Course Overview – Public Administration and Democracy

Course Overview – Public Administration and Democracy


Hello, everyone. Welcome to public
administration and democracy. My name is Tina Nabatchi. I am a professor at the
Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. And I specifically
work in the Department of Public Administration
and International Relations. I’m also a faculty
research associate at the Program for the
Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration. We just can’t call
ourselves PARCC because that name
is far too long. I’m so excited to
be here with you to teach public
administration and democracy. This is one of my
favorite courses. It is unlike any other course
in the Maxwell EMPA curriculum. This course is not about
teaching you managerial skills. It is not about
giving you tools to do budgeting or financial analysis
or quantitative analysis. Rather, this course is
built on the presumption that only those
administrators who are more broadly aware of the
social, political, and cultural context in which they work
can be truly effective. All of those tools, the
hard and soft skills you’ll learn during
your EMPA program won’t make much
difference unless you have a broader understanding
of this environment. Public administration
and democracy is the flagship course
for all of Maxwell’s public administration programs. And this course asks some
of the bigger questions of public administration
and democracy. So in this class,
you’ll be asked to grapple with questions
like, what is democracy? What are the tensions between
bureaucracy and democracy? And to whom should public
administrators be responsible? Those are real
challenging questions. And there are often no correct
answers to these issues. So we are going to provide
an opportunity for people to have different perspectives. And even though we might
disagree with them, we are not going
to be disagreeable. This course is a lot of fun
because it helps you really get to the underlying,
meaningful, and what I think are
the truly sexy issues of public administration. It’s going to be a tough course. There’s a lot of reading to
do and a lot of engagement. So to be successful
in this course, I recommend that you try
to get into the materials. As you’re going
through the readings, some are really going
to speak to you, and you’re going to find
them engaging and meaningful. Others are probably going
to make you fall asleep and drool a little out of
the corner of your mouth. That’s OK. Everybody is going to have
different responses to it. When you find something that
is engaging and meaningful, dive in, dig deep, and really
think through those issues. And when you find
something that’s a little less exciting
to you, back up, read for the kernel
of information, try to gather the little piece
that you need out of that. And remember that
these questions don’t have right and wrong answers. A lot of them are
about shades of gray. So remember to be
comfortable with ambiguity. And remember that
we’re going to try to unpack all of these
issues through the course. So if there are things
that you don’t understand, you can work with
your instructor and work with your peers to help
you really figure out what’s going on in these issues. All of that said, I’m
pretty sure you’re going to have a good
time, or at least I hope that you’ll have
a good time, tackling the big questions of public
administration and democracy. I look forward to working with
you throughout this course. And I wish you all
fun and success.

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