Focus Area Friday: State & Local Government Management

A focus area allows students to develop additional expertise in a specific area. The Master of Public Administration (MPAprogram requires nine credits (three courses) and the Master of Public Policy (MPPrequires twelve credits (four courses) to complete a focus area. Students can choose a focus area within the Department, develop their own with the help of their advisor, or choose to remain a generalist. 

Department of Public Policy (DPP) alums serve in various capacities in towns, cities and state agencies across the country. In our class of 2020, more than 20% of our graduates currently work for a state agency. In the last three years DPP alums have been placed in five of Connecticut’s eight geographic counties. From New York City, New York, to Fort Worth, Texas, and from Portland, Oregon, to South Fulton, Georgia, DPP alums are serving local and regional communities across the country. The State and Local Government Management focus area was launched in the spring of 2020.

The front of the Hartford Times Buildings with UConn flags in front of it
UConn Hartford campus on September 5, 2017. (Bri Diaz/UConn Photo)

Coursework in this focus area includes:

    • PP 5363 Administrative Functions of Local Government (required): In this course students will examine the characteristic functions of local government management, such as finance & administration, human services, parks & recreation, planning & zoning, public safety, and public works. The focus will be on understanding of the structure and role of local governments, learning about issues critical to the operation and effectiveness of local governments in Connecticut and elsewhere, and gaining an appreciation for current trends in public management thought and practice.
    • PP 5317 Capital Finance and Budgeting: This course is designed to familiarize students with the municipal bond market and to expose them to key public policy and management issues. Specifically, the course will focus on how the proceeds from municipal bonds are used, the types of securities and issuers, who the players are in the bond market, how prices are determined (including the municipal bond credit rating process), disclosure, and ethical issues in the industry. The course focuses on long term tax exempt public debt; however, there will be some discussion of short term debt.
    • PP 5349 Public Procurement and Contracting: The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the principles of contract formulation and administration in public procurement.  The growing significance of contracting out and outsourcing in the public sector requires the availability of procurement specialists that are educated and comfortable with best practices in procurement activities from the identification of the need through the close out of contact activities.  Students will learn about best practices for effective contracting relationships between the public and private and nonprofit sectors
    • PP 5368 Performance Management and Accountability: This course will focus on the practical aspects of performance management and accountability including: measurement development, operationalization, data collection and compilation, various aspects of reporting, basic performance diagnostic and problem-solving techniques, linking performance, budgeting and planning, cost measurement and performance management, performance based contracting and performance monitoring, how performance measurement supports program evaluation, and performance measurement and data democracy.
    • PP 5350 Urban and Regional Policy: The course will explore the theories and empirical analyses used to explain how spatial economies function and generate public policy challenges. Students will develop an understanding of urban economies relevant to a range of substantive policy issues and skills in employing analytical frameworks and empirical techniques to investigate a set of policy issues faced by state and local governments. Various dimensions of contemporary economic change, including globalization, technology, information and telecommunications, poverty, income distribution, and race/ethnicity inequalities, as well as their effects on cities and regions, will be examined. Students should have had exposure to graduate course work in microeconomics and regression analysis prior to enrolling in this course.