Courses

Courses in the MPA program are designed to allow part-time students the flexibility to complete the program while working. Courses are offered during week nights, on weekends, and as one week intensives. The program aims to have about thirty students per course with a relatively equal balance between full-time and part-time students.

Please take the time to review the course descriptions, schedules, and outlines to see if the program is right for you.  Josh Morgan is happy to answer any questions you have.

Note: The course outlines will be available about 1 month before the start of a course.  Full-time students will take 9901, 9903, 9911, 9914, 9915 & 9916 in the Fall, 9902, 9904, 9912, 9913 & 9922 in the Winter and 9917, 9923 & the Final Paper in the Summer term.

Fall 2020 Classes - Online

PA 9901 - Advanced Local Government

Objectives:

This course provides an introduction to the structures, functions, and financing of local government in Canada. The focus is on Ontario, but students will also learn about the history of local government in Canada, the United States, and Western Europe. Through surveys of relevant academic literature, student presentations, and class discussions, students will develop views on the appropriate role for local governments in governing Canadian communities.

Main topics:

Systems of local government; historical ideological movements; central-local relations; special purpose bodies; annexation; amalgamation; regional government; fragmentation; council-staff relations; budgeting and finance; property tax.

  • Wednesdays: Sept 9, 2020 - Dec 2, 2020 (No Class Oct 14)
    Times: 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
    Location: Online
  • Term Code: 1208 (Fall 2020)
    Class No: 1037

PA 9903 - Organizational Behaviour in a Local Government Environment

Objectives:

This course introduces students to select aspects of the academic literature on organizational behaviour. Students will learn how the behaviour of people in organizations relates to individual, group, organizational, and societal outcomes. They will apply an organizational lens to help them better understand the challenges and opportunities of local government administration.

Main topics:

Organizational behaviour and local administration; organizational structure; leadership; trust; organizational culture; groups and teamwork; conflict; communication; motivation, stress, and productivity; organizational change; power and privilege; diversity and inequality; human resources management.

  • Thursdays: Sept 10, 2020 - Dec 3, 2020 (No Class Oct 15)
    Times: 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
    Location: Online

PA 9914 - Research Design and Methods

Objectives:

This course is designed to introduce students to the research process. The principles and techniques covered here will be useful both for academic work (including the MPA Research Report) and for applied administrative and policy research. As well, it is designed to help students critically evaluate research encountered in academic work and on the job.

Main topics:

Research methods - the research process, operationalization, survey and questionnaire design, the logic of experimentation, qualitative techniques. Statistics - simple descriptive statistics, estimation and inference, measures of association, analysis of variance, regression and multiple regression.

Dates*: September 11, 12
October 2, 3, 30, 31
November 20, 21
Times*: Fridays: 5pm - 7pm
Saturdays: 10am - 2pm
Location: Online
  • *Please hold these times as possible synchronous learning times
  • Instructors: Zack Taylor
    Email: zack.taylor@uwo.ca
    Office: 4166 SSC
  • Term Code: 1208 (Fall 2020)
    Class No: 1039

PA 9915 - Program Evaluation

Objectives:

The purpose of the course is to familiarize students with the major issues in the fields of program and policy evaluation. Students will develop an understanding of the theoretical frameworks used for evaluative research, validity issues in evaluative research, and the multi-methods, theory-driven approach to evaluation. The course reviews the process through which policies and programs are considered, developed, approved, implemented and evaluated. Evaluation research is of increasing relevance in an era where economy, efficiency and effectiveness are integral to the delivery of public sector services.

Main topics:

Types of evaluation, including formative, process and summative evaluation, economic evaluation, and performance measurement; evaluation design and delivery in a climate of evolving citizen and political expectations; relevant externalities such as professional judgment, ethics and objectivity, public expectations, and political sensitivities.

Dates*: September 18, 19
October 16, 17
November 6, 7, 27, 28
Times*: Fridays: 5pm - 7pm
Saturdays: 10am - 2pm
Location: Online
  • *Please hold these times as possible synchronous learning times
  • Instructors: Bill Irwin
    Email: birwin6@uwo.ca
    Office: 
  • Term Code: 1208 (Fall 2020)
    Class No: 1068

PA 9916 - Theories of Public Administration

Objectives:

This course introduces students to selected elements of the academic literature on theories of public administration in modernity. Students will learn how to use theory-based critical analysis in the study and in the practice of public administration. Source materials for the course and classroom discussions will provide students with the opportunity to learn to analyze current and emerging issues in local government administration through a theoretical lens.

Main topics:

Public administration in the era of modernity; local government and public administration in a global economy; modernity, rationality and bureaucracy; the nature of theory and the role of theory in public administration; Weber and the classic model of bureaucracy; New Public Management; post-modern public administration; theories of elitism, corporatism, democracy and pluralism; Marxist and neo-Marxist theory; public administration in a multi-level governance model.

Dates*: September 25, 26
October 23, 24
November 13, 14
December 4, 5
Times*: Fridays: 5pm - 7pm
Saturdays: 10am - 2pm
Location: Online
  • *Please hold these times as possible synchronous learning times
  • Instructors: Zachary Spicer
    Email: ZSpicer@ipac.ca

  • Term Code: 1208 (Fall 2020)
    Class No: 1040

Winter 2021 Classes - Online

PA 9902 - The Policy Process in Local Government

Objectives:

This course introduces students to selected aspects of the academic literature on the making of public policy. Students will learn how to apply theories and concepts from the public policy literature to Canadian local governments. Using case studies, students will learn how to determine the main factors that cause different kinds of local public policy outcomes in different circumstances.

Main topics:

The external and institutional contexts of municipal policymaking; the stages of the policy cycle, with an emphasis on the "multiple streams" approach to understanding the policy process, including problem definition, agenda-setting, policy diffusion, public engagement, instrument choice, implementation, and evaluation.

  • Wednesdays: January 6, 2021 - March 31, 2021 (excluding February 24)
    Times: 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
    Location: Online
  • Term Code: 1211 (Winter 2021)
    Class No: 

Prerequisite: You must take course PA9901 before taking this course.

PA 9904 - Local Government Management/Administration

Objectives:

Drawing upon theories and research findings in public administration and management, this course examines administrative approaches, issues, and debates arising in local government administration. Students will learn how the complex and unstable environment of public sector organizations produces both challenges and opportunities for public sector managers and will apply insights from the management and public administration literatures to real-world local government settings. 

Main topics:

Differences between public and private administration; management models and approaches; the leadership role of the CAO; council-staff relations; managing in a unionized environment; recruitment, onboarding, succession planning; change management; performance measurement and management; ethics and values; citizen and community engagement; partnerships and contracting out; implementation and service delivery.

  • Thursdays: January 7, 2021 - April 1, 2021 (excluding February 25)
    Times: 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
    Location: Online
  • Term Code: 1201 (Winter 2020)
    Class No: 1244

Prerequisite: You must take course PA9903 before taking this course.

PA 9911 - Municipal Law

Objectives:

This course provides students with a general overview of municipal law. Students will be introduced to the field through a review of legislation and cases related to a selection of municipal law topics. The goal is for students to learn how to apply the law to legal issues that tend to arise for municipal officers, administrators and employees. The course is organized to provide students with opportunities to participate in exercises and examine issues leaving them with a better understanding of how the law works and how to deal with legal issues that may arise for local government administrators.

Main topics:

An introduction to law in Canada, constitutional and statutory framework for municipal corporations, municipal practices and procedures, municipal decisions, land use planning law in Ontario, and special topics in municipal and land use planning law.

Dates: January 8, 9, 29, 30
February 26, 27
March 19, 20
Times: Fridays: 5pm - 7pm
Saturdays: 10am - 2pm
Location: Online
  • *Please hold these times as possible synchronous learning times
  • Instructor: Dave Taylor
    Email: davidtaylor@gmail.com 
    Office: 
  • Term Code: 1211 (Winter 2021)
    Class No:

PA 9912 - Financial Management

Objectives:

This course focuses on the tools and understanding that public managers in local government require to effectively manage public resources in the service of good public policy. Students will develop an understanding of the basic elements of public sector financial management, and learn to appreciate how financial considerations play a role in virtually every local government activity.

Main topics:

The financial planning cycle of local government and its impacts on policymaking; understanding and interpreting financial information (basic accounting principles, financial statements); sound financial management in local government (resource allocation, effective budget management, management control); elements of financial accountability (reporting, internal and external oversight).

Dates: January 15, 16
February 5, 6
March, 5, 6, 26, 27
Times: Fridays: 5pm - 7pm
Saturdays: 10am - 2pm
Location: Online
  • *Please hold these times as possible synchronous learning times
  • Instructor: Nigel Bellchamber
    Email: bellchamber@sympatico.ca
    Office: 
  • Term Code: 1211 (Winter 2021)
    Class No: 

PA 9913 - Economics and Policy Analysis

Objectives:

This course introduces students to microeconomic theories and concepts. Economic theoretical approaches relevant to public administration, and specifically local government, will be examined. Practical exploration of these concepts will allow students to understand, assess, and utilize microeconomic tools in a local government context. Prior knowledge of microeconomic concepts is not necessary or expected.

Main topics:

An introduction to core microeconomic concepts (supply, demand, utility, intangibles, etc); various microeconomic methodologies relevant to local-level governments such as cost-benefit analysis and intangible valuation strategies; practical application of concepts and theories to enhance decision making at the local level.

Dates: January 22, 23
February 12, 13
March 12, 13
April 2, 3
Times: Fridays: 5pm - 7pm
Saturdays: 10am - 2pm
Location: Online
  • *Please hold these times as possible synchronous learning times
  • Instructor: Kate Graham     
    Email: kgraha@uwo.ca 
    Office: 

Summer 2020 Classes

PA 9901 - Advanced Local Government

Objectives:

This course provides an introduction to the structures, functions, and financing of local government in Canada. The focus is on Ontario, but students will also learn about the history of local government in Canada, the United States, and Western Europe. Through surveys of relevant academic literature, student presentations, and class discussions, students will develop views on the appropriate role for local governments in governing Canadian communities.

Main topics:

Systems of local government; historical ideological movements; central-local relations; special purpose bodies; annexation; amalgamation; regional government; fragmentation; council-staff relations; budgeting and finance; property tax.

Dates: May 4 May 5 May 6 May 7 May 8
Times: 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm
Location: 4255 SSC
  • Term Code: 1206 (Summer 2020)
    Class No: TBA

PA 9902 - The Policy Process in Local Government

Objectives:

This course introduces students to selected aspects of the academic literature on the making of public policy. Students will learn how to apply theories and concepts from the public policy literature to Canadian local governments. Using case studies, students will learn how to determine the main factors that cause different kinds of local public policy outcomes in different circumstances.

Main topics:

The stages of the policy-making process; the “multiple streams” approach to the understanding of the policy process; the role of “social forces”, including analytical approaches that apply especially at the local level, such as “community power”, pluralism, non-decision-making, local governments as “growth machines”, regime theory and multilevel governance.

Dates: May 11 May 12 May 13 May 14 May 15
Times: 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm
Location: 4255 SSC
  • Term Code: 1206 (Summer 2020)
    Class No: TBA

PA 9903 - Organizational Behaviour in a Local Government Environment

Objectives:

This course introduces students to select aspects of the academic literature on organizational behaviour. Students will learn how the behaviour of people in organizations relates to individual, group, organizational, and societal outcomes. They will apply an organizational lens to help them better understand the challenges and opportunities of local government administration.

Main topics:

Organizational behaviour and local administration; organizational structure; leadership; trust; organizational culture; groups and teamwork; conflict; communication; motivation, stress, and productivity; organizational change; power and privilege; diversity and inequality; human resources management. .

Dates: May 25 May 26 May 27 May 28 May 29
Times: 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm
Location: 4255 SSC
  • Instructors: Carol-Lynn Chambers
    Email: cl.chambers@sympatico.ca
    Office: 4226A SSC *in the Local Government Library/Lab during class days only
  • Term Code: 1206 (Summer 2020)
    Class No: TBA

PA 9904 - Local Government Management/Administration

Objectives:

Drawing upon theories and research findings in public administration and management, this course examines administrative approaches, issues, and debates arising in local government administration. Students will learn how the complex and unstable environment of public sector organizations produces both challenges and opportunities for public sector managers and will apply insights from the management and public administration literatures to real-world local government settings.

Main topics:

Differences between public and private administration; management models and approaches; the leadership role of the CAO; council-staff relations; managing in a unionized environment; recruitment, onboarding, succession planning; change management; performance measurement and management; ethics and values; citizen and community engagement; partnerships and contracting out; implementation and service delivery.

Dates: Jun 8 Jun 9 Jun 10 Jun 11 Jun 12
Times: 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm
Location: 4255 SSC
  • Term Code: 1206 (Summer 2020)
    Class No: TBA

Prerequisite: You must take course PA9903 before taking this course.

PA 9917: Issues in Local Government

Objectives:

This is the capstone course in the MPA program. The objectives are two-fold. First, the course provides a venue for students to review and apply what they have learned in other courses, by discussing a selection of topics related to local government. Second, the course allows students to get constructive critical feedback on their MPA research projects in progress.

Main topics:

In this course, students discuss and debate a selection issues in local government topics. Issues covered differ from year to year, depending in part on the research interests of current students. Issues are introduced by the instructor, by guest presenters, and by students. The course also features a review and discussion of research methods as they relate to the students’ MPA research projects.

Dates: Jun 15 Jun 16 Jun 17 Jun 18 Jun 19
Times: 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm 9am - 4pm
Location: 4255 SSC
  • Term Code: 1206 (Summer 2020)
    Class No: TBA

PA 9923: Strategic Planning and Management

Objectives:

The purpose of this course is to explore the theoretical ideas and practical challenges involved in planning and managing strategically in local government. Its aim is to investigate organization performance and the role of ‘strategy’ in creating public value. Strategic management concepts and planning techniques and processes will be viewed from an organizational, political and community context. The course will challenge the MPA student to think critically about ‘strategy formation’ in public sector management.

Main topics:

Strategic planning and management in local government; the strategic management framework & process; linking strategy to performance; tools and techniques of strategic planning and management.

Dates: May 4 May 5 May 6 May 7 May 8
Times: 9:30am - 4:30pm 9:30am - 4:30pm 9:30am - 4:30pm 9:30am - 4:30pm 9:30am - 4:30pm
Location: TBA
  • Instructors: Kane Faucher
    Email: kfauche@uwo.ca
    Office: Consulation by appointment
  • Term Code: 1206 (Summer 2020)
    Class No: TBA

Note: Full-day courses will have a break for lunch, please consult the course outlines for details.



Accessibility

Please contact poliscie@uwo.ca if you require any information in plain text format, or if any other accommodation can make the course material and/or physical space accessible to you.