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Course Descriptions

Unless otherwise noted, all courses are for three credits.

ORGANIZATION THEORY - PLCR 501
This course provides graduate students with a historical survey of the social science approaches to the study of organizations. Major attention is given to the developing images of organizations and the nature, causes, and consequences of organizational policy. More attention will be given to the current sociological study of organization-society interactions. The overall concern is to integrate micro and macro theories of organizational behavior and apply them to some of the broader problems of organizational practice.

RESEARCH METHODS - PLCR 502
This course provides students with a basic understanding of research methodology. Using this knowledge they develop their own research proposals to 1) evaluate social programs that have been implemented or 2) investigate a social problem that deserves the attention of policy makers. Accordingly, the course content includes the basic forms of research and the logical progression of research from the problem formulation and design stage to data collection techniques and plans for data analysis. Strategies for possible funding are also included.

QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS - PLCR 503
Dr. Ann Marie Popp
The aim of the course is to provide computer analysis skills. The course will focus on data management and data analyses using the IBM/PC and SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) Release 20.0 for Windows software. Structured learning experiences, guided by the professor and teaching assistant, are emphasized. At the end of the course students are able to: 1) Prepare data for processing, 2) Formulate hypotheses concerning patterns of interrelationships of variables, 3) Demonstrate the knowledge of personal computing procedures and SPSS, 4) Discern the relationships of variables in the analysis stage, 5) Interpret the output from SPSS, and 6) Analyze and write a data based paper or report.

THE SOCIAL LANDSCAPE - PLCR 504
Dr. Michael Irwin
This course examines the interaction between social systems and their environments across the landscape. Students will be introduced to socio-spatial theories and techniques that to map and analyze social, political and environmental patterns with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). These techniques along with social theories of spatial processes will be applied to current policy studies such as community quality of life, segregation, housing policy, suburban sprawl, and sustainable development.

VALUES, ETHICS AND POLICY - PLCR 505
Dr. Charles Rubin
What is a good public policy? This simple, often asked question already implies the central role ethics play in policy making. This course examines that role in light of the distinctive value structure that arises from the beliefs and institutions of American liberal democracy.

SOCIAL AND PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSIS - PLCR 506
Dr. Lewis Irwin
This course aims to enhance the students’ ability to see through to the crux of contemporary policy issues efficiently, quickly, and logically. The course explores techniques of policy analysis in depth, as well as the practical constraints imposed by the policymaking environment in several policy areas, in order to hone those critical analytic skills.

TERRORISM - PLCR 507
Fr. John Sawicki
The phenomenon of transnational violence perpetrated by non state actors against civilians has become the single most pressing security issue in the modern era. This sort of violence - terrorism - is studied here in all its facets: motivations, organization, funding, tactics and goals. Furthermore, kinetic as well as soft-power counter-terror strategies are also reviewed from the policy, legal and moral perspectives, among others.

POPULATION - PLCR 508
Dr. Michael Irwin
This course examines population processes and shows how population change is tied to social conditions, political policies, and economic dynamics. The course has three major content areas. Part I, The Demographic Perspective, introduces the field of demography, basic demographic concepts, and major theories of population change. Part II, Population Processes, introduces the three vital demographic processes - mortality, fertility and migration. Part III, Population Structure, examines the social organization of populations such as cohort structures, life course transitions, and family structure. In each content area, special emphasis is placed on the interrelationship between population change and social policy.

CORRECTIONAL POLICY AND PRACTICE - PLCR 509
Dr. Charles Hanna
This course emphasizes the U.S. corrections systems including probation, community corrections, jai l and prison.  How and by whom these agencies and facilities are administered and organized is examined and the social policy implications are discussed.  The system is studied from the multiple perspectives of parole and correctional officers and offenders.

CITY BUILDING AND PUBLIC POLICY - PLCR 510
Dr. Evan Stoddard
This course examines the development of the American city and the impact of the absence of public policy on the creation of the urban form. It studies the attempts by the presidential administration to develop a national urban policy. Finally, it analyzes the impact of governmental actions such as the Highway Act, FHA lending practices and investment taxation policies on recent developments in cities such as Pittsburgh, Chicago, Houston, and Miami.

AGING AND MENTAL HEALTH - PLCR 511
The United States and many other societies are rapidly aging populations. This course examines age-related mental health issues and policy dynamics in aging societies. Some study focus is directed toward Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, their nature as well as social and public policies developed relevant to such mental illnesses. Social and public policies enhancing mental health in later life are also explored.

ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT - PLCR 512
Dr. Daniel Lieberfeld
The clash between Jewish Zionists and the Arab peoples of Palestine and surrounding countries has been a focal point of world politics for roughly the last 100 years. It has involved six wars, as well as near-continual violence short of outright war. This course is designed to make the major issues comprehensible and to enable students to begin to form their own assessments of what is needed for a just and lasting resolution. Through readings, films, discussion, and simulation exercises, the class explores the political, social, economic, psychological, and cultural dynamics of the conflict, as well as questions such as why the conflict has proven so difficult to resolve, how the conflict resembles and differs from other cases of protracted conflict between ethnic and national groups, and what factors have motivated U.S. policy toward the conflict.

HUMAN RIGHTS: POLITICS AND POLICY - PLCR 513
Dr. Clifford Bob
This course is an intensive examination of the international human rights regime including philosophical sources; legal instruments; governmental and non-state actors; and impacts on states and international order. It considers classic civil and political rights as well as emerging rights of children, minorities and indigenous peoples.

POLITICAL ECONOMY OF RUSSIA AND THE INDEPENDENT STATES – PLCR 514
Dr. Kent Moors
An examination of the rise of market economics in the former Soviet Union, with particular emphasis on the relationship among economic, financial, political and policy considerations. The course develops an understanding of the problems in reforming centralized decision marking systems and focuses upon current concerns in the Russian market which have application to broader problems in developing nations.

HEALTH, ILLNESS AND SOCIAL POLICY - PLCR 515
This course considers the major health and illness issues and policy concerns apparent in American society and the global community. Students are involved in research on the outcomes (identifiable or probable) of current or proposed policy responses to such health and illness issues.

MINORITIES AND PUBLIC POLICY - PLCR 516
Dr. Matthew Schneirov
This course examines the historical evolution of American public policy toward minorities. This includes the legal/ constitutional changes, migratory patterns, social institutions and political mobilization. Contemporary problems and issues are evaluated within this context.

CRIMINOLOGY - PLCR 517
Dr. Charles Hanna
This course examines images, assumptions and explanations of crime and criminality, then disentangles the facts from the fictions, which contributes to scientific understanding about crime. In this process, we study the implications of these models for public and social policy.

THE POLITICS OF CIVIC PROBLEMS - PLCR 518
Dr. Lewis Irwin
Social policies are public policies that almost invariably involve the redistribution of wealth from one set of citizens to another, in order to achieve a desired societal goal. When is it legitimate to ask society in general to pay for the needs of a relative few? Do such policies benefit all citizens generally? What have been the practical results of these programs over their histories? This course offers the student an opportunity to analyze federal and related Pennsylvania state law in depth in the areas of education policy, affirmative action, healthcare, welfare, Social Security, and other social policies, with the primary goal being to enable the student to make reasoned and compelling arguments for or against future social policy changes.

ETHNIC CONFLICT: POLITICS AND POLICY - PLCR 519
Dr. Clifford Bob
Ethnic conflict threatens political stability in countries around the world. From Iraq to Bolivia, from Spain to Indonesia, conflicts have erupted over a wide variety of "ethnic" issues in recent years. Yet despite its ubiquity, ethnic politics remains poorly understood: Why do people identify with ethnic groups? Why does ethnic identity sometimes lead to private ritual, sometimes to peaceful mobilization through mass movements or political parties, and sometimes to violent conflict, pogroms, and genocide? Most pressingly, are there solutions to ethnic conflict, particularly in deeply-divided, violence-ridden countries?
This course gives an overview of current theories of ethnic politics, covering ethnic identity formation, ethnic mobilization, and conflict reduction measures. While focusing on ethnic groups in the developing world, the course includes significant attention to the broader commonalities of ethnic politics and includes readings on ethnic politics in the developed world.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY - PLCR 521
Dr. Norman Conti
This course acquaints students with the stages of the criminal justice system from police investigation through arrest, charging, adjudication, sentencing and punishment. Topics addressed will be the history of the system, its effectiveness, the rights of suspects, defendants and the convicted at different stages of the process. The impact of law on practice, and the interrelationship among the parts of the system at various decision points will also be topics of interest.

AMERICAN DEFENSE POLICY - PLCR 522
Fr. John Sawicki
American defense policy is undergoing a transformation now that the Cold War has ended. The end of Soviet communism has led to a reevaluation of the threats which confront the United States and policies and strategies which are necessary to meet those threats. Implementing changes in America's defense policy will not be an easy or painless task. There are many entrenched interests within the military and in American society who will resist changes in policy, strategy, and budgets. The policy choices which are made in these years will shape American defense policy for decades to come. This course investigates the formulation of American defense policy. Students become acquainted with the major institutions and their responsibilities, the different policy areas and some of the current debates over defense policy. Little time is devoted to examining actual operations by the American military.

QUALITATIVE METHODS - PLCR 523
Dr. Matthew Schneirov
Qualitative methods explores the research traditions, data gathering techniques and methods for analyzing data in qualitative research. The course covers the logic of qualitative research, its applicability to policy analysis, and the dominant research traditions of symbolic interactionism, social constructionism, phenomenology as well as critical approaches like Marxism, feminism and action research. Students learn about specific methods such as participant and naturalistic observation, in-depth interviews and various ways of analyzing texts and conversations as well as methods for analyzing data and presenting it.

WOMEN AND POLITICS - PLCR 524
Dr. Patricia Dunham
Examines the political socialization and behavior of women in the U.S., and the public policies particularly affecting or affected by women.

POLICY IMPLEMENTATION - PLCR 525
Dr. Evan Stoddard
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the administrative and managerial skills they will need to be effective leaders in public and charitable organizations. The course teaches principles of strategic planning, effective organizing, budgeting, project and program management, consensus building and shared decision-making. In addition, the course explores ethical issues in the management of public and charitable organizations. The course also reinforces writing and oral presentation skills. The course uses case studies and the students' own experience and research in public or charitable organizations as tools for learning.

AMERICAN POLITICS AND POLICY - PLCR 526
Dr. Leslie Rubin
This course studies the political environment for public policy analysis in the United States. The U.S. federal system is one of widely shared power. Policies are formulated and implemented in an environment that includes many participants with different goals. This course provides an understanding of this system and provides students with the background necessary for dealing effectively with this environment.

GLOBAL ENERGY POLICY - PLCR 528
Dr. Kent Moors
This course shall consider the impact of domestic and international finance on the economic development of emerging markets. The current debate over the meaning and nature of globalization is our necessary point of departure. Fundamental political and cultural elements are often viewed as fundamental consideration in that debate, but the street riots each time the World Bank or G8 nations meet provide little opportunity to discuss them. Globalization occasions considerable disagreement worldwide and some vehement opposition. But one thing is absolutely certain about the development. It is here to stay. While a number of general issues will be treated during the course of this semester, we are primarily focusing upon three: (1) the position and impact of international capital transfers; (2) currency exchange and value considerations; and (3) whether the assumed relationship between opening markets and democratization is still a sustainable one. No prior background in any of this subject matter is required for this course.

COMPARATIVE INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES - PLCR 529
Dr. Kent Moors
An examination of the development, structure and usage of intelligence agencies with particular emphasis on how such functions impact upon national policy makers and the policy making processing. The primary focus of the course centers on a study of the CIA, British M16 and Russian KGB/FSB.

INTRODUCTION TO CONFLICT RESOLUTION - PLCR 530
Dr. Moni McIntyre
This course gives its participants a broad overview of the emerging discipline of conflict analysis and resolution. Students become familiar with major theoretical explanations of conflict as discussed in scientific studies within the field, e.g., scarcity of resources, aggressive behavior and (universal) human needs. On the level of praxis, various forms of conflict intervention are examined. In lab sessions, students gain hands-on experience with skills necessary for effective intervention. Included will be: conflict assessment; intervention design and process; understanding parties' positions, interests, values and the role of human needs; the impact of race, ethnicity, gender and other distinctive cultural elements; role of power; framing, implementing and sustaining agreements.

THEORIES OF CONFLICT - PLCR 531
Dr. Daniel Lieberfeld
This class examines major social science theories of conflict. Emphasis is on the need for theories to inform our ability to resolve conflicts. The course blends findings from conventional disciplines of sociology, psychology, and counseling with new understandings being developed in research on deep-rooted conflicts. Special attention is given to insights gained from the emerging conflict transformation orientation. Analysis is a critical tool to be used in conflict resolution and societal transformation. This course includes interpersonal, group, as well as international conflicts, violence, revolution, and war.

THEORY AND PRACTICE OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION - PLCR 532
Drs. Daniel Lieberfeld, Moni McIntyre
This course combines theory and praxis by teaching the different approaches to conflict resolution (e.g. interest-based mediation and negotiation, transformational mediation, arbitration, etc.) and providing practical training and skills.

NONVIOLENT SOCIAL CHANGE - PLCR 533
Dr. Moni McIntyre
This course focuses on the transformation of conflict through the use of nonviolence. It provides an overview of the spiritual, religious, and ethical roots of nonviolence as well as a number of historical examples of how it has been used as a strategy for social change. Emphasis is placed on the various sources of power in nonviolent change as well as methods of strategic non-cooperation that provide effective and pragmatic alternatives to violence.

COMMUNITY ORGANIZING AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS - PLCR 534
Dr. Moni McIntyre
This course introduces students to the field of social movements. Particular emphasis is placed on the application of theoretical ideas to case studies in order to enhance our knowledge of community organization and social change. Organizing - whether it is on a local, national, or international level brings people together to achieve their common interest and goals. The organizer faces a variety of tasks: recruiting participants, mobilizing resources, building community, planning strategies, assessing the political climate and conditions, and ultimately implementing collective action. In addition, an effective organizer must find ways to sustain motivation during setbacks, to address problems of repression and internal disputes, to overcome obstacles to mobilization and to productively deal with the media. This class covers social science theories that inform these skills.

SOUTH AFRICAN POLITICS AND SOCIETY: FROM APARTHEID STATE TO "RAINBOW NATION" - PLCR 535
Dr. Daniel Lieberfeld
The struggle among communities of South Africans for security, dignity, prosperity, and a sense of control over their own destiny is 350 years old. This course focuses on the clash between the Afrikaner national movement, which was in power from 1948-1994, and the black-led African National Congress (ANC), which governs today. Through readings, films, presentations, lectures, discussion, and role-play exercises, the course examines how each group sought to promote its own survival and interests, and why the ANC eventually overcame white rule. The course also highlights the challenges of the transition to a fully democratic form of government and of forging a "new South Africa."

INTERNATIONAL CONFLICT: NEGOTIATION AND MEDIATION - PLCR 536
Dr. Daniel Lieberfeld
Examines how negotiation and mediation, or "assisted negotiation," can help to end international disputes peacefully. In-class simulation exercises, along with readings and films, provide theoretical and practical understandings of the mediation and negotiation processes and how they fit into the broader context of international conflict resolution. Particular topics include the strengths and limitations of different types of mediators, obstacles to mediation success as well as circumstances that contribute to successful interventions, and ethical and justice related issues in peacemaking.

WAR IN LITERATURE AND FILM - PLCR 537
Dr. Daniel Lieberfeld
The course explores how popular film, art, and memoirs, grapple with broader questions of war's human costs, of responsibility for war crimes and atrocities, and of the politics of war. Specific topics include nationalism and humanism in WWI (All Quiet on the Western Front, Paths of Glory); war trauma and its legacies (Spiegelman's Maus, Levi's Survival in Auschwitz, Shay's Achilles in Vietnam, Mezuman's Jenin Diary); nuclear deterrence (Dr. Strangelove); mythmaking and de-bunking (Saving Private Ryan, Rambo, O'Brien's If I Die in a Combat Zone). Most perspectives explored are American, but the course also includes work by non-U.S. artists.

POST-CONFLICT RECONCILATION AND JUSTICE - PLCR 538
Dr. Daniel Lieberfeld
How should societies and international organizations respond to "crimes against humanity," war crimes, and gross human rights violations? To what extent is the pursuit of justice compatible with goals of reconciliation between adversary groups? Building on the legacy of the war-crimes tribunals established after World War II, several countries in Latin America, Europe, and Africa have established "truth commissions." We examine the potential and limitations of post-conflict justice and reconciliation attempts and their relationship to broader processes of democratization, comparing experiences in several countries.

FAMILY AND POLICY - PLCR 540
Dr. Matthew Schneirov
The family is a critical and enduring institution in our society which represents "'private life." Yet much of our social and public policy has a significant impact on the private domain of family. It is this collision of the private and public that makes the family such a significant target for public debate and an interesting exploration for the arena of policy. This course examines the still-developing arena of family policy through a mix of readings, exercises and class presentations.

HEALTHCARE ETHICS AND PUBLIC POLICY - PLCR 541
Dr. Moni McIntyre
This course considers moral theory, critical thinking as the basis for ethical reasoning, the relationship between healthcare professionals and patients, abortion and maternal-fetal conflicts, genetic engineering, reproductive technologies and closing, human and animal experimentation, organ transplantation, euthanasia and end of life decisions, HIV and AIDS, and challenges in healthcare policy and reform. The course also looks at how our public policies affect and should affect our struggle for equitable practices in healthcare. Case studies, memoirs, and documentaries supplement the introductory text.

GLOBAL PUBLIC POLICY - PLCR 542
Dr. Clifford Bob
Examines policymaking at the global level, including (1) policy conflicts in international institutions such as the UN and (2) international influences on domestic policymaking.  Focuses on the roles of states and international organizations, as well as the media and nongovernmental organizations.  Topics considered include the International Criminal Court; anti-personnel landmines; gun control; genetically modified foods; and definitions of the family.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT - PLCR 545
Dr. Kent Moors
This seminar explores the impact of domestic and international forces on the economic development of emerging markets. The rise of globalization has been regarded as both an advantage and a curse. This seminar views the globalization debate for three different perspectives: the position and impact of international capital transfers; currency exchange and value considerations; and whether the assumed relationship between open markets and democratization is still a sustainable one.

PSYCOLOGY OF PEACE AND CONFLICT - PLCR 555

The course seeks to understand causes of peace and violent conflict by bringing psychological perspectives into dialogue with political and political-psychological ones.  Students have an opportunity to apply theoretical perspectives to their analyses of a current or recent case of international conflict.

SOCIAL POLICY AND THEORIES OF MULTICULTURALISM - PLCR 560
Dr. Sarah MacMillen
This seminar will focus on recent critical developments in political theory which examine the role of the politics of difference in government and social processes.

RELIGION, POLITICS AND POLICY - PLCR 573
Dr. Moni McIntyre
A study of timely issues in religion, politics, and public policy that reveals both the crucial interrelationship of these areas as well as unique aspects of each.

SPECIAL TOPIC: SOCIAL AND PUBLIC POLICY IN IRELAND - PLCR 597

SPECIAL TOPIC: URBAN INVESTIGATION - PLCR 597
Dr. Douglas Harper, Margaret Patterson
Spring 2013

SPECIAL TOPICS - PLCR 598
Occasional

SPECIAL METHODS TOPICS - PLCR 599
Occasional

INTERNSHIP - PLCR 605
Staff

SELECTED READINGS - PLCR 606
Staff
1-3 Credits
This course presents an opportunity for a student or students to work intensively with a professor on a topic or project of mutual interest. Students and faculty together develop the reading list. Normally, course requirements  include a research paper or other substantial writing assignments. As such courses can only be run in consideration of a given professor's schedule, written permission of the instructor is required for registration.

ENHANCED RESEARCH PAPER - PLCR 699
Faculty Readers
The ERP requires development of a proposal and an oral defense given to the two faculty readers and the Policy Center's  director. The ERP should be approximately 30 pages in length.

THESIS - PLCR 700
Faculty Readers
The thesis entails development of a proposal and a research design, then implementation, analysis, and public presentation.