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 Public Leaders and Active Citizens (3) 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) 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 to engage in individual and collaborative work to design responses to those problems.

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 Examining Pluralism in Public Policy (3) Understanding pluralism and how groupsandindividuals coexist in society is an essential part of the public policy process. This coursewill  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.Theexamination of how identity development shapes our understanding of society and influencesthedecision-makingprocessiscentraltostudents’shapingpolicythatistrulyforthepeople.Thiscoursewill equip students with the skills needed to analyze pluralism and draw conclusions abouttheapplication of various theories to public policyissues.

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.

PLCY309 Internship in Political Institutions (3-6) Offers students supervised internship placements in state and local political or public policy organizations.

PLCY310 Nonprofit Leadership and Social Innovation in Action (3) Furthers students understanding of topics in leadership, social innovation, resource development, community mobilization through networks, and the role of policy making in creating change. This course will further students understanding of the creation and leadership of nonprofits, social ventures, governance and boards; strategic planning and partnerships; advocacy and public policy processes; community outreach; working in teams, effective communications, and cross-sector approaches to scaling up social impact.

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.

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

  • PLCY388A Special Topics in Public Policy; Child and Family Policy Impact (3) For poor and low-income families, federal programs such as Medicaid, Childcare, SNAP and child nutrition programs are a lifeline every day.   Some programs also have policies that consider more than income eligibility, such as number of hours of work, disability, and immigration status.  Budget choices have a significant impact on policy intentions.  Students will learn about and analyze the major federal programs and federal budgets for these policy areas; understand from data the impact of such programs and policies; and be introduced to significant advocacy efforts and considerations that shaped these policy decisions.
  • 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.
  • PLCY388F Special Topics in Public Policy; Contemporary Issues Under the Rule of Law (3)"Fake news" and freedom of the press, money in electoral politics, voter photo ID laws and political gerrymandering, continued racial segregation in public schools, privacy on the street and in school, holding public officials accountable for egregious constitutional violations, and unequal justice for the poor are all thorny issues of public policy that have found their way into American courts. This course examines these and other current issues presented to the courts in a format where students evaluate and opine on the competing legal and policy arguments in class and in papers as if they were the empowered judicial authority. The course also provides a broad overview of the ways American courts function as well as an opportunity to visit with a federal judge, hear the experiences of former jurors, and possibly visit a landlord-tenant court in action.
  • PLCY388G Special Topics in Public Policy; Global Perspectives on Leading and Investing in Social Change (3) Today, philanthropic and nonprofit organizations play significant roles in shaping how public policy gets developed and implemented, as well as how change occurs in society.  In the United States, the nonprofit or voluntary sector encompasses more than one million organizations and annually reports trillions of dollars in revenue and assets.  There are also millions of non-profit organizations active in other countries around the world, advancing social and environmental causes and spawning innovation.  This course will define philanthropy as an exploration of how one develops a vision of the public good and then how a person or group can deploy resources to achieve a positive and lasting impact.  During the semester, the class will go through the challenging and exciting process of ultimately granting approximately $7,500 to an organization that we believe can use these resources to achieve an impact on an issue of international significance.  Our class grant deliberations and decisions will ultimately lead us to confront, question, and sharpen our philanthropic values, decisions, and leadership skills.    
  • PLCY388I Special Topics in Public Policy; Child and Family Advocacy Impact (3) Advocates for children and families have accomplished a great deal over the years. They’ve reduced hunger and extended access to health care. They’ve expanded early childhood education and broadened economic supports. But so much more remains to be done to ensure social justice and equity so that all children and families can thrive. The second semester of Child and Family Advocacy Impact will concentrate on developing advocacy skills, everything from leveraging the legislative process and creating effective messaging strategies to working in coalitions and mobilizing grassroots supporters. 
  • PLCY388M Special Topics in Public Policy; Homeland Security and World Order (3) Protecting the Nation's homeland security involves the careful integration of many agencies' efforts and resources- both human and material. An important dynamic element in policy making is the significance of American Federalism to the national division of labor addressing security problems. Our federal structure creates unique prohibitions on the use of federal power, but also facilitates experimentation in meeting critical security and emergency preparedness requirements. This course will anchor the exploration of homeland security policy in an appreciation of America's federal history, and address responses to threats and challenges from critical infrastructure cybersecurity to counter terrorism and securing the US' borders and littoral economic interests.
  • PLCY388P Special Topics in Public Policy; U.S. Immigration Policy: A Retrospective & Contemporary Review of Policy (3) Students will focus on studying the major eras of U.S Immigration Policy and will dive into understanding the various actors, reforms, policy tools and enforcement methods that have been implemented. The course consists of two modules. Module 1 dives into readings about immigration, immigrant policies, policy actors, and enforcement tools. Module 2 integrates social science methods for collecting and evaluating quantitative data to study the local implementation of immigration enforcement operations by learning the nuts and bolts of data collection, documentation, management, and analysis.
  • PLCY388Q Special Topics in Public Policy; Introduction to International Security (3) This course will familiarize students new to international security policy with major concepts, debates, and challenges in the field. Some of today's most important problems, including potential conflicts between great powers, violence by governments against their own people and by terrorist organizations, and the disruptive effects of powerful new technology have existed in various forms for centuries.
  • 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.
  • PLCY388W Special Topics in Public Policy; Global Action and Problem Solving(3) Today's most pressing problems do not stop at national borders. Meeting these challenges requires a range of state and non-state actors to work together. Students gain familiarity with key actors in the global system and how they approach today's most intractable problems. How do countries, international organizations, multinational corporations, and nongovernmental organizations find ways to cooperate when their interests and capabilities sometimes differ drastically? And, what are the key barriers to cooperation? We will examine a set of global policy issues requiring a transnational response including violent conflict, nuclear non-proliferation, human rights, migration, international trade, climate change, infectious disease, and humanitarian relief.

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.