My approach to teaching is the result of my own diverse experiences in front of a classroom,
but is also heavily influenced by the outstanding teaching and mentoring moments
I have been fortunate to receive as a student.
MANAGEMENT OF ORGANIZATIONS (PA 5011)
Organizations pervade human life. They are sites of power, innovation, and social change. They can also be places that discourage initiative and reinforce inequalities found in society. Effective organizational management and leadership are critical to achieving broadly beneficial social, economic, and public value. The task is difficult because of the complexity of human behavior in organizations, constrained resources, competing demands of many stakeholders outside of the organization, and pervasive changes in the world we live in. Most of you will work in some kind of organization when you graduate and many, if not most, of you will be managers and leaders during your careers. This course will help prepare you to be an organizational leader in this realm, focusing on empowering you with the courage to act under uncertainty in order to strengthen the effectiveness of your organization. Furthermore, it aims to provide both “the forest” and “the trees”, and give you practice in thinking back and forth between the different levels so that when you approach a problem at one of these levels, you have an awareness of the complexity of the situation at the alternative level.
To create that foundation, we focus on different ways to analyze organizations and develop sound recommendations for change. The course introduces students to some of the major theoretical approaches to organizational analysis, including concepts from sociology, psychology, management, public administration, and political science. Learning to use multiple perspectives is critical because each contributes an alternative understanding of how to develop and sustain effective organizations. By gaining insight across different theoretical perspectives, students will develop deeper knowledge of how theories provide distinctive windows into understanding behavior in complex social settings. The course is applicable to a wide range of organizational settings, but pays particular attention to studies of nonprofit and governmental settings.
By the completion of this course, I expect that students will be able to:
Think critically about organizations, especially regarding ways in which they reflect and create power and privilege, the manner in which individuals’ needs and desires interact with, support, or challenge the needs of the organization, and how all of this is influenced by forces outside the boundary of organizations;
Given this complex understanding, be able to develop actionable recommendations to improve the effectiveness of organizations working for the public good in the context of multiple (and often contested) public purposes and conflicting stakeholder demands; and
Demonstrate management skills including memo writing, professional oral presentations, and team development and management.
ORGANIZATIONAL AND INSTITUTIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT (PA 5151/PA 8151)
International aid work increasingly takes place within organizational contexts. Most students will work in some kind of organization after graduation and many, if not most, of you will be managers and/or leaders during your careers. International aid organizations are sites of power, innovation, and social change, but can also be places that discourage innovation and reinforce inequalities. Effective organizational management and leadership are critical to achieving broadly beneficial social, economic, and public value. How can we make international aid organizations more responsive to the needs of both the staff that work for them and the beneficiaries they are attempting to serve, while maintaining the support of their funders and working within the existing regulatory apparatus? This course will examine the successes and challenges faced in these tremendously complex environments, focusing on empowering you with the courage to act under conditions of uncertainty in order to strengthen the work of your organization.
Taking an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective, this course examines the efforts of multiple organizations within the international aid “industry”, with particular focus on private actors – including NGOs, corporations, and foundations – and less emphasis on governmental action. We cover some of the major theoretical approaches to organizational analysis, including concepts from sociology, political science, psychology, public administration, and management. Learning to use multiple perspectives is critical. By gaining insight across different theoretical perspectives, students will develop an understanding of how theories provide distinctive windows into understanding behavior in complex social settings. Throughout, you will come to see that organizations provide opportunities and constraints as well as power and privilege within particular contexts.
 International aid transcends national boundaries and encompasses various policy fields related to multiple facets of global development, including poverty alleviation and economic development, environmental protection, education, healthcare, and a wide variety of “rights-based” approaches that include both more specific legal and political rights as well as more broadly defined economic, social, and cultural rights that overlap with development concerns. In addition, as they intersect with global development concerns, we will also study organizations efforts in emergency response, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.
 This is not because governmental or state action in this realm is unimportant (far from it), but rather because other courses at the Humphrey School cover these topics in more depth. We will analyze how interorganizational relationships include state actors and how government influences private actors in this space. I encourage students to focus on the conceptual lens of organizations, institutions, and management that we use in this course and that you may utilize to analyze state institutions, as well as the multitude of diverse organizations we don’t study in significant depth, such as religious organizations, smaller non-western NGOs, and for-profit aid contractors.
PA 8106: Doctoral research Seminar on Management
This course surveys major frameworks, topics, and questions in the study of public and nonprofit management, leadership, and governance; helps students apply this knowledge to their own work; and helps students learn how best to relay this knowledge to scholarly and practitioner audiences. By the completion of this course, we expect that you will:
● Be conversant in key frameworks, topics, and questions in the study of public and nonprofit management, leadership and governance. Have a significant depth of understanding on the concepts of closest relevance to your own proposed research areas, and have sufficient familiarity with the field to recognize and be able to pursue other key issues.
● Be able to contextualize your own interests and research within the field of public and nonprofit management, leadership, and governance. Learn to operate successfully in a scholarly community deeply involved with questions of practical significance. To accomplish this objective, between Weeks 2 and 12 you will prepare weekly two-page reaction papers on relevant literature that also situate your research interests in that literature. For two other weeks you will prepare five- to seven-page reaction papers. In other words, over the course of the semester you will prepare nine reaction papers, seven two-pagers and two five-to-seven pagers.
● Engage effectively with academic literature, including being able to read key texts critically, identify and work with key concepts in the literature, perform an effective literature search, and skim productively. To accomplish these objectives, you will actively participate in class discussions.
● Be competent, constructive discussants of papers written by authorities in the field and your own peers. You will practice this through active participation in class dialogues and by providing feedback on others’ work.
● Be transitioning successfully into being a member of this academic community. This objective will be accomplished through building connections with your peers, Humphrey School faculty, and other scholars through class discussions, and engagement with faculty and visiting scholars.
● Prepare and teach a module on a topic relevant to the course for a professional, masters-level student audience.