PAD 771 Capstone Seminar

PAD 771: Capstone Seminar

Course Description

Requires students to apply the knowledge and skills they have gained during their MPA graduate study to a semester-long project chosen by the student in consultation with the faculty member directing the seminar.

Course Leadership

  • Course Coordinator: Ned Benton
  • Online Education Resource Status: OER

Learning Goals

  • 1.2 Students will understand the core functions, issues, and theories of human resources management.
  • 1.3 Students will understand the major theories of organizational structure and organizational behavior.
  • 2.1 Students will demonstrate how political context influences policy analysis and apply various models to the policy process.
  • 2.3 Students will conduct a research or policy analysis project that makes appropriate use of empirical research tools.
  • 3.1 Students will demonstrate reading, writing and analytical skills necessary for management & policy decision-making.
  • 4.1 Students will understand how the public service values such as ethical behavior, diversity, equity, integrity,  efficiency, effectiveness and professionalism shape the formulation and implementation of public policy.

Course Embedded General Advising

Course Embedded Career Advising

Topical coverage expectations – what topics the course is expected to cover

  • Introduction
    • Identify the action-forcing event.
    • Identify the policy question asked by the official you are working for
  • Assessment of the Problem
    • Provide an historical background and timeline.
    • Define the policy problem.
  • Literature Review
    • Complete a literature review that includes scholarly articles, professional and best-practice reports and articles, and reports and articles about how the policy and problem has been managed in other jurisdictions.
  • Stakeholder Analysis
    • Develop an environmental scan table that identifies 4-5 people who are official decision makers, experts and advocates. These are people whose views should be considered by your client.
    • Include at least one stakeholder representing the public interest.
  • Options Specification
    • Identify the policy strategies and options to be assessed.
    • Develop an options specification table.
  • Options Analysis
    • Explain the analysis to be conducted.
    • Collect the information or data.
    • Identify legal, ethical, operational and financial constraints that limit strategies and options.
    • Identify legal, ethical, operational or financial implications of your recommendation.
    • Present and explain the results of your analysis in an options analysis table.
    • Include at least the following criteria:  public interest, ethical compliance, political feasibility, administrative feasibility, financial feasibility, equity, and effectiveness.
  •  Recommendation
    • Recommend, based on the analysis, a policy strategy or option.
    • Identify arguments for and against the policy strategy or option advocated.
    • Defend the policy strategy or option advocated.
  •  First Draft Review and Editing
  •  Turnitin Submission
  •  Executive Summary
  •  Presentation Slides
  •  Project Submission

Key capstone project skills to be covered

  • The Capstone Project: The Capstone Project is a structured analysis of policy or program performance that includes most of the above types of quantitative and qualitative analysis and writing. The project is blind-graded by a panel of faculty members.

Textbooks available based on the MPA loaner textbook program

  • Bardach: A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis

Open Educational Resources by Topics to be Covered