Syllabus for MPL-580



Public Service Leadership and Governance examines the multiple roles a public service leader has working within and outside an organization. The course scrutinizes legal, philosophical, and pragmatic leadership drivers and provides an evaluation of leadership theory and application. Governance is emphasized through an assessment of the impact of legislative, judicial, and regulatory bodies and the manner in which they interact with public and private organizations.  


  1. Foundations of public leaders
  2. Leadership and governance theories
  3. Applying theories of leadership and governance to real-world situations
  4. Developing and evaluating leadership
  5. Institutions shaping public sector leaders
  6. Implications for the practice of public governance


After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Critically analyze and discuss the concepts and practice of leadership.

  1. Evaluate the theoretical literature on leadership and governance in the public sector.

  1. Demonstrate how sectors and institutions shape ideas of leadership and the development of leaders.

  1. Communicate frameworks for assessing leadership and governance styles, successes, and challenges.

  1. Illustrate diverse real-world leadership issues and contexts, with an emphasis on governance and leadership situations, through case studies and assignments integrated to apply leadership and management frameworks and models.


You will need the following textbooks to do the work of the course. The required textbooks are available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

  1. Kettl, D. F. (2012). The politics of the administrative process (5th ed.). Washington, DC: CQ Press.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60871-688-3

  1. Van Wart, M. (2011). Dynamics of leadership in public service: Theory and practice (2nd ed.). Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.

ISBN-13: 978-0-7656-2365-2


Public Service Leadership and Governance is a three-credit online course, consisting of eight (8) modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.

  1. Module 1: Introduction and Foundations of Public Leaders

Course objectives covered in this module: 1 and 3

  1. Module 2: Organizational Structure and Leadership Theory

Course objectives covered in this module: 4 and 5

  1. Module 3: Survey of Leadership Theories

Course objectives covered in this module: 2 and 4

  1. Module 4: Administrative Reform; Application of Theory

Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 3, and 4

  1. Module 5: Organizational Problems; Leader Behavior

Course objectives covered in this module: 1 and 5

  1. Module 6: Decision Making; Leadership Development and Evaluation

Course objectives covered in this module: 2, 4, and 5

  1. Module 7: The Executive Branch, Civil Service Systems, and Human Capital

Course objectives covered in this module: 3 and 5

  1. Module 8: Budgeting, Implementation, and Regulatory Oversight

Course objectives covered in this module: 3 and 5


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in eleven online discussion forums (including an ungraded but required introductions forum in Module 1) and to complete four graduate-level papers (3–5 pages each). See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

Each module in the course has one or more online class discussion forums. All forums take place asynchronously. Post your robust reflections on the assigned readings for each module and interact with your peers through discussion and dialogue to build a hospitable online learning community.

Online discussions provide an opportunity for you to interact with your classmates. During this aspect of the course, you respond to prompts that assist you in developing your ideas, you share those ideas with your classmates, and you comment on their posts. Forum interactions promote development of a community of learners, critical thinking, and exploratory learning.

Please participate in online forums as you would in constructive face-to-face discussions. You are expected to post well-reasoned and thoughtful reflections for each item, making reference, as appropriate, to your readings. You are also expected to reply to your classmates' posts in a respectful, professional, and courteous manner. You may, of course, post questions asking for clarification or further elucidation on a topic.


Public Service Leadership and Governance requires you to complete four papers at regular intervals during the semester (in Modules 2, 4, 6, and 8). All papers should be between 3 and 5 pages, typed double-spaced. Please see the individual modules for further details about each paper, including evaluation rubrics that will aid in the grading of each paper.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Discussion forums (10)—40 percent
  2. Papers (4)—60 percent

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:
























Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.

  1. Take the time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.

  1. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting assignments before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting assignments and posting discussions.

  1. Check Announcements regularly for new course information.


Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized assignment, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.


Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism.  (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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