Courses

 

PLCY100: Foundations of Public Policy (3): A survey course, focusing on public policy institutions and analytical issues as well as on overview of key public policy problems. Students will be introduced to public policy as a discipline, with a brief overview of the actors and institutions involved in the process, and familiarize themselves with the kinds of problems typically requiring public action. The course will examine these problems from a multijurisdictional and multisectoral perspective. Specific policy areas examined include education policy, health policy, economic and budgetary policy, criminal justice policy, environmental policy, and national and homeland security policy. The course should permit students to have broad foundational exposure to the field that will give them a solid base for more advanced courses.

PLCY101: Great Thinkers on Public Policy (3): Introduction to the intellectual foundations of public policy, from ancient theories on collective public action through the more contemporary development of public policy as a discipline. This may start as early as the ancient Greek philosophers and their views on public action through contemporary classics of public policy. Emphasis will be on the interdisciplinary foundations of public policy, through examining core disciplinary contributions from economics, political science, management, philosophy, and other relevant disciplines. At the conclusion of the course, students will have read classic works in the field and will master the key themes that have dominated the intellectual debates about public policy over its history. 

PLCY201/202: Leadership for the Common Good (3) (PLCY201 is restricted to students in the Public Leadership Program) This course aims to inspire, teach and engage students in the theory and practice of public leadership from the local to the national to the global level. Students will learn and apply diverse approaches to leadership in a multicultural society while developing an understanding of key frameworks and practices necessary to foster collective action across private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Students will also explore and assess their own personal values, beliefs, and purpose as they develop their leadership potential. Finally, students will understand the leadership skills and challenges particular to their role as a future policymaker.

PLCY203: Liberty and Justice for All: Ethics and Moral Issues in Public Policy (3) This course will broaden students’ understanding of the moral dimensions of public policy as well as their own individual moral perspective. Discussions will include the ideal of a just society, and the place of liberty and equality in it, while focusing on contemporary theories of ethics and justice.  It will develop students’ appreciation of the ethical challenges unique to the public service sector while building their skills in ethical analysis and decision-making. We will explore the increasing ethical challenges in a world in which technology, global risks, and societal developments are accelerating faster than our understanding can keep pace. A framework for ethical decision-making underpins the course.

PLCY213: Foundations of Nonprofit Leadership and Social Innovation (3) Through discussions of contemporary trends, challenges and issues, this course provides an introduction to the nonprofit and NGO sectors, social innovation, and the leadership and management skills required to achieve social impact. The course will explore the history, theories, and roles of philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, and social innovation in societies and cultures. Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the process and principles of social entrepreneurship and social innovation. Additionally, the course will introduce students to topics in leadership, social innovation, resource development, community mobilization through networks, the role of policy-making in creating change, project management, and overall strategies for achieving social impact. The course will include mini hands-on learning experiences that allow them to apply key learning outcomes.

PLCY214: Leading and Investing in Social Change: Re-defining and Experimenting with Philanthropy (3)  (Restricted to students in the iGIVE Program) Defines philanthropy as an exploration of how one develops a vision of the public good and then deploys resources (including donations, volunteers, and voluntary associations) to achieve an impact.

PLCY215: Innovation and Social Change: Creating Change for Good (3) (Restricted to students in the iGIVE Program) A team-based, highly interactive and dynamic course that provides an opportunity for students to generate solutions to a wide range of problems facing many communities today. Students in the iGIVE Program will deepen their understanding of entrepreneurship and innovation practices by creating and implementing projects or ventures that address an issue of their choosing while learning topics such as communications, project management, teamwork, leadership, fundraising, project sustainability and next steps in social change.

PLCY300: Governance: Collective Action in the Public Interest (3) (Pre-req: PUAF100 and PUAF101) Examination of societal responses to public problems, including actions by government, non-profit and private sector actors, as well as civil society. Students will examine the roles of these various actors, as well as the nature of civic responsibility. The course will examine the various stages of the policy process, asking the following questions: How does something get defined as a problem that requires a public policy response? How do we think about what the options are for this response, and how do we choose among them? What are the factors that contribute to successful policy implementation? How do we evaluate the success of public policies? These questions will be addressed using examples of current public policy problems, and students will be expected 

PLCY301 Sustainability: (3) Designed for students whose academic majors would be enhanced by the complementary study of a widely shared but hard-to-operationalize aspiration: that present choices should preserve or improve future options rather than foreclose or degrade them. How should we understand sustainability? How might we achieve it? How would we know if we had achieved it? And how could sustainability activists of a rising generation lead by example?

PLCY302: Leadership: Philosophy, Policy and Praxis (3) Understanding pluralism and how groups and individuals coexist in society is an essential part of the public policy process. This course will examine the ways in which the diverse experiences of race, gender, ethnicity, class, orientation, identity, and religion impact the understanding of and equitable delivery of public policy. The examination of how identity development shapes our understanding of society and influences the decision-making process is central to students’ shaping policy that is truly for the people. This course will equip students with the skills needed to analyze pluralism and draw conclusions about the application of various theories to public policy issues.

PLCY303: Public Economics: Raising and Spending the People’s Money (3) (Pre-req: ECON 200) Applied course in public finance, including introductions to resource mobilization (including taxation), macroeconomic policy, key public expenditure policies, and government budgetary processes and politics. The course will build on the foundations from ECON 200 to address the specific application of public finance principles to solving public problems. The course will focus on the principles of welfare economics (including market failure), economic principles as applied to particular spending programs and tax choices, and issues and institutions involved in the allocation and management of resources both at a national and subnational level. The focus of the course is on these issues from both a domestic and global perspective. At the conclusion of the course, students should be able to apply the tools of economics to inform societal and governmental choices, and understand how those choices are made in practice.

PLCY304: Evaluating Evidence: Finding Truth in Numbers (4) (Pre-req: STAT100) Course designed to create intelligent consumers of policy research. The course is not designed to make students into policy researchers, but to enable them to understand the research done by others with a sufficiently skeptical eye to allow them to determine whether the findings of the research are valid given the assumptions made and methods used. This will involve, in part, thinking about the various problems in research design or conduct that could lead to faulty conclusions. It will also involve being able to differentiate between credible sources of information and those that are not objective. At the conclusion of the course, students should be able to differentiate objective evidence from political argumentation.

PLCY306: Public Policy Analysis in Action (3) (Taken after 60 credits) This course will utilize our unique location in the Washington, D.C. region to create a laboratory within which to analyze local, regional, national and international policy problems. Students will be put into teams and assigned to real and timely policy cases. The course will include meetings and field trips with local leaders in the field, ideally connected to the cases. Student will then expand and apply their use of policy analysis and evaluation skills to define those problems, analyze alternative responses, devise appropriate strategies for implementation, and evaluate the success of the proposed policy and implementation. The course will conclude with team presentations to local leaders and faculty. This distinctive course will serve to prepare students for their client-based senior capstone course.PLCY 311 Women in Leadership (3) Examines the role of women in the leadership process including the participation of women as activists, voters, advocates, public leaders and as agents of change through various avenues including, among others, public service (elected and appointed), the media, community service, political organizations, and the nonprofit sector.

PLCY313 Advocacy in the American Political System (3) Introduces students to the creation of law through the legislative process with a special focus on the Maryland General Assembly.

PLCY349 Internship in Political Institutions: State and Local (3-6) Offers students supervised internship placements in state and local political or public policy organizations.

PLCY359 Contemporary Issues in Political Leadership and Participation (3) Special topics in political leadership and participation.

  • PLCY359A: Contemporary Issues in Political Leadership and Participation; Asian American Social Policy and Community Advocacy (3) This course focuses on how Asian and Pacific Americans are represented in government and throughout social policies in the United States. The ways in which racial and gender dynamics intersect with migration policy, community development, and other pressing issues is explored.
  • PLCY359M: Contemporary Issues in Political Leadership and Participation; Leadership in the Information Age (3) Explores the role of leadership and performance management in public administration. This will include the examination of fundamental principles of performance measurement, the identification and application of different performance measurement techniques and strategies, and the evaluation of best practices within the field. The course will also explore the characteristics of effective, purpose-driven leadership.

PLCY388 Special Topics in Public Policy (1-3) Advanced special topics focusing on an interdisciplinary topic related to Public Policy.

  • PLCY388A: Special Topics in Public Policy; Making a Difference: Child and Family Policy Advocacy (3) Nearly one quarter of children in this country live in poverty.  Millions more live in families struggling to provide the basics of quality child care and education, food, and health care.  The disparities in the conditions that help children and families thrive are not only based on income, there are also in many cases factors of race, home language, gender, age, and geography.  This class will provide a foundation of some of the major federal policies and programs helping children and families thrive and an introduction to advocacy skills such as learning the federal legislative process and federal funding types and limitations, using data in persuasive written and oral advocacy, growing and activating a grassroots.  
  • PLCY388C: Special Topics in Public Policy; Cybersecurity Policy: Practical Hacking for Policy Makers (3) This course explores the key issues facing policy makers attempting to manage the problem of cybersecurity from its technical foundations to domestic and international policy considerations surrounding governance, privacy, isk management, and operational orchestration. It is designed for students with no background in information technology, and will provide the principles to understand the current debates shaping a rapidly evolving security landscape. 
  • PLCY388D: Special Topics in Public Policy; Innovation and Social Change: Do Good Now (3) Introduces students to the concept of social innovation while exploring the many mechanisms for achieving social impact. It is team-based, highly interactive and dynamic, and provides an opportunity for students to generate solutions to a wide range of problems facing many communities today. Deepens the students understanding of entrepreneurship and innovation practices by guiding them through the creation and implementation process as applied to a project idea of their choice.
  • PLCY388E:  Special Topics in Public Policy; Sustainability ASAP: From Values and Goals to Action (3) Recognizing the urgency of today's political and ecological challenges, students will cultivate their voice and sharpen their understanding of sustainability policy, concepts, and institutions to create lasting impact in their communities and world. An inquiry into personal and shared values across the three pillars of sustainability - economic, environmental, and social - will provide a foundation for adapting and working toward aspirational goals at all levels of engagement, from the University's Climate Action Plan to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. Drawing on Youth Service America's "ASAP" model for taking action (Awareness, Service, Advocacy, Philanthropy) students will then undertake hands-on awareness and advocacy projects that expand their capacity as transformational leaders in building a more just and sustainable society.
  • PLCY388G: Special Topics in Public Policy; Global Perspectives on Leading and Investing in Social Change (3) In this course students will discuss the history, development, roles, and issues related to philanthropy in U.S. society, particularly in relationship to giving toward global, international challenges that cross national boundaries. We will also examine the habits and approaches of successful public and community leaders by examining case studies and course readings that will inform our giving strategy and decisions. Students will complete the course with an understanding of the leadership needed to make philanthropic investments and to achieve social change from various places in the international philanthropic ecosystem including as a volunteer, donor, and board member of an international humanitarian organization.
  • PLCY388V: Special Topics in Public Policy; From Artificial Intelligence to Genetic Engineering: The Policy Implications of Emerging Technologies (3) A host of emerging technologies, ranging from 3-D printing, gene editing tools, self-tracking technologies, smart cars, drones, robotics, and synthetic biology, have the potential for enormous societal benefit but also raise public and government concern. What are the various social and ethical implications in how these technologies are designed, developed and used? How do we think about policy options to deal with social and ethical concerns around these technologies? This course will study contemporary science and technology policy controversies as reflected in the news; the course material will be designed to respond flexibly to unforeseen policy issues that may arise during the course of the semester. Special guest speakers involving faculty from across the university, as well as experts from the Washington, DC area, will be invited to contextualize and deepen students' understanding of these controversies. Students will be exposed to different points of view on these issues.

PLCY400: Senior Capstone (3) (Taken after 90 credits; Pre-req: PUAF 306) Public Policy students will take the skills and knowledge gained through their curriculum and apply them through their senior capstone course. Students will work in teams on problems and issues presented by outside clients, with guidance from faculty facilitators and interaction with the clients. Each team will work with the client to address a particular problem and produce a mutually agreed-upon outcome. These hands-on projects will advance students’ understanding of the analytical, leadership, communication and problem-solving skills necessary to address today’s policy problems while allowing them to gain professional-level experience that could contribute to their success in their post-UMD endeavors. The course will conclude with an event that allows all teams to present their findings and outcomes to their client while being evaluated by faculty and public policy professionals.

PLCY401: Contemporary Issues in Public Policy (3) (Taken after 90 credits) This course will be an integrative course that allows policy students to explore the complexities of the policy-making process from the perspective of specific policy topics. They will learn about and discuss subject-based issues in a seminar format led by faculty and policy experts. Site visits to federal agencies, guest speakers, and round table sessions ensure that students receive a variety of real-world perspectives on their chosen policy area.

  • Section 0101 This course will consider a range of economic policy topics that are relevant for the United States, including the macro situation, labor markets, inequality, tax policy, fiscal policy, retirement, and more. Theoretical frameworks will be developed, with a focus on the economics of each issue.
  • Section 0102 Responding to global health emergencies like the 2014 Ebola and 2016 Zika outbreaks requires coordinated international action. Because such pandemics have become increasingly common, this course examines the complex policy challenges that local, national, and global actors have faced in responding to major disease outbreaks like bubonic plague, 1918 influenza, HIV/AIDS, SARS, avian influenza, H1N1, Ebola, and Zika.