Michael R. Stanger
Systematic study of specialized subject matter. Topics for each quarter vary, depending upon current interest and needs, and are announced in the preceding quarter.
This course extends the curricula of planning and public affairs to the context of small and medium-sized cities, with a particular emphasis on the administrative professions; e.g. city managers and planners. The context of small and medium city administration is different politically, institutionally, and demographically than that of large cities. Using a combination of case study and lecture-discussion formats, we will explore the ways that this context is different than what students commonly see in their classess and internships; and examine the knowledge and skill that are uniquely needed in such work environments. The course is intended for anyone who has an interest in working, or presently works, in a small or medium-sized city.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
This is a seminar course. Learning will occur by reading and discussing literature and cases in a roundtable format; sharing work and other experience summarizing and synthesizing lessons in writing; and writing personal reflections. As an assistant city manager in suburban Dallas, Texas, from 1985-1999, I will use my experiences to illustrate issues that comprise the study and practice of planning and administration in smaller communities.
Students with no work experience in city government are more than welcome, and should be able to apply the lessons of the course to other contacts they have with public agencies; but those with experience are likely to gain the most from this course.
Class assignments and grading
Site visits and interviews of local government officials. Short written assignments, such as article summaries and reflective essays. Take-home final exam.
Class participation: 25%
Short essays (including presentation in class): 50% Final exam: 25%