This course introduces graduate students to the central elements of public management and policy implementation. We will focus on three key challenges that public managers face: managing programs; managing people; and managing change. Using academic theory from public management, real-world case studies, and a series of guest speakers who work in and with government, students will learn about the barriers and opportunities to make a difference through government.
Throughout the semester, we will grapple with questions like: How can governments use data and evidence to improve program performance and what do you do when the data is bad? How do we reduce administrative burdens in government and why does it matter? How can we recruit, retain, and support frontline workers? What are the big dilemmas around algorithmic decision-making, nudging, participatory government, and other innovations that an effective public manager should consider?
This course is for people who are interested in working in and with governments or are eager to better understand why it’s so hard to move the needle on major public policy questions. While most of the examples will focus on federal, state, and local government challenges in the US, we will draw on best practices and studies from around the world.