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API 6399: Capstone - Contemporary Topics in Public Management

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University of Ottawa - Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

API-6399: Capstone - Contemporary Topics in Public Management

DescriptionThis Capstone Course is offered to second year students in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs to provide information and insights into some of the major management issues confronting public servants and government institutions today. Topics include the challenges of: policy analysis in a world access to information, finding the right organizational structure, the demographics of the public service, finding ways for public servants to have a trusting relationship with Ministerial staff, the characteristics of the Westminster system of government, serving abroad, leading public organizations in an era of increased accountability and constrained budgets.

General Course Objectives: The course focuses on the principles of good public management moving from an early discussion of the meaning of ethics in government to an examination of the key challenges facing a manager in a public institution today. While special attention will be paid to the federal government, the experience of other democratic countries is also examined, partly to place the Canadian experience in a comparative context but also to draw our attention to broader principles that can be found across democratic polities.  

At the end of the semester, students should be able to describe and discuss, in a critical and sophisticated manner, the main principles, processes and institutions that guide public management in democratic societies. In particular, they should be able to describe and discuss critically the complex relationships among the various institutional components of the modern democratic state and some of the key political and bureaucratic decision-making processes associated with managing.  

In addition to the acquisition of knowledge and the development of critical reading skills, the course also seeks to help students develop some of the communication and writing skills that they will find essential in the workplace. Public administrators must be able to communicate, in a clear and succinct manner, their analysis of complex issues, often under severe time constraints. Accordingly, as part of the course, students will be challenged to hone their research and writing skills by completing writing assignments (issues briefs and a note taking exercise). These assignments should help students better understand the particular challenges involved in working in a professional environment.

Faculty: David Zussman and Jill Sinclair

Source: Syllabus provided by the course instructors on 28 September 2014.   

Teaching Topics Addressed in this Course, Organized by Public Management Subject



Commentary by the Atlas editors: The class titles and the headings in the bibliography in the Syllabus suggest a number of the potential topics to be developed for the Atlas:

  • Ethics in Government - The Cornerstone of Public Management
  • The Westminster System of Government: Parliament, Prime Minister, Cabinet and political administrative interface
  • Machinery of Government - Central Agencies
  • Coordinating Government - The Whole of Government Approach
  • The Profile of the Public Service: Recruitment, Retention, Representation and Merit
  • Public Policy - Techniques, Instruments and Process
  • The Public Service - A Comparative Analysis
  • The Public Service Goes Global
  • Leading and Managing in the Public Service - Making Things Happen
  • Accountability and Parliamentary Agents
  • Policy Instruments and Rule Sets

Page created by: Ian Clark on 28 September 2014. The content presented on this page, except in the Commentary, is drawn directly from the source(s) cited above, and consists of direct quotations or close paraphrases.



API-6399 Capstone.pdfAPI-6399 Capstone

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School of Public Policy and Governance