PA 395 / 92550 / Professor Bryan


Home site: L411 Lafayette at UVM in Burlington

Distance Learning Sites in Bratteboro, Rutland, and Montpelier



Course Description


Subject Matter: This is a course in program evaluation/policy analysis. It seeks to train students in the craft of organizing information for the purpose of evaluating public policy. The target is those public service employees (often in staff positions) who are asked by managers to analyze policy options and/or to review the success or failure of programs already in place. Also, the target audience is those (often in management or “line” positions) for whom it is essential to understand, interpret, and act on the product of the policy evaluation process.


Theme:  Knowledge IS power and this grows truer every year. But power is dangerous. In this course I will deal with how to handle the dangers that confront those who must present information to those who have expectations about its use and those who must report information to those who may not want to hear it.


Skills Development:  Issue framing. Analytical techniques. Reporting strategies. Appreciating ethical dilemmas.


Basic Workload and Grading:  You will be graded in two ways: (1) The presentation of a seminar paper in which you develop a “speaking truth to power” case analysis. (2) Several (depending on class size) short paper/presentations dealing with reading assignments for the week. There are two texts for the seminar.



(1)        Aaron Wildavsky, Speaking Truth to Power (Transaction Publishers), 1966.


(2)        Peter Rossi and Howard Freeman, Evaluation: A Systematic Approach (Sage Publications), 1993.


A Final Word:  Being truthful with information ain’t for sissies.




Class I              Introduction to the Course

                        Lecture:  “Speaking Truth to Power”


Class II            Student Essays (Rossi Chap. 1, 2/Wildavsky Chap. 1-4)

                        Lecture:  “Sick Leaves and the City Manager”


Class III           Students Essays (Rossi Chap. 3, 4/Wildavsky Chap. 5, 6)

                        Lecture:  “The Mayor and Speeding Tickets”


Class IV           Student Essays (Rossi Chap. 5, 6/Wildavsky Chap. 7, 8)

                        Lecture:  “Test Scores for the Police Department”


Class V            Student Essays (Rossi Chap. 7, 8/Wildavsky Chap. 9, 10, 11)

                        Lecture:  “The Mayor’s Assistant measures the Garbage”


Class VI           Student Essay (Rossi Chap. 9, 10/Wildavsky Chap. 16)

                        Lecture:  “How Good is Clinton County Prison?”


Class VII          Lecture:  “Predicting the Homeless: Regression Analysis Ain’t So Tough”

                        (No reading assignment, work on your papers!)


Class VIII        Student Papers 1 and 2


Class IX           Student Papers 3 and 4


Class X            Student Papers 5 and 6


Class XI           Student Papers 7 and 8


Class XII          Student Papers 9, 10, and 11


Class XIII        Student Papers 12, 13, and 14