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Center for New Directions in Politics and Public Policy

General Curriculum Information


Courses are offered at the University Center at Chaparral in Douglas County (25 miles south of Denver) or on the Fort Lewis College campus in Durango. Students must complete a total of 30 graduate credit hours to complete the MA degree. All classes are offered in a weekend format which consists of two or three weekend sessions for a given course, spread out over a two month period. In most cases, a student will complete all of the weekend sessions of one course before starting the weekend sessions for the next course.

Descriptions of Some Electives

Public Priorities for the 21st Century - This course examines the leadership and organizational management requirements necessary to address the changing and competing public priorities for the 21st century.

Ethical Responsibilities of Leaders - This course is designed to help professionals working in the public and nonprofit sectors to examine their legal and ethical responsibilities as related to the public interest, the organizational interest, and the individual's own self-interest.

Organizational Change Agents - This course focuses on how best to utilize those individuals who are actively seeking new ideas and better solutions to the increasing challenges within the environment of their work place, their professional organization, and their community.

Conflict Resolution and Public Consent Building - This course focuses on the various forms of mediating and/or resolving conflict situations between individuals, groups, organizations, and across cultural differences within a community. It also addresses the process of developing a strategic plan in order to gain public consent for potentially controversial issues or conflicts in the public sector.

The Politics of the Budgetary Process - Budgets determine the real policy priorities of governments and organizations. This course examines the politics of making and administering budgets.

Environmental Politics and Policy - This course focuses on the relationship between economic factors, social behavior, and political response in formulating environmental policies.

NOTE: Previously earned graduate credit may be submitted for approval to satisfy up to nine hours of the supportive elective requirement. The elective courses offered may change from time to time based on needs, interests, and other factors.

Core Course Descriptions

Politics, Public Policy, & Leadership - This course explores the role of politics in the public and nonprofit sectors. Theories of administration and policy making are studied, emphasizing the role of leadership in public outcomes. A hands-on approach to case studies and use of students' policy experiences in practical application of theories is employed.

American Political Thought - This course involves intensive research in and presentation of selected topics intended to introduce the mature student to the broad context in which political ideas arise. Issues in classical and modern thought are raised.

Comparative Political Economy/Comparative Public Policy - Students will take one of these comparative courses, which seek to contrast economic structures or public policy making within the United States and with other industrialized nations.

American Politics - This course challenges students to critically evaluate contending theories in American politics. It includes a review of major literature in the field.

Research Methods in Political Science - This course involves analysis and evaluation of research methods, techniques, and empirical materials in political science application, including those needed for Internet aided research.

Common Course Outcomes

In addition to clearly stated subject outcomes, all courses will have a common set of outcomes related to the following areas which are considered critical in developing leadership capacities necessary to address the changing public priorities for the 21st century:

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Changing Public Priorities
  • Political and Social Diversity
  • Ethical and Legal Accountability
  • Deductive and Inductive Reasoning
  • Applied Use of Appropriate Technology
  • Strategic Planning and Decision-Making
  • Resolution of Conflicts and Public Consent Building
  • Individual Organizational, and Cultural Communication Effectiveness