2017-2018 Undergraduate Bulletin

Public Policy and Social Service (PPSS)



PPSS 2050 Ethical Decision Making (4 Credits)

Ethical decision making is essential for values-based leadership. Most decisions have ethical implications, but discerning the ethical dimension requires skill and an understanding of how ethical issues are shaped and informed by ethical theory. In this class students encounter major philosophical concepts and theories from the field of ethics, utilitarian(consequentialist), deontological (duty based), social contract, communitarian, and natural law theories; principles of non- maleficence, beneficence, justice and respect for persons; and virtues of care, compassion, integrity and courage. Through the use of case studies, students cultivate their capacity for ethical perception, learn to distinguish tough choices from genuine ethical dilemmas, and gain practice deliberating effectively about a variety of ethical issues drawn from both social and professional contexts.

PPSS 2100 Concepts of the Public Good (4 Credits)

All societies have to deal with natural and social inequalities, tension between individuality and community, and competing concepts of what constitutes the good society. What are the forces that create differing concepts of the public good and how are conflicts between competing visions settled? Case studies from cross-cultural research as well as historical and current examples from American culture are used to explore the role of power, class, and group identification in shaping ideas of the public good. An important focus of this course is on understanding how concepts of the public good translate into structures that provide or limit the provision of social services.

PPSS 3050 Social Services in America (4 Credits)

Societies organize to provide essential social services. This course focuses on the arrangements for basic social services in American society: education, healthcare, income, transportation, and housing. The role of government and private providers is explored in the context of the public policy that supports and maintains these services. Various methods and criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of these services will be introduced, such as who will be served, access to services, and satisfaction of the people being served.

PPSS 3100 Law, Politics, and Policy (4 Credits)

How is public policy shaped? Where do ideas for public policy come from and how are they crafted? What are the fundamental legal and political arrangements that structure American society? How are laws made, enforced, and reviewed? How did these arrangements come into being and how do they provide for continuity and change? How do various levels of government (federal, state, and local) work together (or produce stress) in trying to provide for and maintain basic social services? Students examine how political, financial, and ethical concerns are balanced in developing policies that support basic social services.

PPSS 3150 Comparative Social Services (4 Credits)

How are social services (education, health care, income, transportation, and housing) delivered and developed in market economies other than the United States? How are market, nation state, and family structures used as mechanisms for providing social services in differing socio-cultural and political-economic environments? How are the different approaches to providing social services in other countries related to conceptions of the public good? This course provides skills in the comparative analysis of social services. This class is intended to be taken after "Concepts of the Public Good" and "Social Services in American Society.

PPSS 3200 International Public Policy (4 Credits)

Most of the public policy questions that arise within a nation-state also arise in the international arena as well. Policies regarding education, transportation, healthcare, and income cross national boundaries, affect entire regions, and determine the availability of social services in different parts of the world. Income distribution patterns across nations and access to health care, education, and housing vary significantly between richer nations and poorer underdeveloped nations. How are these differences created and addressed? How are power, values, institutions, and organizations related in their influences on global public policy? What aspects of globalization affect the distribution of resources and opportunities between regions, countries, and subgroups within countries? What roles are played by governments, transnational structures, and non-governmental organizations in addressing international public policy issues? Students select a particular issue or set of issues for international analysis.

PPSS 3250 Policy Research and Analysis (4 Credits)

Students learn to make use of the basic conceptual tools typically employed to examine public policy issues. This course provides a brief presentation of these tools as well as practice in how to apply them to evaluate policy alternatives in areas of education, healthcare, income, transportation, and housing. Students learn how to find resources and relevant data, read research studies, and evaluate the credibility of sources. A major focus of this course is on learning to analyze costs and benefits, weight trade-offs, and predict the probably outcomes and unintended consequences of policy options.

PPSS 3300 Social Policy Transformation (4 Credits)

How is social policy changed? Key examples from American history are used to learn how social transformation takes place. The course begins with an examination of social movements at the opening of the twentieth century that resulted in child labor laws, women's suffrage, unemployment compensation, and minimum wage provisions. How did government become a key instrument of social change under the New Deal? What can be learned from the social revolutions of the 1960s: the civil rights and women's movements? What forces contributed to the rise and success of the Conservative counter revolution? What is the relationship of leadership, government, and grassroots as expressed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights? The course closes with the discussion of possible future social transformations growing out of such things as environmental limits to wealth creation, negative population growth, and median age shift.

Back to Top