; Carnahan Hall    Russell Renka

° Renka's Home Page
° Department of Political Science, Philosophy & Religion
OIS sites:  Forum; Gradebook; Drop Box
° My Southeast and Southeast Portal
° PS418 Policy Analysis Links
° Voting in Cape Girardeau:  Refer to Election Information from the Cape Girardeau County Clerk's Office
° Kent Library Homepage; or register at Missouri First Vote 2004 Voting In College
    °JSTOR - Journal Resources; JSTOR Journals Browser#Political Science
    ° Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe
Exam 2 - due by or before midnight on Saturday, November 8, at Exam 2 site on Drop Box

PS418/618 Course Syllabus -
Professor Russell Renka - Fall 2008

PS418/618 - Public Policy Analysis Professor Russell D. Renka
Fall 2008; Course Nos. 13675/13676 Campus Office: Carnahan 211-L
Tuesday, 6:00-8:50 p.m. Office Hours: MWF 9:00-9:50 a.m. or by appointment
Classroom: Carnahan Hall, Room 210 Office Telephone: (573) 651-2692
Home Website: cstl-cla.semo.edu/renka/ Office FAX: (573) 651-2695
My e-mail: rdrenka@semo.edu Departmental Telephone: (573)651-2183

PS418/618 Syllabus Sections - Fall 2008:
    ° On-line Instructor Suite
    ° Course Books and Readings
    ° PS418/618 Course Requirements
    ° Standards of Conduct
    ° Journal Resources
    ° Reaching me
    ° Weekly Topics and Readings

Introduction              Next Down; Top

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

Albert Einstein

    One of the most challenging enterprises in social science is the analysis of public policy.   Policy analysts are professional skeptics.  Public policy is produced largely by governments through those in key positions of power there.  The late Aaron Wildavsky cited policy analysis as "speaking truth to power," meaning those in power heard whether their policy works well or poorly regardless of what they wanted to hear.  That's an ideal, because policy analysis is typically done by analysts for those in power.  They are agents of a client who defines the policy problem and establishes the limits of analysis.  Within that constraint, the analyst's job is to produce a realistic answer to the question "if we do this, what will the results be?" or, more often, "since we've done this, what has the result been?"

   Sp analysts do forecasting alongside post mortems of how policy will work.  Forecasting violates the traditional political science model of the policy process, which assigns analysis to the end stage of a process where a public problem is defined, policy alternatives are formulated, stakeholders thrash out which if any is adopted, politicians decide upon adopting one or more, the adopted policy is implemented or carried out, and then at the end the policy is monitored and evaluated by analysts. Examples include the outcomes measures enjoying a current popularity among educational administrators and politicians charged with overseeing them. Policy analysis determines if something worked efficiently and well, and in a fashion consistent with the goals of its creators.  It is post hoc.  But in real life, policy analysis is done at all stages of the policy process.  It can do forecasts, post mortems, or both.  Ideally the analyst says "here's what will happen if you do this" and then once carried out, that prediction is tested post hoc against the real world's results.  Policy analysis is a way to systematically produce information about how policy works from beginning to end.

    Policy analysis is theoretical but not abstract. It has immediate practical value, for policymakers employ analysis to resolve policy problems and to evaluate whether on balance the policy should be undertaken or not. Even more, policy advocates actively employ it as a potent weapon on behalf of their cherished policies; analysis is a major tool in the modern political arsenal. Policy analysis is an 'applied science' used very widely by decision makers, but it is subject to constant fights over whether its use is impartial, or partisan.

    Before anyone can do policy analysis, public policy itself must be understood in its broad American form.  This course tracks a broad characterization of American public policy with an introduction to the standard language and methods of policy analysts.  A warning:  policy analysis is dominated by economists as surely as constitutional law is dominated by jurists.  There's certain tribal language and common assumptions one must wade through.  Frankly, some of it isn't simple material (Albert might send his regrets!).  But policy analysis in proper usage is a very powerful tool for making public policy better, for avoiding disastrous mistakes, for comparing alternative approaches, and for judging when to stop or start over.

On-line Instructor Suite             Next down; Top

    OIS is run by Center for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning.  OIS gives you access to a class bulletin board (Forum), locale to post for posting papers and assignments (Drop Box), and your personal grade and assignment record (Gradebook).

Course Books and Readings:                    Next down; Top

    There is one standard textbook:  Munger, Michael C.  2000.  Analyzing Policy:  Choices, Conflicts, and Practices.  New York:  W.W. Norton and Co.  It's at Southeast Bookstore, at a reasonable price ($34.95 new).  Book web link is:  Welcome at URL:   www.wwnorton.com/college/polisci/analyzingpolicy/.
    The major additional reading is the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (aka 9-11 Report).  The 2005 updated version of this is at the local Barnes and Noble, in hardback, for just $9.95.  Ask for it at the Front Desk by reference to my name and this course.

PS418/618 Course Requirements           Next Down; Top

Examinations:  This course relies minimally on examinations.  There is one at end of Week 4, another at Week 9 (per Itinerary, shown below).  These are the take-home type, where you get the questions and deliver replies within a week's time.  Each exam is worth 100 points.

Oral Presentations and Critiques: Each of you will select a suitable policy for an oral classroom presentation, followed by a written analysis of the same topic. Under separate cover I'll write out the details on how this will be handled. For now, note in the Itinerary that most of the second half of the course is devoted to in-class presentations. The average time for oral presentation plus discussion is approximately 25 minutes.
    Each of you is also expected to serve as critical reviewer.  Here's how it works.  When others make oral presentations, you write notes and then prepare a written critique.  The critique is to be delivered to me (either by email or otherwise) by Monday after each Wednesday's meeting.  I take those to then write a summary critique for the presenter.
    The oral is worth 200 points.  The written critiques are worth another 100, so total is 300 points.

Term Papers: Alongside the oral, you conclude the semester by turning in a written version. The typical length of the written paper is approximately 10 full pages for PS418 students, and 20 or more for PS618. On sources, follow the "ten and ten" rule.  That is, a term paper should be an honest 10-pager with ten or more sources. Shorter papers and those with few sources are typically the result of casual or last minute efforts. Few can use that approach to successfully perform in a play, run well in a distance race, maintain a good love relationship, or rise to a new and higher post in the work world. Neither can a good paper be written that way.

The written paper is worth 200 points.  You elect a topic and clear it with me. You can start this at any time not later than times outlined below.  Here are dates for steps toward completion of the term paper:
            ° September 19 (Week 5):  due date for topic selection
            ° October 17 (Week 9):  deadline for topical outline plus sources (with a minimum of ten separate sources).
            ° Friday, November 14 (Week 13):  deadline for submitting drafts (I will review and amend a draft if you choose to turn one in.  This is not required and does not involve a grade, but is just about guaranteed to make for a better final paper!)
            ° Sunday, December 7 (start of Week 16):  final paper deadline, at Drop Box

Forum participation:  Every PS418 and PS618 student is expected to read and contribute to the Forum. I post course information there and comment on the class material. It's an ideal place to post queries about what something in lecture or readings is about, and will help cut down on excessive e-mail. I'll inventory participation and periodically post it on an entry slot in the Gradebook.  Credit applies only to meaningful participation, that is, saying something that contributes to our conversation on one or more appropriate topics.  Board Value is 6 points per meaningful posting, up to 100 points total.

In summation, we get:

    Examination 1 - 100 points
    Examination 2 - 100
    Oral Presentation - 200
    Critiques of Oral - 100
    Final Written Paper - 200
    Forum participation - 100
    Total:  800 points

Standards of Conduct                Next Down; Top

   This section refers to disabilities, class attendance, cell phones, guns and knives, personal disruptions, cheating, plagiarism, and paper citations.  Some of this isn't fun for me to say or you to read, but it's all important.  I ask every student to carefully read this section.  Once classes commence, I'll assume you have read this and are responsible for heeding it.

    Any student with a disability that may require special accommodation should contact me about that as soon as the need is recognized.  I will take all reasonable measures to assist you so long as they're within the law and not an undue burden on me or on other students.  Experience shows that many special needs can readily be met, but only if I know about them.  So please visit with me about that.  I'll hold our discussion in strict confidence and will do what I can.

    Good students regularly attend classes, while poor ones often don't.  You're expected to attend all regularly scheduled classes within reasonable time of their start.  Each session you'll have a sign-in sheet based on your classroom seat.  I use those to call names and make queries.  I keep an open door as a rule and do understand delays on entry due to other classes, inclement weather, and gossip time; but be reasonable and don't plan on habitual late entry.   If you know you'll need to leave a class early, just advise me in advance of that.  If it's sudden and necessary to leave, then do so but let me know next time what's happened.

    Cell phones may also attend my classes, but only when turned off.  Experience teaches that otherwise they act very rudely during class.  Should one somehow ring, please silence it immediately and avoid any repeat misbehavior by the offending implement.  If you must be on phone alert, use only visual or vibrate to signal.  If you must take the call, kindly leave class to do so--and only for emergency, at that.

    Weapons may not attend any of my classes.  The State of Missouri passed a 'concealed carry' gun statute in 2003, leaving many unanswered questions on when and where it's permissible to pack concealed heat.  My rule is very simple:  no firearms of any kind are permitted in any of my classes, or in my office, under any circumstances.  Should there be a violation, I will not confront the offender.  Instead I will contact the university's legal authorities and have them press action to ensure that the offender may not continue this practice.  There are no exceptions to this rule unless the student is:  a) a law enforcement authority authorized to carry a gun in the normal performance of duties, and b) this student gets my advance clearance to carry in class.  Note:  None of this refers to minor weapons such as Swiss Army knives, Gerber tools, nail files, or the like.  I refer to guns.

    I've never had a seriously disruptive student in a class, but hear from others that some problems exist along this line.  If someone is seriously disruptive during class in such manner as makes you or others uncomfortable with being there, please advise me of that.  We have lively conversations that address politics, so I don't refer to strongly worded opinions.  I mean personal behavior that seriously offends you or others; that might include sexual harassment.  My policy is to directly ask the party to cease the offending behavior.  Should that fail, then I bring the university legal authority in to resolve the issue.  I can't be more specific than that, for the moment.

    I can be very specific about cheating.  See Southeast's Academic Honesty brochure on this subject.  I had a certain nasty little cheater in 2003, haven't forgotten that, and have since studied some methods for catching and docking offenders.  If a student cheats on an assignment, it's an automatic zero grade on that work.  If there's evidence of cheating on more than one assignment, it's a zero on each affected assignment.  Once I have documented evidence, then I first confront the offender to elicit an explanation of the behavior, after which I file a report with the Department chair.  If I catch the evidence post hoc and cannot confront the offender, I proceed directly to the report.

    Plagiarism is a common form of cheating and a chronic plague of the academic community.  It refers, of course, to someone taking the work of others and passing it off as his or her own.  It can be as simple as taking a quotation and failing to show it properly, to lifting an entire piece verbatim and pasting it to one's own paper or exam.  The common element of this noxious practice is always the same, namely that of falsely claiming for oneself that which another person has created.  In the commercial world, plagiarism brings lawsuits for copyright violation.  In the academic world, it brings verdicts of both moral and academic failure on the offender.  For insight on what it is, see Southeast's Academic Honesty brochure, or Professor Hamner Hill's Policy on Plagiarism.  Each has helpful links.

    I do not tolerate plagiarism.  I check for it--and know from bitter experience and plenty of web-smarts how to find it.  If the plagiarism is intentional, I report that as a violation of the University's academic integrity policy while assigning that paper or exam an irreversible grade of zero.  If it is not, I return the paper without a grade to its creator for immediate and thorough correction.

    The best method of avoiding plagiarism is to acquire the habit of properly citing your source material as you go along.  I do so above on the listed books for this course.  The books do so as well. I do not stipulate a particular source guide, but will expect you to cite one in your References section of any term paper.  See Kent Library's final touches - tools for citing sources for proper use of MLA, APA, Chicago Style, and others.  I usually employ APA myself, but any of them are fine.  The core rule is really very simple.  It's this:  cite your stuff so that anyone who reads your paper can easily track its sources.  So give full citation to all sources, including names of all authors, the book/article/website file name or name and position of an interviewee, and all publication information (publisher's location, publisher's name, year of pub, volume and issue of journal, URL of a website plus date of its access).  If you got specific information from one page of a 900-page tome, cite that page so your reader avoids poring through 899 superfluous pages.

    Websites are a special problem with citations.  When using one, do not cite the URL alone.  URLs are easy to lose and hard to find.  If I cannot find the source, then it doesn't count as one.  Cite the author, the filename, the URL, and the date or dates it was accessed.  Then I am almost sure to find it.  A general guide on separating good from bad websites is Evaluating Websites from Donnelley and Lee Library in Chicago.  On weblogs:  better establish why that particular blog author is authoritative.  Some are; but others are just rants.  As a professional skeptic, I won't assume a blog is valid; you have to establish that it is.

    For local writing help, visit or contact our Online Writing Lab (with the OWL symbol).  A sophisticated general guide for source use is Gordon Harvey's Writing with Sources at Harvard.  For how-to guidance on writing by political science students, see Excerpts - Van Evera at web.mit.edu/17.423/www/writingtips.html.  There is always Strunk and White:  see Bartleby's Strunk, William, Jr. 1918. The Elements of Style for on-line use.  And for the godmother of all sources, confer the Chicago Manual of Style - Q&A.  Splendid.

Journal Resources:                                Next down;Top

    Following are four of the leading policy analysis journals, all on Kent Library shelves for recent years. You are strongly encouraged to peruse these carefully for source materials on the topic you select for your oral presentation and term paper. The journals are:
    °Journal of Policy Analysis and Management
    °Policy Sciences
    °Policy Studies Journal
    °Policy Studies Review

There are also numerous policy analysis sectors to mainstream journals in political science, economics, history, and the management sciences. These include the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, the British Journal of Political Science, the American Politics Quarterly, the American Economic Review, and the American Historical Review JSTOR Journals Browser for Political Science at JSTOR Journals Browser - Poli Science has nine journals, including the first three named above.  JSTOR Journals Browser- Economics has 13 more, and JSTOR Journals Browser - History has almost 20.

    Don't overlook the public administration journals, including Public Administration Review.  MPA students should be familiar with that one in any event.  There are also numerous trade journals specific to certain policy domains such as public health, crime and law enforcement, environmental policy, foreign policy, and public budgeting.

    For locally based issues, go to State and Local Government as a likely source. It has a generous share of articles with policy analysis.

    For treatment of current issues, an outstanding weekly journal of events and policies in the federal executive branch is National Journal. Where Congress is concerned, pay special attention to Congressional Quarterly Weekly. There are interpretive articles on public policy in many excellent monthly magazines, including New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly (The Atlantic Online), and Harper’s. Finally, there are a variety of advocacy and ideological journals, such as the conservative journal National Review (National Review Online), the "neo-liberal" Washington Monthly (Washington Monthly Magazine), and the left-wing Mother Jones (MotherJones.com).  I recommend serious caution on their use as sources, but they are useful places for exploring hot issues.

Reaching me:                    Next down; Top                   

   I have an open door policy, and can very often be found at or near my office computer.  My office is Room 211L in the Department's office suite on Floor 2 of the Carnahan Building.  You can leave messages for me there if I am absent.  In general, I can be reached as follows:
    a)  Leave a message at my Department mailbox or with the department office.
    b)  Leave a message at the drop outside my door at Carnahan 211L.
    c)  Place a voice mail message at (573)651-2692.
    d)  Email me at rdrenka@semo.edu.
    e)  If you're out of town and cannot send a paper or assignment by email, then FAX it to 573/651-2695.
    f)  Consult my Home Page ( cstl-cla.semo.edu/renka) for other details about myself and my courses, including this syllabus.

PS418/618 Weekly Topics and Readings - Fall 2008                  Top

°Master Calendar - click at upper left corner for Academic Calendar

Week 1 - August 26
Note: I'll be in Boston all week for the American Political Science Association annual meeting, so class will not be held on Tuesday night.
    ° Munger Ch. 1 - Policy Analysis as a Profession - pp. 3-29; and online:  Chapter 1 An Overview of Policy Analysis as a Profession and a Process

Week 2 - September 2
    ° Munger, Ch. 2 - Deciding How to Decide:  "Experts," "The People," and "The Market" - pp. 30-53; and online: Chapter 2

Week 3 - September 9     
    ° Munger Ch. 3 - A Benchmark for Performance:  The Market - pp. 54-100; and Chapter 3

Week 4 - September 16   **
    ° Munger Ch. 4 - "Evaluation and Market Failure": Criteria for Intervention - pp. 101-133; and Chapter 4
    ** Essay 1:  issued Wednesday, September 17 and due by or before midnight Tuesday, September 23 at the Drop Box.

Week 5 - September 23
    ° Munger Ch. 5 - Experts and "Advocacy:  The Limits of Policy Analysis - pp. 134-161; and Chapter 5
    ° Case Study 1 - to be specified
    ° 9-11 Report - Preface, Chapter 1- "We Have Some Planes", and Chapter 2- The Foundation of the New Terrorism (plus Appendices and Notes); Note - chapters shown here are in pdf format, but Index also has .html (without internal links to the Report's endnotes).  The .html 911Report Notes are here.

Week 6 - September 30
    ° Munger Ch. 6 - Democratic Decisions and Government Failure:  The Limits of Choice by the People - pp. 162-199; and Chapter 6
    ° Begin Munger Ch. 7 - The Welfare Economics Paradigm - pp. 200-237
    ° 9-11 Report - Chapter 3- Counterterrorism Evolves, Chapter 4 - Responses to al Qaeda's Initial Assaults, Chapter 5- Al Qaeda Aims at the American Homeland

Week 7 - October 7
    ° finish Munger Ch. 7 - The Welfare Economics Paradigm - pp. 200-237; and Chapter 7
    ° Munger Ch. 8 - Choice of Regulatory Form:  Efficiency, Equity, or Politics - pp. 238-279; and Chapter 8

Week 8 - October 14
  ° 9-11 Report - Chapter 6- From Threat to Threat (plus Appendices and Notes); Chapter 7- The Attack Looms, Chapter 8- "The System Was Blinking Red", and Chapter 9- Heroism and Horror (plus Appendices and Notes)

Week 9 - October 21
    ° Munger Ch. 9 - Discounting I:  Expected Values, Probability, and Risk - pp. 280-321; and Chapter 9
    ° Munger Ch. 10 - Discounting II:  Time - pp. 322-351; and Chapter 10
    ° 9-11 Report - Chapter 10- Wartime; Chapter 11- Foresight--and Hindsight; Chapter 12- What to do- A Global Strategy, and Chapter 13- How to do it- A Different Way of Organizing the Government (plus Appendices and Notes)

Week 10 - October 28
    ° Munger Ch. 11 - Cost-Benefit Analysis - pp. 352-382; and Chapter 11
    ° GPO source:  9-11 Commission Final Report (alternative site for text)
    ° supplementary source:  9-11 Public Discourse Project (through end of calendar 2008)

Week 11 - November 4  (Election Day)
Exam 2 - due by or before midnight on Saturday, November 8, at Exam 2 site on Drop Box
    ° Munger Ch. 12 - Conclusion - pp. 383-396
    ° 9-11 Report - discussion summary
    ° critique of Report's Recommendations - Richard Posner, The 9-11 Report A Dissent - New York Times
Exam 2 - due by or before midnight on Saturday, November 8, at Exam 2 site on Drop Box
    Oral Presentation and Critiques - Schedule for Orals - Jake Hayes

Pre-Election and Election data sites:
     general purpose - Politics - Campaign 2008 - The New York Times
     presidential forecasts based on models - Election 2008 APSA at www.apsanet.org/content_58382.cfm; summation at Science News - Election Forecast; Pollyvote - Forecasting the US Presidential Election (consensus of 11 experts); DeSart's blog on DeSart and Holbrook, Presidential Election Forecasting
     presidential forecasts based on polls - PollingReport.com > Election 2008 with WH2008 General Election Trial Heats; Pollster.com - 2008 Election Polls, Trends, Charts and Analysis and Pollster.com – Award Winning Analysis of Polls and Surveys; RealClearPolitics > Election 2008 - General Election; The Cook Political Report > Presidential
     Congressional forecasts based on polls - CQ Politics CQ Election Map; RealClearPolitics > Battle_for_Congress; The Cook Political Report > Senate and House;
     pre-election economic indicators - Gallup Daily Consumer Confidence;
     wagering on the result - Iowa Electronic Markets at IEM -- 2008 Presidential Election Markets Quotes
     presidential election results - Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections - 2008; FiveThirtyEight - Election Projections Done Right;
     Congressional election results - CQ Politics CQ Election Map
     voter information - Pew Center -_2008 Election Information;
     voting turnout - Michael McDonald, Voter Turnout 2008 General compared to Voter Turnout of 2004 and earlier; Census Bureau's Current Population Survey > Voting and Registration Data

Week 12 - November 11  
    Oral Presentations and Critiques - Schedule for Orals - Sandretto, Tatum, Hunt

Week 13 - November 18
   Presentations and Critiques - Schedule for Orals - Clark, Schutte, Brown, Mulcrone, Scannell

Week 14 - November 25
   Presentations and Critiques - Schedule for Orals - Phillips, Coleman, Harris, McClellan, Watson

Week 15 - December 2
   Presentations and Critiques - Schedule for Orals - Riddle, Willis, Ruopp, Mershon

** Sunday, December 7 - Due date for Final Paper at the Drop Box. **

Week 16 - December 9
   Presentations and Critiques - Schedule for Orals - Snodgrass, Milne-Otten, Calloway

Final Examination Week - December 16
    Presentations and Critiques - Schedule for Orals - Gourdin
sendoff (food and beverages)


Copyright ©2008, Russell D. Renka
Wednesday, November 19, 2008 02:25:26 PM