We offer a variety of introductory and general education courses to help you explore the O’Neill School while making progress toward your degree. Check out our intro videos and sample syllabi below to get started.
Unsure how, or if, these courses work for you? Schedule an appointment with an O’Neill academic advisor. And don’t forget to check your Academic Advisement Report to make sure you’re meeting your intended requirement.
Have you ever wondered what happens to a policy once it's been passed? What happens when 50 states take the same policy and implement it in each of these states? Who's in charge of what, and what are the biggest challenges that pop up along the way? We'll think about these questions in the context of healthcare policy, environmental policy, criminal justice policy, and more in SPEA v185: Managing Public Problems and Solutions.
Description of the video:
Have you ever wondered where the government gets its money from or what it buys or spends its money on? Well in the course Introduction to Public Budgeting and Finance, we explore these questions and so much more we look at the different tax revenues that are utilized. We look at the process they use to decide what to buy and how much to buy and we also explore where and how they record all of these activities.
Description of the video:
Did you ever realize that you can do the greatest research in the world, come up with the best policies in the world, but unless you're able to get a law passed or support a law in the courts when it's challenged, it's not going to go anywhere. Our nation is based on the rule of law. It means that different bodies, different legislative bodies, make decisions on different things and different courts at different levels can rule on those things to see how they fit with their state constitutions or the Federal Constitution. We use laws to settle disputes. We use laws to protect rights. We use laws to deal with almost everything and most people don't know much about it. If you take v184: Law and Public Affairs, you'll have a start on understanding what the law is all about and what you can do to make it better.
Available O’Neill GenEd and Intro courses:
General education courses
COURSE DESCRIPTION, OBJECTIVES, AND OUTCOMES
This course provides students with a taste of the variety of topics they will encounter while pursuing the Bachelor of Science in Arts Management (BSAM), including the core functions of an arts organization, public policy in the arts, the economic structure of markets in various branches of the arts, and the issues facing arts managers today. Students will: • Compare/contrast the three sectors and discuss the relative merits and limitations of each sector. • Enumerate the various functions and roles of art in society and give examples of how and why art works and performances serve those roles. • List and explain the characteristics that are specific to arts organizations and explain how and why arts organizations need these specific functions. • Analyze and explain the challenges that arts organizations face in the 21st century.
SPEA-E 183 Environment & People (3 cr.) Environment and People is an introductory course that examines how humans interact with their environment. This course covers multiple topics, centered-around human-environment dimensions of environmental change. The overarching objective is to develop an understanding of our impact on the planet and possible solutions to environmental degradation.
By the end of the semester students should be able to …
Articulate ways in which human activity impacts a series of environmental resources and the extent to which it contributes to climate change, water and air quality degradation.
Analyze the different ways in which people rely on various natural resources for a multitude of different purposes.
Understand the consequences that increased economic growth and resource consumption place on a finite environment and the ways they impact climate change, water and air quality.
Critically assess environmental problems and information they encounter in the news. They will also be able to find more information on these environmental problems by using appropriate research methods and resources.
Understand policy tools (or policies) that are in place to deal with climate change and other environmental problems as well as identify organizations/government agencies that are responsible for designing and monitoring those policies.
Recognize cases of US communities whose health and safety is disproportionately burdened by exposure to pollution (air, water, or soil contaminants). Students should explain how this discrimination occurs on the basis of sociodemographic characteristics [such as race, ethnicity, income, sexual orientation, gender, education or age].
Define sustainability and major sustainability challenges; understand carrying capacity of ecosystems; apply concepts of sustainable development to address global sustainability challenges; and evaluate actions through a systems perspective that acknowledges the interconnections between the economy, social institutions, and the environment.
Introduction to Environmental Sciences: Application of principles from life and physical sciences to the understanding and management of the environment. Emphasis will be placed on (1) the physical and biological restraints on resource availability and use, and (2) the technological and scientific options to solving environmental problems
This course will integrate the physical and biological aspects of environmental studies. We will look at different environmental issues and integrate the subject matter to evaluate earths systems. This course will give you the opportunity to look at real life issues and evaluate them both qualitatively and quantitatively. At the end of the semester, students will be able to assess complex environmental problems we face now and in the future.
Learning objectives for Introduction to Environmental Science include but are not limited to the following: ● Evaluate the credibility of written/oral/media information related to environmental science. ● Use scientific methods/scientific reasoning to evaluate complex environmental problems. ● Use quantitative skills to analyze complex environmental problems. ● Understand how fundamental scientific principles inform environmental policy.
This is an introductory course designed to present a broad overview of the U.S. health care delivery system. The course will examine the organization, functions and roles of the system. Current health care delivery programs are also studied and contemporary problems analyzed. This course is a requirement for the Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management and Policy degree at SPEA.
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
Define the components of the U.S. Health Care Delivery System (HCDS);
Specify the roles and functions of each component;
Analyze the performance of the HCDS and identify current problems;
Discuss the role of government and private sector in the function of the system;
Identify key stakeholders and their influences on the HCDS
Identify and discuss current initiatives designed to solve HCDS challenges
An introduction to urban policy issues. Topics include political, social, and economic foundations and development of cities and suburbs; urban planning; poverty; and other selected urban problems. This course will consist of a broad overview of the history, development, and issues facing urban areas today. Issues will be placed in historical, current and future contexts.
Achieving Course Goals
By the end of this course student will be able to identify past, current and possible future urban problems facing the United States, and Rest of the World and start the analytic process in developing possible solutions for these urban areas. This class is designed for students to begin the process of interpreting data, being able to understand complex laws and regulations and finally being able to evaluate and write professional recommendations facing urban areas. We will work together in developing the required skills to be proficient in accomplishing our primary goal, identify urban problems and give realistic approaches to address these problems
Understanding of the basic urban issues and terms
Ability to identify, review and analyze urban issues
Ability to bring basic constitutional concepts to the decision-making process
Ability to convey complex solutions, verbally and written, concerning urban problems
Why has it been so difficult for the United States to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, or for Congress and the President to smoothly pass economic relief legislation? Why have U.S. state and local governments struggled to adopt anti-brutality and racial-sensitivity policies for law enforcement despite the support of nearly 90% of the American public? The answers lie in the complexities of the policy making and implementation process. This course will give you an introduction to that process, including the major groups and institutions that influence it. It will do so by helping you to understand how these forces have shaped some of the most salient policy battles of the last decade. This course will prepare students for later courses on public policy and administration.
By the end of the semester, you will (be able to):
1. Identify and understand how various levels of government (local, state, and federal) play a role in the public policy process. 2. Understand the role of stakeholders and US institutions in the public policy process. 3. Be able to identify various types of policy and how they are made and implemented. 4. Explain how a social or political movement has shaped systems of power within the country. 5. Identify one or more ways in which individuals and groups in the US have unequal experiences in the policy process. 6. Articulate and present a case for or against a policy or policy proposal succinctly and thoughtfully. 7. Write persuasively. 8. Use evidence and data to support an argument.
In this course you’ll learn about the fields of comparative and international policy. The first part explores how and why governments around the world make policy choices and how these choices affect their citizens. The second part introduces you to how governments work together with other actors to solve global problems.
COURSE CONTEXT AND OVERVIEW
If you’re thinking about working in the field of public affairs today, you will be expected to function in an international context. To help prepare you for your future career, O’Neill School faculty have designed V182 to introduce you to the policy-making process around the world.
What is the policy-making process? And why study it in an international context? All governments around the world face challenges, and all of them address these challenges by making policy. In this course, we’ll begin by exploring how and why different governments make different policy choices. We will also explore how these different policy choices affect citizens. The first part of the course will introduce you to the study of comparative policy, which can help you better understand other nations as well as your own. For example, we will study how different countries make policy on healthcare, education, and immigration.
In the second half of the course, you will also learn about international policymaking, or policy that is made by groups of national governments working together with other actors to solve global problems. Here, we will examine global problems like infectious disease, climate change, and international trade.
By the end of this course, you will be able to do the following:
Compare the national-level policy-making process in the U.S. to several other countries with different governmental systems, political philosophies, political cultures, and/or policy actors, including various forms of democratic and authoritarian governments.
Explain how these different systems produce different policy outputs, considering issues such as accountability, transparency, and corruption.
Explain why government is needed to make policy, describing several rationales (examples include: to respond to market failures, to improve efficiency, to address equity, to meet political interests, etc.). 4. Illustrate one or more policy challenges that transcend national boundaries, including at least one global policy problem, as well as proposed solutions.
Identify major organizations and other mechanisms for making, implementing, and enforcing international policy.
Illustrate how public and nonprofit sector organizations engage and interact in international policy-making and implementation.
Illustrate major differences in the policy problems facing the developed and developing world; explain the significance of these different challenges for national and international policy-making.
Use evidence to support a position in writing about a policy topic; include evaluation of counterarguments.
Demonstrate understanding of how to use sources of information appropriately to support an argument.
This course provides a basic understanding of origins, process, and impact of law in making and implementing public policy. Students learn who has power to make and implement laws, the different forms law takes, how to find and interpret law, and key principles of law that shape public affairs.
LEARNING OUTCOMES/COURSE GOALS
By the end of this course, students should be able to:
Explain how and why lawmaking powers differ among branches and levels of government
Apply to real and hypothetical events, major rules or principles of law that affect how government acts on public affairs issues
Explain how civil disputes and criminal charges are resolved in America
Explain at a basic level how administrative agencies make and implement law
Identify one or more examples of how demographic differences have affected or may affect someone’s experience with American law
Compare US and foreign approaches on one or more selected issues of law and policy
Conduct basic online research to find relevant and valid law and related information
Form persuasive oral and written arguments that incorporate legal and policy considerations
Relate the major course concepts to events in the news or history or students’ own lives
Many people want to contribute in some positive way to their community,
country, or cause. This contribution can be called “public service,” which is an important
institution pursued widely and valued globally. The course examines its historical evolution,
relationships to world religions and philosophies, motivations, values, and outcomes.
Define public service and identify its different manifestations over time and across societies.
Explain historical, cultural and social context of public service.
Examine how individual and social responses to public service affects outcomes.
Evaluate the connection between public service and students’ personal values.
Examine how public service varies across time and social situations and when different public service values conflict.
Assess incorporating public service into student lives/careers.
A survey of the incidence of terrorism around the world. Overviews of ongoing conflicts with terrorist organizations in various countries are interspersed with analyses of significant terrorist events and public policies and responses such events create.
Course goal & learning outcomes
By the end of this course you will be able to
Explain the major questions about terrorism facing scholars and practitioners
Discuss and analyze several major examples of terrorism & counterterrorism
Use evidence to take a position on major questions about terrorism
Evaluate sources of information about terrorism
Use evidence to recommend a government response to terrorism
Ever wonder why some public programs seem to work so well in some cases but so poorly in others? One of the most important answers is management. This course will focus on introducing you to the major concepts of management in the public sector but will also touch on cases in the private and non-profit sectors. It will help you understand the ways in which organizations in these sectors are different, the ways in which they collaborate with one another to solve public problems, and the unique skills required by managers to oversee those collaborations. It will provide this content in a problems-focused approach, where students can see how management choices, both good and bad, affect real world outcomes for citizens.
By the end of the semester, students will be able to:
Correctly apply basic concepts in public management to real-world problems and solutions in conversation and writing.
Compare and contrast the key similarities and differences in management in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
Describe the ways in which the public, private, and nonprofit sectors collaborate to solve problems.
Conduct an introductory analysis of ethical issues that arise in the provision of public goods and services.
Understand opportunities and barriers to equity, representation, and diversity in public programs and related implications for citizens.
Distinguish between normative and empirical arguments and evaluate the evidence presented to support claims made by policy proposals.
Establish a mindset of openness and tolerance while learning different perspectives about the design and implementation of policy.
Better evaluate the validity of sources/references of information as applied to research on management problems and solutions.
Briefly summarize key findings from government or think tank reports.
Make recommendations on a major real-world management problem, after first identifying major actors, decisions, outcomes, and timelines.
Study of fiscal management in public agencies, including revenue
administration, debt management, and public budgeting.
Course Objectives What to expect?
1.Describe the budgetary process.
2.Identify and describe the main types of spending functions in the public and non-profit sectors.
3.Identify and describe the main revenue sources in the public and non-profit sectors.
4.Identify and distinguish between debt and deficit, and explain when/why both are a reason for concern.
5.Identify and read public and non-profit sector financial documents.
6.Demonstrate an understanding of the basic tools of financial analysis.
7.Have a working knowledge of how to use spreadsheets.
This course provides a broad overview of the U.S. nonprofit sector. Topics include the sector’s size and scope and its religious, historical, and theoretical underpinnings. We will consider why people organize, donate to, and volunteer for nonprofit organizations, and look at current challenges that the sector faces.
Students will be able to:
Describe and evaluate the role of nonprofit organizations in our society
Identify specific organizations within nonprofit sub-sectors and locate information on their purpose and operation
Recognize the connections and differences between government and for-profit provision of public services and the nonprofit sector
Compare the attitudes and viewpoints that have driven giving and volunteering in the United States with their own values and experience
Utilize key information sources, including statistics on nonprofit organizations and charitable giving
Define terminology essential to understanding literature of the nonprofit sector.
This course examines core functions of management and the political socio-economic context within which organizations operate in different sectors of employment. In other words, managing people at work. One focus of this course is how management occurs in public organizations. However, the management concepts, applications, and theory are useful and applicable in other sectors as well.
Upon successful completion of this course, students can expect to be able to:
Identify fundamental management skills of planning, organizing, leading & controlling.
Identify their own approaches to managing people, dealing with stress, fostering creativity.
Discuss approaches to decision-making and how that relates to managing.
Identify what motivates employees and the levers managers and organizations can use to enhance employee motivation.
Discuss what leaders do and similarities/differences between leading and managing.
Identify sources of power and how they affect the practice of management.
Develop knowledge and skills at communicating within and outside an organization.
Describe how to manage groups/teams and interpersonal and organizational conflict.
Identify dimensions of organizational culture and its constraints and uses as a tool to enhance organizational performance.
Identify elements of organizational structure and how those elements respond to characteristics of the organization’s external environment.
Develop the ability to manage and lead change efforts within the organization.
Human Resource Management (HRM) is best defined as “the policies, practices, systems, and work culture that influence employee’s behavior, attitudes, and performance.” Regardless of whether it’s a departmental function or managerial skill set, HRM is an essential component of every organization’s success. Students who intend to pursue a career in management must be concerned with the concepts and techniques needed to carry out the complicated “people” aspect of their jobs. This course provides both a conceptual and pragmatic framework for understanding the management and operation of HRM techniques and systems in private /public organizations.
Course Teaching Goals and Objectives
Familiarize students with the principles and practices of Human Resource Management (HRM) through course readings, discussions, and exams.
Develop an appreciation for the roles of managers and practitioners in the field through course readings, discussions, in-class exercises, and preparation of an executive email.
Provide students with opportunities to research and apply HRM Techniques and critical thinking skills to real world problems through case studies.
Develop analytical and problem-solving skills in addressing HRM issues through case studies, and in-class exercises.
Integrate learned HRM concepts to prepare students for management careers in public and private organizations through exercises and case studies.
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