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Teaching Resources Guide for Public Affairs and Administration: Overview of the 4th Edition

This article was originally published in the Summer 2017 edition of PATimes, A Look at Military Service.

Full article available here: https://spaa.newark.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/files/TRG/Teaching_Resources_Guide_4thEd_2017.pdf

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Marc Holzer and Lois Warner
November 30, 2017 

Effective and motivational teaching is critical to strengthening our human resources capacity in public affairs and administration. It is imperative that course curricula and delivery maintain the highest levels of intellectual and technological rigor so programs attract the best candidates, foster their motivation for public service and equip them with the right attitudes, knowledge and skills.

Increasingly, online resources have provided valuable teaching methods and strategies. Among them: ASPA’s Section on Public Administration Education has an annual conference on teaching public administration and maintains an archive of conference papers (http://www.tteachingpa.org). The Electronic Hallway, hosted by the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Washington, provides a repository of teaching materials (http://hallway.evans.washington.edu), as do the PA Gateway (http://pagateway.newark.rutgers.edu) and Cases and Simulations Portal (http://casesimportal.newark.rutgers.edu) at Rutgers University’s School of Public Affairs and Administration.

The Teaching Resources Guide for Public Affairs and Administration is another key source of traditional and innovative instruction in public affairs, policy and administration. Published biannually and now in its fourth edition, the TR Guide has links to more than 2,500 teaching resources and technologies. It is produced through a collaboration of Rutgers’ School of Public Affairs and Administration and the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), the leading national accreditor of public affairs, public administration and public and nonprofit management. The guide takes inspiration from the Public Administration Teaching Roundtable initiative, an informal group of academics based in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area during the 1970s and 1980s.

Thousands of resources, which many NASPAA member institutions produce, are available to faculty and students in our field. They include cases, curricula, syllabi, textbooks and journals. The TR Guide brings these and other state-of-the-art resources to light, saving users the experience of information overload in an era of virtually boundless web-based material. At the same time, its goal is to filter the resources and provide a comprehensive collection of teaching models and best practices. The fourth edition has new sections for guides, resources and software packages designed to enhance instruction and learning in face-to-face and online settings.

Overview of the 4th Edition

The TR Guide is organized in seven parts: textbooks, publishers and media; data analysis; instructional resources; curricula; teaching journals; classroom management; and learning outcomes and student evaluation.

Part one identifies textbooks, publishers and media as a starting point for exploring and examining the field and its knowledge base.  Included is a selection of recent and widely used textbooks for core courses and electives. Listed are sources for finding textbooks with descriptions of their strengths, plus concentrations of their search engine facility. For example, the Worldcat Library (http:/worldcat.org), a global cooperative of thousands of libraries around the world, lists books, articles, DVDs, CDs websites, magazines and other media. Part one also has a comprehensive list of publishers in public administration and a subsection on multimedia resources like podcasts, photos, movies and videos.

Focused on data analysis, part two provides online analytical tools, informational sites and datasets from a range of academic and professional institutions, with links to qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis tools. These include the American Statistical Association Survey Research and Methodology Section (http://www.amstat.org/sections/srms/index.html) and the Survey Research Library at the University of Chicago (http://www.srl.uic.edu/), a survey research site listing academic and nonprofit survey research organizations.

The third part, detailing instructional resources, has links on lesson planning, teaching techniques and instructor resources, such as The Idea Center, an online repository for ideas about all areas of teaching (http://www.theideacenter.org/research-and-papers/idea-papers). Also provided are guidelines on designing courses, managing diverse student bodies, creating effective discussions and crafting written assignments. Other links have information on testing, grading, teaching and learning assessment. Learning Resources, provided by the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, offers many resources and teaching evaluation tools (http:/canterbury.ac.nz/learningresources).

The curricula section gives information on programs, courses and syllabi offered by schools of public affairs and administration. Guidelines help academic professionals write comprehensive syllabi, including NASPAA’s local government course outlines, and link to a selection of portals at North American universities with top ranking public administration programs.

The teaching journals featured in part five embrace the administrative sciences with links provided for each volume and a list of its contents. These include the Journal of Public Affairs Education,  the Teaching Public Administration Journal and the Journal of Education for Business.

Recognizing the challenge of creating a learning conducive environment, part six focuses on classroom management, including ethical and behavioral aspects related to equal treatment of students, plus managing conflict, disruptive behavior and large classes (http://www.ctl.uga.edu/uploads/main/mainManaging_Large_Classes.pdf) and keeping students engaged.

The final section looks at learning outcomes and student evaluation. Standard five of NASPAA’s accreditation standards is covered here, as are competences for student learning formulated by NASPAA and those by the Middle States Commission for Higher Education. These provide the framework for designing performance indicators matching learning outcome goals for programs and related courses.

The fourth edition or the TR Guide celebrates contemporary developments in teaching and learning methodologies for public affairs and administration. Even more important, it brings them to the attention of the teaching community. The contents, updated with regularly added sessions, broaden the scope for effective and motivational teaching.


Authors: Marc Holzer is distinguished professor at the Institute of Public Service, Suffolk University, Boston. He can be reached at [email protected].

Lois Warner is assistant teaching professor and teaching resources coordinator in the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University-Newark. She can be reached at [email protected].

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The American Society for Public Administration is the largest and most prominent professional association for public administration. It is dedicated to advancing the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration.

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