Policy, Planning, and Management

Course Descriptions

 

PPM 501 Planning Theory
This course introduces students to basic elements of planning theory and history. Other topics covered include planning in a diverse society and an introduction to ethical issues facing planners. Cr 3.

PPM 503/603 Applied Research Methods
This course focuses on applied social science research methods used in policy, planning, and organizational analysis. Topics include research ethics, working with human subjects, validity and reliability, research design, and quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection, and applied social science research techniques. Course materials are specifically designed to illustrate research problems faced by policy analysts, planners and public/nonprofit managers. Students will gain experience through the application of various research tools throughout the course, preparing students to undertake a variety of capstone projects. Cr 3.

PPM 522 Introduction to Arc/GIS
An introduction to the ArcGIS program, a Windows-based Geographic Information Systems program. Covers beginning and intermediate uses of the program. Cr 3.

PPM 524 Gender, Race and Public Policy
This course introduces the main policy and theoretical issues that arise in analyzing relations of class, race and gender in contemporary societies.  Themes include the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, the role of the state (meaning government or law) in promoting social justice, differences between and within marginalized groups (and the challenges that result from these differences), and the role of social movements and civil society in democratizing policy-making. The course analyzes racial, sexual and ethnic disparities in social, economic, and policy outcomes. Students examine the ongoing consequences of historical and institutional sexism and racism, consequences for policy and management and alternatives to reduce racial and gender bias and other socio-economic disparities. Cr 3.

PPM 531 Measuring Performance in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors
This course is an introduction to performance measurement, monitoring, and reporting and related activities such as benchmarking for consumer and citizen use, and service efforts and accomplishments reporting. Students who complete the course will be prepared to develop basic performance indicators for public and nonprofit agencies in a variety of policy and management arenas. Specific attention is given to reviewing a variety of performance indicator systems. An emphasis will be placed on “hands-on” learning so that students gain confidence in using measurement techniques and learn how to apply practical measurement strategies in real world settings. Cr 3.

PPM 534 Managing Cities, Towns and Counties
Overview of the key responsibilities and activities associated with the administration of local and county government. Appreciation of the dynamics and politics of the administration of local government entities. An emphasis will be placed upon the actions of managers interacting with department managers, the public, and volunteer committees. Cr 3.

PPM 535 Managing Nonprofits
An examination of the managerial dimensions of nonprofit organizations. Major foci include the nonprofit environment, organizational roles and processes, interagency relationships, and problems of change and adaptability. Specific attention is given to current issues in nonprofit management such as the blurring of public, private, and nonprofit sectors, board/staff relationships, the implications of technology, ission expansion, and charitable giving. Cr 3.

PPM 541 Nonprofit Financial Management
Examines the management of finances in nonprofit organizations. Increasing financial management relates to internal operations, meeting needs with limited resources, and to external issues of accountability and transparency. Topics include an introduction to fund accounting, working with financial statements, financial controls and fraud prevention, budgeting, and managing long term fiscal health. Cr 3.

PPM 542 Policy Issues in State and Local Finance
This course examines fiscal issues facing central cities with attention on historical and current challenges to the vitality and revitalization of Maine's cities. Topics include fiscal disparities, educational equity, property taxes, fiscal equalization, state aid programs for schools and municipalities. Efforts to improve conditions in northeastern and "rust belt" cities will be examined and innovations considered for applicability to Maine. Cr 3.

PPM 545 Grant Writing and Development
Concentrates on the process of securing the resources to support effective nonprofit projects. The goal of the course is to prepare students to identify sources of funding, write proposals that will attract grant awards, and develop an understanding of what it takes to build an organization, which foundations, public entities, and individual donors are confident in supporting. The course will begin with an examination of current trends in this post-industrial economy in which money is available to the voluntary and private sector. It will also focus on the importance of understanding the “ways of money” and knowing how to develop and administer a budget that will inspire trust in the organization’s reputation for effectively managing its programs and its fiscal resources. Cr 3.

PPM 550 State and Regional Economic Development
This course surveys basic regional economic concepts, economic impact analysis, and economic modeling. Students work extensively with economic data for Maine and other states. Cr 3.

PPM 553 Volunteer Engagement and Management
Volunteer engagement and management focuses on the dynamics of volunteerism in nonprofit organizations and in the life of communities. This course exposes students to strategic and comprehensive skills for managing volunteers, and examines definitions, values, and standards as well as what constitutes effective practice in the field of volunteer resources management today. While the course is especially designed for current or future executives and managers of nonprofit organizations and volunteers, it will also benefit others who plan to work with volunteers and those who want to develop their own vision or work on policy in the field of volunteerism. Cr 3. 

PPM 560 Crisis and Risk Management
This course focuses on managing organizational crises including mitigating risk, developing crisis management plans, adopting best practices to contain and resolve crisis events, and implementing strategies to recover from crises. In this case-based course, we will examine various theories to understand crises and then study cases of particular types of crises such as natural disasters, pandemics, terrorism, and industrial accidents with environmental consequences. We will focus particularly on communication as the primary tool to manage issues, discuss risk, deal with the media, and restore reputation. Cr 3.

PPM 565/665 Transportation Planning and Policy
The basic elements of transportation planning and engineering and the relationship between transportation planning and policy and land use will be examined throughout this course. Cr 3.

PPM 570 Argumentation and Advocacy
This course is designed to teach students to communicate about public policy issues. We will examine speeches, editorials, opinion articles, and debates to learn how speakers and writers frame issues, adapt to specific audiences, choose language, structure arguments, and build a case to achieve persuasive communication. We will look at all sides of issues including those advocating for change as well as those defending current policies. This will be a hands-on course where students will practice writing letters to the editor and opinion columns as well as engaging in dialogue and debate about controversial issues. The theoretical basis for the course will rely upon theories from classical rhetoric and contemporary studies in argumentation as well as best practices in public relations. Cr 3.

PPM 581 Global Planning Issues: Megacities and Megacity Regions
This course provides an overview of the interactive factors that shape the socio-economic and physical structures of megacities around the world. Students will examine the processes that influence urbanization and gain an understanding of the contemporary state of the world’s cities, with a particular focus on megacities. Students will be exposed to issues confronted by citizens, policy makers and planners in those megacities. The course is organized geographically and will focus on selected megacities in Latin America, Africa, Asia, in addition to Europe and the United States. Cr 3.

PPM 601 Applied Data Analysis and Statistics
Introduces students to a variety of analytical approaches to studying management, planning, and policy questions. Topics include essential strategies for making sense of data, data description and summarization, graphing data with Excel, correlation analysis, and an introduction to simple and multiple linear regression analysis. A case study approach helps students acquire skills that will enable them to compile and make sense of policy, planning, and management data, select and apply statistical methodology appropriately, evaluate critically work done by others, and communicate methods and findings persuasively to non-technical but knowledgeable audiences.Cr 3.

PPM 602 Hands-On Correlation & Regression Analysis
This course builds on PPM 601 by extending and refining understanding of correlation and linear regression analysis methods and explanatory data modeling. Students learn to build and evaluate regression models, including examining models for evidence of nonlinearity, intercorrelation between predictors (multicollinearity), and other violations of regression assumptions. Students use the statistical software SPSS to gain practice with correlation and regression methods. An emphasis is placed on identifying violations of regression assumptions that affect model parameters, evaluating impact, and taking remedial action. Students complete a regression analysis project. Prerequisite PPM 601 or instructor permission. Cr 3.

PPM 507/607 Elements of Plan Making
The course focuses on the foundations of planning primarily at the regional, local, and neighborhood levels. It covers the legal and political foundations of plan making, including an introduction to planning and zoning law; the architecture of plans; and themes around the integration of planning elements, such as transportation/land use and urban form/classical zoning. Cr 3.

PPM 508/608 Dispute Management
Introduces students to the processes of conflict resolution, stakeholder involvement, communication with non-technical audiences, and styles of leadership that are essential to effective adoption and implementation of plans. Cr 3.

PPM 510/610 Governance, Democracy, and Public Policymaking
This course examines the relationship between the political process, public policymaking, and decision-making. Topics include public policy formulation, adoption, implementation, and evaluation; root cause analysis; the role of policy actors and stakeholders; effective policy communication; and the examination of contemporary public policy issues through case studies. Cr 3.

PPM 611 Economics for Policy, Planning and Management
This course introduces students to the use and application of economics in public policy, planning, and management. Topics include how markets allocate resources; role of government in a market economy; market failures and responses to them; problems of efficiency vs. equity; and application of microeconomic tools to analysis of Maine and national policy issues. Cr 3.

PPM 512/612 Sustainable Communities
The course is to introduce the student to one current approach to community planning, known as sustainable communities, which embraces a holistic approach to community development as a goal to be pursued in the complex interplay among natural, economic, and social systems. The course aims to establish command of the basic concepts, principles, policies, and obstacles associated with sustainable development, sustainable communities, and, as a practical example, smart growth. Cr 3.

PPM 513/613 Sustainable Development Workshop
This course centers around group projects in planning and/or sustainable development. It is focused on getting students to design, research, produce, and communicate professional-level projects during a single semester. Prerequisite: PPM 612 or instructor permission. Cr 3.

PPM 515/615 Organizational Leadership
This foundational course considers contemporary perspectives, issues and strategies regarding the management of public sector organizations, the importance of public service and provides a basic understanding of public management theory and the application of theory to governmental and other public and nonprofit sector institutions. Topics covered include a wide range of public management concerns, leadership styles, emotional intelligence, persuasive communication, team building, decision making, organizational culture and change. The course prepares students to become managers and leaders of public and not-for-profit institutions who can enhance the capability of these institutions. The course presents a realistic view of effective management and leadership in government and nonprofit organizations and the ways in which these organizations work and interact and focuses on the creation of social and public value, keeping in mind that economic and private value creation is often a part of public and non-profit management. Cr 3.

PPM 616 Policy, Planning, and Management Law
This course provides an introduction to how the Constitution and law shape the administration of local and state government in area such as land use, access to public records, public hearings, and public meetings. Concepts of dues process and freedom of speech ae covered and the interpretation of statutes and court cases. Cr 3.

PPM 622 Applied Policy Analysis
Using case studies of policy issues at the national, state, and local levels, this course introduces students to various techniques of policy analysis, research, and evaluation. Topics and case studies will change, but will include policy issues such as, education, public assistance, unemployment insurance, economic development, natural resource management, and the environment. Methods covered may include forecasting, multi-criteria analysis, decision analysis, economic impact analysis, cost benefit analysis, and simulation. Cr 3.

PPM 630 Innovation and Change in the Public Sector
Examines how effective public organizations set goals, structure themselves, adapt to their environment and innovate, work with diverse constituencies, manage change and internal conflict, and make decisions. Emphasis is given to techniques of analysis that can be used to understand and manage these various organizational functions. Cr 3.

PPM 632 Human Resource Management in Public, and Nonprofit Organizations
This course examines human resource management in the public and nonprofit sectors. This course evaluates and synthesizes from a management perspective the theory and practice of strategically developing, utilizing and aligning human resources to improve the organizational culture, quality and outcomes of nonprofit, public and health organizations. Topics include the historical development of employment systems and the notion of work, the functions associated with personnel management (e.g., workforce planning and budgeting, recruitment, retention, selection, performance appraisal, compensation, training, and development) and considers contemporary human resource management issues such as strategic human resource management, downsizing and workforce reductions, benchmarking and knowledge management, as well as work-life balance issues, workforce demographics, and the impact of technology. Cr 3.

PPM 633 Strategic Planning in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors
Examines how public organizations can utilize strategic planning in responding to environmental change and the future. Approaches to and techniques of strategic planning are covered, including goal-setting, environmental scanning, resource audits, and the formulation of strategy and its implementation. Examples are drawn from Maine state and local government and the nonprofit sector. Cr 3.

PPM 538/638 Philanthropy and Fund Development
This course considers the theories and best practices for navigating the interconnected worlds of philanthropy, nonprofit organizations and fundraising. The course explores the key-roles that individuals play in making philanthropic funding decisions and in developing successful fundraising approaches and strategies. Students will become familiar with methods/ processes used by nonprofits to create fund development strategies, involving Board members and volunteers, in engaging foundations, corporations, and individual donors. The course will also provide an overview of the structure of organized philanthropy—with an emphasis on the operating principals of foundations and Charitable Trusts. Students will have the opportunity to engage in conversations with key leaders from philanthropic organizations, foundations, individual funders and other representatives engaged in the philanthropic sector. Through case studies and related field work students will consider the mission-related impact of various funding plans (given the complexity of private philanthropy, grants, contracts, foundations, individual donors, legacy programs, and corporate philanthropy). Additionally, there is a community engagement emphasis with students working with identified nonprofits to develop funding plans as an outcome of the course. Cr 3 

PPM 639 Topics in Policy, Planning, and Management
This course (offered only periodically) examines selected topics in policy, planning, or public/nonprofit management. Cr 3.

PPM 640 Public Finance and Budgeting
Equips students with the knowledge, vocabulary, skills, and practical tools needed to participate skillfully and ethically in public finance decision-making and to assume a leadership role in guiding dialogue about resource acquisition and allocation choices. Teaches participants to assess context, to identify and analyze budgetary opportunities and constraints facing state and local decision-makers, to generate and evaluate alternatives using frameworks from public finance, and to project impact of choices, including identifying the potential for unintended consequences. State and local governments are the focus of the course, with the federal budget considered only from the perspective of its impacts on the economies and fiscal options of lower governmental levels. Students entering the course should be familiar with Excel. Cr 3.

PPM 564/664 Introduction to Town Design and SketchUp
This course addresses a range of community design and site design issues at the local level. It requires a student to become familiar with literature on town design, conduct field observations and measurements, perform limited land use ordinance research, and communicate design observations and ideas in writing, through drawing, by using photographs, newspaper research, as well as in class discussions. Cr 3.

PPM 667 Housing Planning and Policy
This course provides an introduction to major economic, social, and historical factors affecting the development of the housing marketplace and the interplay between these factors and land use planning and policy. Cr 3.

PPM 672 Food Planning and Policy
This course is designed to build knowledge of the food system, how it functions and interacts–or could–with planning and public policy. The intent of the course is to familiarize students with basic issues in the production, distribution, marketing, and disposal of food, especially with regard to those elements that can be influenced by civic action and public regulation. The course is a seminar and will develop and challenge students’ thinking through readings and structured discussions. Students should have an increased understanding of food systems as a planning and community development topic, the forces shaping food systems, dimensions of conventional and alternative models, and their own relationship and choices with regard to the contemporary American food system. Cr 3.

PPM 676 Energy Policy and Planning
This class will introduce the field of energy systems policy and planning with a view to providing students the background in energy issues, law, economics, and politics to effectively plan for energy use and production at the regional and local levels. The course will cover the history of energy use in industrial economies, competition between renewable and nonrenewable energy sources and between increased supply and reduced demand as the paths to energy futures. Particular attention will be focused on state and local aspects of energy policy, including energy facility siting and electricity market regulation. The course will also cover the evolution of energy supply and conservation technologies and their potential impacts in transportation and the built environments. Cr 3.

PPM 683 Environmental Law and Policy
This course explores the protection of the environment from the multi-professional perspectives of law, business and public policy. The objectives of the course are to provide a basic introduction to the field of environmental law; explore the intersection of law, business, and public policy in the regulation of the environment through case studies. Cr 3.

PPM 695 Independent Study
An independent study designed to develop a student’s ability to plan, organize, research, and report. Independent studies cover concepts or topics which are not covered by any other course in the program.  An independent study must be related to students’ academic program and is completed under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Independent studies may take the form of either readings or a special project.  Prerequisite: Instructor permission. Cr 3.

PPM 696 Public Service Internship
The internship provides professional experience within public service. In addition to satisfactory work experience, a post-internship written report is required. Offered as pass/fail only. Prerequisite: faculty approval of host organization, internship work plan, and completed "Internship Approval Form" and permission of instructor. Cr 3.

PPM 699 Capstone Seminar

Near the end of the MPPM program, students complete an individual or team project resulting in a paper or other project that demonstrates competence to undertake professional work in policy analysis, planning, or management at the end of their program. Prior to registration, the student submits a short proposal for approval to the Seminar instructor.  The individual student or team completes a written report and makes an oral presentation of the results. Prerequisite: instructor permission. Cr. 3.