPA6590- Urban Government and Politics
Urban Government and Politics is a course designed to introduce students to the complex, and often challenging environment of public policy development in metropolitan institutions. This course will provide an overview of the degree in which urban residents can govern themselves in communities, and the key challenges historically faced by contemporary cities. This course will focus on urban areas throughout the country, while looking at urban policies and politics. This course will also introduce the interrelationships between the structure of urban government, and the activities of major actors (mayors, city managers, council members, interest groups, political parties, and community activists) in urban settings. Finally, the course will ask students to understand specific urban concepts or urban characteristics-economic, social, political, and psychological-that are common to all cities, and metropolitan areas.

MPA6400- Public Affairs Internship/Strategic Capstone
Individual meetings with the Director of the MPA Program
(see course description above)

Take it to the next level - the graduate level - at Merrimack.