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Monday, May 07, 2007

Organizing for the summer....

Classes are now completed for this semester and it is now a time devoted to the drudgery of grading -- and the present regret about past decisions about how to evaluate students. Who made those stupid assignments? Even after 30 plus years of doing this, each semester is a matter of live and learn....

At the same time I am also working on developing three variations of a course I will teach this summer and fall (or spring) on organizations and public/nonprofit management. The first variation is PAF 9120 -- a five week grad course at Baruch/CUNY's School of Public Affairs that I opted into on the basis that it would be great to spend some time back in Manhattan during the summer -- I once chaired the Public Administration program at Baruch and I am still a native New Yorker (in fact as well as by inclination) despite ranging far and wide over the years. A second version will be a more intensive one week version of the course scheduled for Washington DC in mid July for the University of Oklahoma MPA program offered for the DoD. The third version will be a full semester course I will prep for either the fall or spring semester during the next academic year.

Despite the common topic, the different formats of the two summer offerings led me to take entirely distinct approaches to the subject, and as it turns out they really have only one book in common: Bolman and Deal's Reframing Organizations. For pedagogic purposes, Bolman and Deal is perhaps the best center piece for an introductory org theory course in a professional MPA program -- its use of examples from public as well as private sectors helps a great deal. This will be my first use of the 3rd edition which came out in 2003 (I have not taught this course since the late 1990s). In each case I have constructed a course around its "frames" approach in different ways and it will be interesting to see how these variations work out and how each factors into the semester long course at the University of New Hampshire.

Of the four "frames" used by Bolman and Deal, the human resource frame (the "people" factor) has been the most challenging for me since I find the literature associated with it either pretty stale or superficial. But my recent reading of the Sennett trilogy (see next post) has given me some additional ideas about how to enliven the way I approach that topic. Recent works on the emergence of new forms of "disorder" (here and here) will make it more interesting to talk about the structural and cultural frames, and the political frame is going to be filled with lots of new examples.

It all looks like fun, especially since both teaching assignments leave my days free to wander about and enjoy NYC and DC for short periods. Being able to look ahead helps get me through the immediate grading tasks as well as the various events associated with the end of the academic year....

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