Spring 2023 Field of Study Course Offerings

December 7, 2022

EDUC 6100.10 - Sociology of Education

This courses adopts a sociological perspective to understand the professional norms of the teaching profession, the predictable patterns of relationships within schools, and the implications for efforts at system-wide improvement. The course will explore questions, such as why teachers historically guard their professional privacy and autonomy; why teacher discourse is typically more courteous than analytic, and why recent efforts to establish school-based professional learning communities (PLCs) clash with dominant norms of the professions.  The course is taught Tuesdays 5:10 - 7pm. For more information please contact Dr. Glazer at [email protected]

EDUC 8321 - Economics of Education

This seminar introduces graduate students to economic analysis as it pertains to educational systems and their policies. The course provides an overview of basic theories in economics which apply to education problems such as human capital, productivity, economic growth, efficiency, and cost-benefit/effectiveness analysis. Contemporary education policies that intend to improve educational outcomes for low performing students and their complexities are then analyzed tapping into current research. Those include policies of teacher recruitment and pay, accountability in educational systems, school choice, class-size reduction, school finance, higher education access and resource allocation. Students are also introduced to the various approaches to analyzing the effectiveness of recent education reforms and the complexities of replicating seemingly successful policies in certain schools and school systems. The course is taught Thursdays 5:10-7pm. For more information please contact Dr. Nakib at [email protected].

PPPA 6015 – Benefit-Cost Analysis

This course covers the application of microeconomic theory and welfare economics to the empirical evaluation of public policies and programs; applied welfare economics as a framework for policy analysis; empirical measures of welfare change; techniques of benefit-cost analysis. It focuses on turning the economic theory of policy analysis into practice. The main analytical framework linking the theory of micro-economic policy analysis to the empirical evaluation of policy is applied welfare economics, and more specifically, benefit-cost analysis. The course counts towards the following fields of study: International Development, Program Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Regulatory Policy, Science and Technology Policy, and Urban Policy. It is taught by Daniel Kuehn on Wednesdays 6:10 - 8:00 PM.

PPPA 6020 – Decision Modeling for Public Policy

This course involves practical modeling approaches used by policy analysts to explain and assess complex problems, bound a solution space, or determine what data is needed to support policy decisions; using spreadsheets (specifically, Microsoft Excel) to begin modeling policy problems. The prerequisite for this course is PPPA 6002. This course introduces students to some practical modeling approaches that are used by policy analysts to characterize complex problems, to explicitly address risk and uncertainty, to identify potentially superior policy choices, and to determine which data are needed to support sound policy decisions. The course counts towards the following fields of study: Program Evaluation and Policy Analysis. It is taught by Roy Pettis on Wednesdays 6:10 - 8:00 PM.

PPPA 6021 – Data Visualization

This course covers how graphics can be used to obfuscate, illuminate, and compel. Focusing on the programming language R, it includes working with large-scale data and distilling such data into pictures that communicate. The prerequisite for this course is PPPA 6013. Not all graphics are created equal: some lie, some obscure, some illuminate, and some compel. This course studies how to spot lies and obfuscation and teaches you how to illuminate and compel. In this class, we learn how to distill large quantities of data into pictures that communicate. Ideally, policy choices are driven by information. Because of its ability to generalize across large populations, the most credible information is frequently quantitative. However, data alone tells no story. Without visualization, it is very difficult for data to influence policy. This course challenges you to take raw numbers and create a story that can change impressions, long-held beliefs and ultimately policy. Together, we learn to tell stories with numbers using graphics. The course counts towards the following fields of study: Program Evaluation and Policy Analysis. It is taught by Leah Brooks on Mondays 3:30 - 5:20 PM.

PPPA 6033 – Nonprofit Enterprise

The course will be structured around three elements: 

1. Entrepreneurship 

2. The social enterprise ecosystem 

3. The mechanics, tensions, and realities of starting and/or managing a nonprofit or social enterprise 

In this class, students learn by doing. Students will work in small groups with local nonprofits and develop their social enterprise ideas or with students' ideas about creating their own social enterprises. Social entrepreneurship is a rapidly developing and changing field in which business and nonprofit leaders design, grow, and lead mission-driven enterprises. As the traditional lines blur between nonprofit enterprises, government, and business, it is critical that students understand the opportunities and challenges in this new landscape. In this course, students will explore this emerging field by teaching students to be entrepreneurs and how to manage social enterprises. A large component of this course is utilizing the lessons from our classroom discussions to inform practice. The course counts towards the following fields of study: Nonprofit Management. It is taught by Jasmine Johnson on Mondays 6:10 - 8:00 PM.

PPPA 6048 – Financing State and Local Government

There are right and wrong ways to pay for state and local government. You will learn them all in this class taught by an expert on state and local public finance. You will learn about this topic through the lens of the principles of sound fiscal policy - with a healthy dose of politics, economics, the law and other influences on the process. This course has inspired a whole generation of Trachtenberg students to enter into state and local public finance, according to a poll of instructors who have taught this course at GW for the past 20 years. The course counts towards the following fields of study: Budget and Public Finance, Managing State and Local Governments, and Urban Policy. It is taught by Keith Richardson on Wednesdays 6:10 - 8:00 PM.

PPPA 6056 – Regulatory Comment Clinic

Much of public policy is developed and implemented, not by Congress, but by executive branch agencies through regulations. Understanding how those regulations are developed and how to make them as effective as possible is essential for achieving policy goals. In the regulatory comment clinic, you will learn the process by which agencies develop regulations, the analytical tools they use to predict their impacts, and how you can engage effectively, whether your career takes you into the federal government, to Congress, state or local government, or the private or nonprofit sector. The course counts towards the following fields of study: Health Policy, Politics, Policy and Administration, Public-Private Policy and Management, Regulatory Policy, and Social Policy. It is taught by Susan Dudley on Tuesdays 6:10 - 8:00 PM.

PPPA 6061 – Banking and Financial Institutions Policy

This course examines emerging issues in banking and financial institutions policy. The course explores how financial technology (“fintech”) companies should be regulated, whether the Fed should create a central bank digital currency, and whether financial regulators should impose limitations on cryptocurrency companies. It also covers how Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulations affect financial institution mortgage and payday lending and how bank regulators have sought to address the “too big to fail” problem for large financial institutions. These emerging policy topics will likely be a growing source of jobs for public policy students. No previous finance or banking policy experience is required to take the course. The course is taught by Joseph Firschein, a senior officer at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors who leads the Fed’s policy work on regulations related to bank lending in low-income communities. It will also feature guest speakers who are working on these policy topics. The course counts towards the following fields of study: Urban Policy, Regulatory Policy, Social Policy, and Public/Private Partnerships. It is offered on Mondays 6:10 - 8:00 PM.

PPPA 6068 – Leading Diverse and Inclusive Organizations

This course fosters organizational leadership, decision-making, and communications skills necessary for leading in a diverse, multicultural, multi generational environment. The course counts towards the following fields of study: Nonprofit Management. It is taught by Cynthia Pierre as a distance learning course.

PPPA 6081 – Poverty and Social Policy

This course is an introduction to analytical and political issues surrounding the ongoing American and British debates on poverty and social policy; evaluating social assistance programs; the complementary roles of policy analysis and public management. The course counts towards the following fields of study: Social Policy. It is taught by Erica Walls on Thursdays 6:10 - 8:00 PM.

PPPA 6085.10 – Civil Rights and Economic Inequality

This seminar explores novel ways to address enduring issues of economic inequality by drawing upon approaches historically used to advance racial justice. The class will examine lessons from the civil rights movement and consider how the approaches employed in Brown v. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, affirmative action in higher education, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, could be applied on behalf of poor and working-class people of all races. The course is taught by Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation. The course counts towards the following fields of study: Education Policy and Social Policy. It is offered on Wednesdays 6:10 - 8:00 PM.

PPPA 6085.11 – Higher Education Finance and Policy

This course provides an overview of the U.S. higher education system and current policy debates surrounding the value of a college education, who can afford it, and how we pay for it. The two primary goals of the course are to (1) familiarize students with the U.S. higher education landscape, systems of college finance, and key policy debates, and (2) develop the analytic tools to evaluate higher education policy. Policy aims we will explore include access, persistence, completion, equity, affordability, efficiency, innovation, and accountability. Specific policy areas include financial aid, student debt and repayment, free community college, state and federal support for colleges, regulation of the for-profit sector, affirmative action, college athletics, and others. There is no prerequisite for this class and graduate students from all disciplines are welcome, however, the course is designed for MPA, MPP, and PhD students with a familiarity with policy analysis, economics, statistics, and evaluation. The course can be applied to the following fields of study: Education Policy, Program Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and Budget and Public Finance. It is taught by Stephanie Cellini on Mondays 6:10 - 8:00 PM.

PPPA 6085.80 – Oil: Industry, Economy, Society, and Security

Petroleum is one of the largest and most controversial industries worldwide, and affects the fortunes of leaders, companies, and nations. Many of the largest firms in the world are in petroleum. This course takes a multidisciplinary approach (primarily political economy and management) to oil and its effects on governments, firms, and the world economy. The first half of the course adopts a top-down viewpoint, examining the global oil environment. The second half is more bottom-up, using cases to grapple with issues such as governance, transparency, and security. The course is conducted in a mixture of seminar and lecture formats. A group proposal, paper, and presentation, as well as active class participation are expected, and constitute over half the assessment. It is taught by Robert Weiner on Mondays 7:10 - 9:00 PM.