PS 611 Government, Politics and the Public Service
Prof. John Milloy
Public servants require a thorough understanding of Canada's political system. This course examines the structure and functions of the Westminster system of government, upon which Canada's is based, and explores the role of the public service in relation to other fundamental institutions of Canadian governance, such as the political executive, the legislature and the judiciary. Topics examined include the unique context of Canadian politics and public administration, the role of the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government within the Canadian federation, ministerial responsibility and accountability, and contemporary challenges facing the public service.
PS 614 Communicating with Diverse Audiences
Prof. Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher
Public servants often have to become communication specialists: they have to communicate with diverse audiences (e.g. citizen groups, politicians, lawyers, parliamentary committees and subcommittees) using a variety of genres (e.g. reports, records pamphlets, power point presentations, briefs) as well as different modes of communication (e.g. electronic, text, face-to-face). This course offers participants an opportunity to identify and interrogate the stylistic and visual strategies characteristic of the documents in their workplaces. Much of the course focuses on identifying the needs of different audiences and aligning stylistic and visual choices to those audiences. In the process of investigating documentation practices, course participants are offered opportunities to develop their own informal and formal communication skills.
PS 621 Project Management in Government
Project management - the coordination of people, processes, and information to achieve desired goals - is a core competency required of public servants. This course provides students with training in the key elements of effective project management, including team building, priority setting, scheduling, resource management, communication, and project implementation and completion. Examples of projects taken from government are used both as case studies for analysis and for hands-on project management exercises aimed at honing skills. Because information management is a fundamental part of most government projects, the course explores tools, methodologies, and guidelines surrounding the access, evaluation, and use of government information.
PS 624 Research Methods and Data Analysis
To effectively support evidence-based decision making, public servants must be skilled in collective, analyzing, interpreting and presenting data. This course explores the principles and practices of effective research design, and equips students with essential skills in data collection and analysis. Topics may include methods of data collection, measurement, data coding, descriptive and inferential statistics, sampling, survey research techniques, questionnaire design, interviews, and research ethics.
PS 625 Economics and Public Policy I
This course teaches students fundamental principles of microeconomics with an emphasis on cost-benefit analysis. Topics covered may include demand and supply, pareto-efficiency, surplus and deadweight loss, discounting, time-stream evaluation and investment criteria, the measurement of welfare change, shadow prices, and the valuation of intangibles. In order to ensure policy relevance, Treasury Board of Canada guidelines are used as a template for cost-benefit analysis techniques. Note: previously called Goverment Finance I
PS 613 The Politics of Difference in Canada: Challenges and Policy Responses
This course introduces students to the policy challenges facing governments in a rapidly changing and increasingly diverse Canada. A principal focus of the course is Canada's Aboriginal peoples, exploring topics such as aboriginal title and treaty rights, land claim settlements, poverty and powerlessness in cities and on reserve, debates over self-governance, and other matters that directly implicate federal, provincial and municipal governments. The course also examines how the management of race and ethnicity is integrated into public policy and applied to the public service. Topics may include the development and implementation of Canada's Multiculturalism program, immigration policy and politics, the principles and practices of institutional inclusion and reasonable accommodation, Employment Equity, and the dynamics of race, racism and anti-racism in Canada.
Some public service positions require proficiency in both of Canada's official languages, English and French. This optional course is taught at an intermediate level, and is designed to refresh and reinforce linguistic skills students have acquired through previous French language training (e.g. senior high school or university courses). It aims to strengthen proficiency in oral expression and comprehension, through the study of specialized vocabulary and situational learning scenarios, such as role-play exercises.
PS 618 Public Policy Development
Prof. Daniel Henstra
Public servants are often involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of public policy. This course examines the dynamics of public policy development in Canada, analyzing the actors, interests and institutions involved in problem identification, policy design, decision-making, implementation and evaluation. It is designed to equip students with knowledge of the policy process and a framework to analyze and recommend courses of action in response to contemporary problems.
PS 620 Effective Leadership and Management
An effective leader demonstrates mastery of skills in four key domains: personal, interpersonal, organizational, and contextual. Using these four areas as a guide, this course offers future public servants a comprehensive interactive program aimed at developing their skills as managerial leaders. Case studies drawn from government are examined and role-playing and problem-solving exercises are used to cultivate leadership capacity. Students explore the roles of values and ethics in the life of a public servant, the need to build community and foster a culture of collaboration, and the necessity of being an effective communicator and leader of people.
PS 623 Government, Business, and Civil Society
Public service work frequently involves interactions with various levels of government, business, and civil society. This course aims to help students develop critical analysis skills to assess the resources and interests of each and to understand common tensions among them. Drawing on political economy and social movement theory, the course examines several major current debates. Topics may include healthcare and social policy, inequality and poverty, environmental issues, and economic development.
PS 626 Economics and Public Policy II
Prof. Corey Van De Waal
This course focuses on the rationale for government intervention in a market economy. The course begins with a consideration of market successes through the analysis of the first and second theorems of welfare economics. The course then considers market failures through an analysis of distributional issues, public goods, externalities, non-competitive market structures, and asymmetric information. The role and degree of government intervention in health care, education, social assistance, employment insurance, and pension plans is also discussed. Note: previously called Government Finance II