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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Howard E. Mccurdy
PB AF 599
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Study and analysis of special topics in public affairs. Topics vary each quarter depending on curricular needs and interests of students and faculty.

Class description

SPECIAL TOPIC: PROJECT MANAGEMENT - This course is designed to help students interested in public and non-profit administration understand how to successfully manage projects without experiencing the discomforts associated with project failure. The course examines project organization, large scale systems management, project planning, project finance, cost estimation, risk management, leadership, teamwork, and the fundamental differences between project management and routine operations. It analyzes the most common reasons that projects fail: engineering breakdowns, cost overruns, schedule delays, human factors, and reliability problems in high-risk environments.

The course combines scholarly insights with practical instruction on project techniques. Students will analyze reports and other materials that describe both successful and unsuccessful projects. Cases to be analyzed may include the collapse of the Texas A & M bonfire, the raid on the Branch Davidian Compound at Waco, Texas, the disappearance of Mars Climate Orbiter, the building of SafeCo Field, Bostonís Big Dig, and the 1996 assault on Mount Everest.

The instructor, Dr. Howard McCurdy, is a visiting professor at the Evans School of Public Affairs, on leave from the American University School of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., where he is professor and chair of the public administration and policy department. He has written extensively on the management practices associated with space exploration and helped to write part of the space shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation Board report. A native of the Pacific Northwest, he received his bachelorís and masterís degrees from the University of Washington before completing his doctorate at Cornell University.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Blake N Cooper
Date: 02/18/2009