URBS 615—Professional Seminar

Term: Spring, 2004

Instructor: Tony Filipovitch, 106d Morris Hall, xt.5035, 388-2264 (home)

Office Hours: TR 10; TRF 12; F 4 (other times, too—make an appointment)

NOTE: Supporting material for this course is available from MSU’s UCompass Educator site.



SALAMON, L.M. 2002. The Tools of Government: A Guide to the New Governance. (NY: Oxford University Press)


Course Objectives:

This course has two major objectives:

1)      To prepare you for the next stage in your professional career

2)      To bring to bear all that you have been learning (both about yourself and about urban places) in examining some currently breaking issues.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

1)      Build and maintain a professional resume, all or in part online

2)      Identify, frame, and develop alternative solutions to current local government issues

3)      Present the results of your research in written (“white paper”) and oral (“press conference”) formats


Instructional Methodology and Teaching Strategies:

This is a seminar course. While there will be some lectures and there will be several writing projects, this heart of this course will be your reading and research, and the discussion that you will lead with your classmates. My teaching style is based on an "adult-centered" model which assumes that you are active participants, each responsible for your own learning, and I am a facilitator and resource who helps you advance your project. My goal for myself as a teacher is to "take you someplace you would never before have gone alone."




The class meetings will begin with work on career planning, move on to seminar discussions from the textbook, proceed to presentation of case studies based on the textbook, and come back to career planning (see Calendar, below). I will lead the discussions on career planning (but these sessions will be discussions, not lecture). You will lead the discussions on the text and the case studies. Although leading the discussion on each chapter of the text will be the responsibility of one or another of the students in the class, all students are expected to have read and be prepared to discuss each chapter as assigned. Throughout the course, you are expected to demonstrate the skills and abilities that will be expected in professional practice, including the skill of active listening.


Portfolio: You will develop a professional portfolio, at least part of which must be online. Guidelines for the portfolio are available online. The online portfolio must be completed by March 5, so your classmates may review and comment on it. The final portfolio must be submitted to me by April 30.

Seminar discussion: You must select one of the chapters from the text and prepare to lead the class in discussion of the chapter. This may well involve reading beyond the chapter—looking into key references in the footnotes, developing questions which will draw the class deeper into the material or into other applications than those considered by the author. Your job as discussion leader is not to review the article (your classmates are expected to have read it themselves), but to engage your classmates in a meaningful discussion of the issues raised in the chapter. Your job is to keep the discussion flowing (see “Notes on Leading Discussion”). You must develop an assessment tool that your classmates will complete for you. You will be evaluated on a) your written notes for leading the discussion, b) your written assessment of the discussion (including feedback from your classmates), c) my assessment of your performance as a discussion leader.

Case Study: In addition to leading a discussion, you will also demonstrate your grasp of “The New Government” by developing a case study that illustrates some aspect of the issues as they apply to local government. As this is being written, there is a possibility that the class will develop this project in collaboration with a unit of local government in MN (details will not have been decided until class has begun). Your case study should conform to the guidelines for a teaching case study. Your case study should consider both the personal and professional aspects of the issue you are considering.


Course Expectations:

Attendance & Class Participation:

Students play an important role in educating and challenging each other. This can only happen if there is consistent attendance. I expect you to attend. I may take the class roll. Unexcused absence (prior notification is required—even if I am not available, my voice mail and e-mail always are) can result in loss of points toward one’s grade.


At the first class, we will discuss the schedule of class meetings—We can meet weekly, or we might consider meeting less frequently for longer stretches of time.


There are 100 points for the course, divided as follows:

1) Portfolio 33

2) Seminar Discussion 34

4) Case Study 33


The final grade may be based on a curve, but students can expect at least an A if they achieve 90, a B with 80, etc.

Other Matters:

Extra Credit: In general, I do not encourage extra credit in this class. I would rather that you put the extra effort into your regular assignments. In the event of very unusual circumstances, a maximum of 10 points may be earned by prior arrangement with me.

All assignments are due on the assigned date. While I would prefer not to receive work late, you can get at least partial credit for late work (better late than never, and better something than nothing). I reserve the right not to permit extensions or makeups unless you obtained prior permission or have a very good excuse.

You may use any resource for your coursework, as long as you identify your sources. (Failure to do so is plagiarism and could result in an F for the course). While you may work on an assignment with classmates, you may not turn in identical (or essentially the same) reports unless the project is specifically identified as a “group project.”

Every attempt will be made to accommodate qualified students with disabilities. If you area student with a documented disability, please contact me as early in the semester as possible to discuss the necessary accommodations, and/or contact the Disability Services Office at 507-389-2825 (V) or 1-800-627-3529 (MRS/TTY).

Course Calendar





Career Planning


Reconnaissance—Inventory of KSAs




Preparing a professional portfolio




Searching for (and finding) a match


The New Government


Ch. 2 Direct Government (Tony) Ch. 3 Government Corporations (Tony)




Chs. 4&5 Economic & Social Regulation (Stacey)




Ch. 6 Government Insurance (Miyoshi)




Ch. 7 Public Information (Marty)




Ch. 8 Taxes, Charges, & Permits (Mike)




Chs. 9&10 Contracting (Nick)




Ch. 11 Grants (Kristin)




Ch. 12 Loans & Guarantees (Courtney)



JOBZ case

Ch. 13 Tax Expenditures (Ken)




Ch. 14 Vouchers (Chris)




Ch. 15 Tort Liability (Kristi)




Ch. 16 Management (Judy)




Chs. 17&18 Accountability (Eric)




Ch. 19 Politics of Tool Choice (Ben)


Sharing What You Know


Case Studies


Career Planning (redux)


Tuning your portfolio




The interview (dressing for success, other expectations, damnable questions)



Career Preparation

BOLLES, N. 2003. What Color Is Your Parachute?, 2004. NY: Ten Speed Press.

COHEN, S. 1989. The Effective Public Manager: Achieving Success in Government. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

JONES, WW & A SOLNIT. 1980. What Do I Do Next? Chicago: APA Press.

KEIRSEY, D & M BATES. 1984. Please Understand Me: Character & Temperament Types. DelMar, CA: Prometheus Nemesis Book Co.

PALMER, H & PB BROWN. 1997. The Enneagram Advantage. NY: Three Rivers Press.

SCHON, DA. 1983. The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. NY: Basic Books.


The New Governance

ADLER, M. 1999. Been there, done that: The privatization of street cleaning in nineteenth century New York, The New Labor Forum, 99 (Spring/Summer), 88-99.

BOYHNE, G. 1996. Competition and local government: A public choice perspective, Urban Studies, 33(4-5), 703-721.

BOYNE, G. 1998. Public Choice Theory and Local Government: A Comparative Analysis of the UK and the USA. NY: St. Martin’s Press.

BOYNE, G. 1998. The determinants of variations in local service contracting: Garbage in, garbage out? Urban Affairs Review, 34(1), 150-163.

BRIFFAULT, R. 1999. A government for our time? Business improvement districts and urban governance, Columbia Law Review, 99

Cornell University “Restructuring Local Government” Website http://www.cce.cornell.edu/restructuring/

FREIDMANN, J. 1979. The Good Society. Cambridge: MIT Press.

FRUG, G. 1999. Alternative conceptions of city services, in City Making: Building Communities Without Building Walls, pp. 167-179. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

GRAHAM, C. 1998. Private Markets for Public Goods: Raising the Stakes in Economic Reform. Washington, DC: Brookings.

GREENE, JD. 1996. Cities and privatization: Examining the effect of fiscal stress, location and wealth in medium size cities, Policy Studies Journal, 24(1), 135-144.

HIRSCH, W. 1995. Contracting out by government: A review, Urban Affairs Review, 30(3), 458-472.

KATZ, M. 2001. The Price of Citizenship: Redefining the American Welfare State. NY: Metropolitan Books.

MINNOW, M. 2002. Partners not Rivals: Privatization and the Public Good. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

MORLEY, E. 1999. Local government use of alternative service delivery approaches, pp. 34-44, The Municipal Yearbook. Washington, DC: ICMA.

MOON, MJ & P deLEON. 2001. Municipal reinvention: Managerial values and diffusion among municipalities, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 11(3), 327-351.

MOONEY, C. 2001. Localizing globalization, The American Prospect, 12(12). http://prospect.org/print/V12/12/mooney-c.html

O’CONNELL, B. 1996. A major transfer of government responsibility to voluntary organizations? Proceed with caution, Public Administration Review, 56(3), 222-225.

OSBORNE, D & T GAEBLER. 1992. Reinventing Government. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

SAVAS, ES. 2000. Privatization and Public-Private Partnerships. NY: Chatham House.

SCLAR, E. 2000. You Don’t Always Get What You Pay For: The Economics of Privatization. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

SELLERS, J. 2002. The nation-state and urban governance: Toward multilevel analysis, Urban Affairs Review, 37(5), 611-641.

Smart Growth website http://smartgrowth.org/

Sustainable Communities website http://wsww.sustainable.org/

TIEBOUT, C. 1956. A pure theory of local expenditures, Journal of Political Economy, 64, 416-424.

Urban Institute “New Federalism” website http://newfederalism.urban.org

WARNER, ME. 1999. Social capital construction and the role of the local state, Rural Sociology, 64(3), 373-393.

WARNER, M & A HEFETZ. 2002. The uneven distribvution of market solutions for public goods, Journal of Urban Affairs, 24(4), 445-459.

WEBSTER, CJ. 1998. Public choice, Pigouvian and Coasian planning theory, Urban Studies, 35(1), 53-75.

WEST, J, E. BERMAN & M. MILAKOVICH. 1994. Total quality management in local government, The Municipal Yearbook. Washington, DC: ICMA.



2003 A.J.Filipovitch
Revised 13 January 04