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, quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection, questionnaire development, 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 research tools throughout the course, preparing students to undertake a variety of capstone projects. Cr 3.

PPM 507/607 Introduction to Community Planning
This 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 510/610 Governance, Democracy, and Public Policy
This foundational course explores democracy as not only a form of governance but as a way of living that touches every aspect of society. Students consider the constitutional foundations, institutions, and the formal and informal processes through which states protect and serve their people, and advance their interests as well as contemporary perspectives regarding the nature of democracy, the concept of governance, and the application of governing in an increasingly complex society. The course offers students the opportunity to explore current policy issues that present challenges for democratic governance in American society such as populism and the rise of authoritarian leaders, money in politics, equality, voting issues, and social media. Through readings, class exercises and case studies students consider how the modern state fulfills traditional core functions (such as security, basic welfare, opportunity for enrichment) when the range of issues and problems requiring action has increased, competition for resources has accelerated and as confidence in government is declining. 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 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 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 Social Justice and Public Policy
The course introduces students to competing theories of social justice and how philosophies of social justice influence public policy, community planning, and public service administration, and the role of government in promoting social justice. The course considers how theories of social justice may aid in framing and reforming public policies and addressing contemporary social issues. Topics will vary depending on the interests of the instructor and current events, but may include income, gender, and racial inequality; economic and social mobility; racial and class segregation; poverty,  homelessness and housing; civil rights, same-sex marriage, and LGBT discrimination; environmental injustice; and criminal and juvenile justice. 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 is placed upon the actions of managers interacting with department managers, the public, and volunteer committees. Cr 3.

PPM 535 Managing Government and Nonprofits
This course provides students with an introduction to the field of public and nonprofit management and an understanding of the institutional, political, organizational, and ethical challenges of operating public organizations. There will be special attention to how nonprofit and public organizations are functioning in the “new normal” of greater need, concentrated wealth, increased poverty and decreased social mobility, and its effects on enhancing connections and building collaboration between public, nonprofit and private sector organizations and the communities they serve. Students will explore the similarities and differences between public, nonprofit and private organizations, evaluate the environment of public organizations, consider the importance of working in diverse communities and identify how different structural and environmental factors constrain and enhance the ability of managers to achieve their organization’s mission. Through case work and learning opportunities in the field, students will explore in-depth many current management issues, diagnose problems and develop feasible solutions by applying theories and frameworks to “real world” problems in public and nonprofit organizations as well as develop management tools and skills needed for directing programs, people and resources to solve complex problems.  Cr. 3

PPM 542 Policy Issues in Maine
This course is offered periodically to examine critical policy issues facing Maine. A particular course may focus on a single policy issue in-depth or consider a range of topics. The course will typically feature speakers with expertise and experience in dealing with these issues from diverse perspectives. 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 Local Economic Development
This course considers local, regional and state economic development strategies and programs and surveys basic analytical tools including 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 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 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 Policy 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 organizing for analysis and making sense of data, description and summarization of data distributions, graphing data and trends using Excel, correlation analysis methods, and an introduction to simple and multiple linear regression analysis. Students learn to select and apply statistical methodology appropriately and evaluate critically work done by others. A case study approach helps students acquire and apply skills in public policy, planning, and management settings and practice communicating methods and findings persuasively to non-technical but knowledgeable audiences. Cr 3.

PPM 609 Topics in Public Policy
This course is offered periodically to examine selected topics and current issues in public policy. Cr 3.

PPM 611 Economics for Policy and Planning
This course introduces students to the essential concepts and analytical tools of microeconomics and demonstrates how these concepts are used in analyzing public policy problems and designing appropriate responses. Through discussion of how individuals and organizations make decisions, students will develop an economic framework with which to analyze complex public policy and planning issues. The course offers students opportunities to apply their learnings to their interests in Maine and national policy issues such as income inequality, racial and gender inequality, housing policy and segregation, and education. Some familiarity with microeconomic concepts is assumed. Cr 3.  

PPM 613 Policy, Planning, and Management Workshop
In this project-based course, students employ policy, planning, and management knowledge to address significant issues that affect places and organizations. Students work in small teams to design, research, produce, and communicate professional-level projects during a single semester. Cr 3.

PPM 616 Policy, Planning, and Management Law
This course introduces how the Constitution and law shape the administration of local and state government in areas such as land use, access to public records, public hearings, and public meetings. Concepts of due 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 Nonprofits
This course offers students a conceptual framework for understanding the role of nonprofit organizations in a market economy and democratic society and the challenges that are a natural feature of the nonprofit sector. Nonprofit leaders make decisions in increasingly networked environments that are characterized by uncertainty, resource constraints, competition for human resources, barriers to coordination as well as political, policy and community challenges.  Students will consider the unique social, economic and policy environment in which nonprofit organizations reside in Maine and nationally, and identify effective strategic, governance, and management approaches in supporting innovation and change in the nonprofit sector. The course is organized to enable students to engage directly with nonprofit organizations and explore the opportunities and resistance to change, barriers to innovation as well as problem-solving techniques that promote nonprofit success and growth. Cr. 3.

PPM 632 Human Resource Management and Policy
This course examines human resource management and policies 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 and public organizations. Topics include the development of employment systems and the notion of work, the policies and functions associated with personnel management, and considers contemporary human resource management and policy issues such as workforce development, equity and diversity, talent acquisition, knowledge management, artificial intelligence, work-life balance, 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 639 Topics in Public and Nonprofit Management
This course is offered periodically to examine selected topics and current issues of importance to public and/or nonprofit organizations and managers. 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 policy development and 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 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 668 Topics in Community Planning and Sustainable Development
This course is offered periodically to examine selected topics and current issues in planning and sustainable development. 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 when elements may 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 respecting 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 product that demonstrates competence to undertake professional work in public policy, planning, and management. The individual student or team completes a written report and makes an oral presentation of the results. Prerequisite: instructor permission. Cr. 3.