Indiana University Northwest

SPEA V540 Syllabus







COURSE TITLE: Law and Public Affairs

CLASS TIME: On-line format

OFFICE HOURS: The instructor is available via e-mail at ( Students are encouraged to discuss class issues, career issues or other matters.  I am also available Mon. and Wed. 2-5 p.m. in the MP Dunes Bldg., Room 2111.

REQUIRED TEXT: Administrative Law by David H. Rosenbloom

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will examine the role of state and federal administrative agencies in our society.  Specifically, we will focus on the advantages and disadvantages of using this approach in our society; we will also develop a framework of general administrative principles and policies.

COURSE FORMAT: This course will meet primarily on-line, although we will meet in person for our first class.  All of your assignments will be listed in the syllabus and we will communicate primarily on-line.  You should set aside the time you normally devote to your classes.  Graduate students should be aware that on-line courses typically demand MORE, not less, time from students.

GRADING: Students will be graded based on participation in on-line discussions, including presentation of summaries/explanations of the cases (30 percent).  Cases are assigned on the last page of this syllabus.  Students should read each chapter; we will spend two classes on each chapter.  During the first day of the assigned chapter, students should read the chapter, read the on-line lecture/summary (under Assignments on OnCourse) and then respond to the relevant questions in the forum (under Forum on OnCourse).  During the second class of the assigned chapter, students should read their classmates’ summaries of the cases and respond to their questions (under Forum on OnCourse).  Students are expected to respond to EACH case at least twice.

Students are expected to summarize the assigned case or cases for their classmates, including questions for discussion.  The instructor is available for clarification of these cases, if necessary.  Case summaries should include: 1) the facts of the case; 2) the court decision and why it is relevant for public administrators; 3) its impact on public administration; 4) several questions for discussion by your classmates; and 5)participation in the forum/leading discussion and explaining (with my help) the important issues.  Students should monitor the forum for the questions they generate especially closely.  Students will be evaluated on these criteria.  It is very important that you cite sources used in your summary in the text of your summary (not merely at the end) so your classmates can refer to these additional sources if they wish.  Students who fail to cite sources in their case summary or on either exam will receive a grade of F for plagiarism for the course.


Student case summaries will be evaluated this way:

A (All of the required parts of the assignment were addressed, the information was organized in a logical and understandable format, the student used appropriate grammar, punctuation and spelling, all sources were cited in the body of the case).

B (Most of the required parts of the assignment were addressed, organization of information was provided in an understandable format, the student had few errors in writing structure, grammar, punctuation and spelling and most sources were cited in the body of the case).

C (Although the student addressed some of the required parts of the assignment, s/’he did not respond to other parts, organization of the information was somewhat confusing, few sources were cited in the body of the paper and/or there were some significant issues with writing skills).

D (The student did not address a significant amount of the information required in the assignment and organization of the information provided was confusing leading to problems in understanding the response).

F (The student completely failed to follow the requirements of the assignment).

(From Peat & Moriarty, Assessing Criminal Justice/Crimininology Education, 2009, p. 255).

Students will receive a grade of pass or fail for participation (if you are not assigned a case for that week).  Students will be expected to make meaningful contributions to the discussion and link the case under discussion to issues in the news or to previous cases/discussions to receive a grade of pass.  Students whose contribution is merely to agree with previous posts are unlikely to receive a grade of pass for that class.  Students are expected to participate in a meaningful way at the beginning of the week (early in the discussion) and at least once more later in the week before the forum closes.  Students who respond shortly before the forum closes are not making meaningful contributions as others cannot respond to them.  Please space your responses and check the forum frequently (daily is suggested).

A mid-term exam and final exam are worth 35 percent of the total grade each.  The exam will be open-book and students may use any source (the textbook, the forums, the student summaries of cases and other text or on-line sources) as long as they are cited in the exam.  Students will receive the highest grade on their written exam if the response is 1) relevant to the question(s) posed by the instructor, 2) shows a clear understanding of the legal and policy issues being explored, 3) clearly links the student response to the relevant discussion in the forum and the appropriate textbook information, and 4) is written in a clear manner with no grammar or other errors and is well-organized.  Each question (there will be 11 essay questions and students will be expected to answer at least 10) should be about 1-1 ½ pages.  You will have several days to work on each exam.  Please note that students are expected to take the exams and their case summary presentations as scheduled.  Students who are late posting their case will be penalized.  Giving an alternative examination is ENTIRELY at the discretion of the instructor; students who miss the exam and take the alternative exam will be penalized a minimum of ten percent.

Student essays will be graded on both exams using this assessment tool:

A (The student included the majority of the information needed, demonstrated an understanding of the material, linked concepts, applied critical thinking skills and cited all sources appropriately).

B (The student included most of the information and demonstrated some understanding of the material, linked some of the concepts and applied some critical thinking skills and cited most sources appropriately).

C (The student included most of the information needed, showed some indications of understanding the material, did not link concepts, did not demonstrate critical thinking and did not cite sources often).

D (The student included some of the information needed but failed to demonstrate a clear understanding of the material, did not link concepts, did not exhibit critical thinking skills and did not cite sources).

F (The student attempted to respond but missed the majority of the information needed).

(From Peat & Moriarty, Assessing Criminal Justice/Criminology Education, 2009, p. 255).

The instructor reserves the option to give an examination or assignment if it appears that students are not prepared for discussion on-line.  The instructor also reserves the right to allow students to complete extra-credit assignments if one or more student is concerned about his/her final grade.  Contact the instructor if you are interested.


  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the American legal system and alternative legal systems;

Learning outcome: Compare and contrast the U.S. systems with the legal approaches taken by other countries and be able to argue the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. approach.

(This goal will be achieved in class via the discussions in the Forum section on OnCourse; we will examine both legal cases and discuss policy issues which explore the operation of the American legal systems and consider whether other approaches might be more or less useful. Students will be considered competent in this area if they meet the five criteria for their assigned case and for their posted comments noted in the grading section above).

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of how the legal system affects public policy within our constitutional framework as well as the legal constraints affecting the public and nonprofit sectors;

Learning outcome: Utilize both legal and public policy arguments in presenting a case for class discussion to explore the reasoning behind administrative law decisions.

(This goal will be achieved in class via the policy discussions in the Forum section on OnCourse and via the two on-line exams which will consider these issues in depth.  Students will be considered competent in this area by successfully completing the two on-line exams using the criteria noted in the grading section above and for posted comments that reference these issues).

  1. Understand the role values play in decision making and develop a commitment to ethical practices and professional excellence.

Learning outcome: Debate with your classmates the advantages and disadvantages of adopting a particular administrative law; be prepared to defend your point of view with public policy arguments.

(This goal will be achieved in class via the discussions in the Forum section on OnCourse as students consider how best to achieve professional excellence in the public administration setting.  Students will be considered competent in this area by posting insightful comments concerning ethical behavior in response to Forum discussions.  Students are encouraged to raise these issues in this setting with their classmates).

ETHICAL BEHAVIOR: It is expected that you will follow the Code of Student Ethics, Indiana University, which notes that “academic integrity requires that students take credit only for ideas and efforts that are their own…A student must not intentionally use or attempt to use unauthorized materials, information or study aids in any academic exercise…A student must not intentionally falsify or invent any information or citation in an academic exercise…A student must not steal, change, destroy, or impede another student’s work…A student must not intentionally or knowingly help or attempt to help another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.”

Please note that any student found guilty of plagiarism will receive a grade of F for the course (not merely for the assignment).

Right to Accommodation for Individuals with Disabilities

Indiana University is committed to creating a learning environment and academic community that promotes educational opportunities for all individuals, including those with disabilities. Course directors are asked to make reasonable accommodations, upon request by the student or the university, for such disabilities. It is the responsibility of students with documented physical or learning disabilities seeking accommodation to notify their course directors and the relevant campus office that deals with such cases in a timely manner concerning the need for such accommodation. Indiana University will make reasonable accommodations for access to programs, services, and facilities as outlined by applicable state and federal laws.

Campus support office:
Jason Griffith, Disabilities Coordinator, Hawthorn 234, 219-980-6943
Student Support Services



             Introduction to course

             Chap. 1; discussion questions posted on-line

                              Cases for discussion: Hampton v. U.S. (Frank.),

                              hechter Poultry Corp. v. U.S. (Ashlee), Federal Trade

                              Commission v. Ruberoid (Jayme) and Industrial Union

                              Department AFL-CIO v. American Petroleum Institute


             Chap. 2; discussion questions posted on-line                                

                              Cases for discussion: Morrison v. Olson (Melissa),

                              Humprey’s Executor v. U.S. (Sheila), Goss v. Lopez

                              (Jimmy), Mathews v. Eldridge (Justin), U.S. v. Lopez

                              (LaToya), Kelley v. Johnson (John) and Marshall v.

                              Marlow’s, Inc. (Mary)

             Chap. 3; discussion questions posted on-line

                              Cases for discussion: Bi-metallic Investment Co. v. State

                              Board of Equalization of Colorado (Erica), U.S. v.

                              Florida East Railroad Co. (Sonia) and Motor Vehicles

                              Manufacturers Association of the U.S., Inc. v. State

                              Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. (Fred)

                              On-line mid-term exam (due no later than midnight

                              submitted electronically only)                   

             Chap. 4; discussion questions posted on-line

                             Cases for discussion: Heckler v. Campbell (Cory),

                             Goldberg v. Kelly (VeEtta), Wyman v. James (Jessie), U.S.

                             v. International Boxing Club of New York, Inc. (Bernard),

                             Steadman v. Securities and Exchange Commission (Catherine R.)

                             and New York v. Burger (Kettline)                               

             Chap. 5: discussion questions posted on-line

                            Spring Break

                            Cases for discussion: Bureau of National Affairs v. Dept. of Justice

                            (Cynthia),Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc.

                            v. Hillary Rodham Clinton (Tamera), Department of the Air Force v.

                            Rose (Timothy) and O’Hare Truck Service, Inc. v. Village of 

                            Northlake (Catherine S.)                                     

             Chap. 6: discussion questions posted on-line        

                            Cases for discussion: Abbot Laboratories v. Gardner (Nazir), Marbury

                            v. Madison (Anita), Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife (Kristle), Allen v.

                            Wright (Thaddis), Steel Company v. Citizens for a Better Government

                            (Nickholas), Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council (Sean), 

                            Heckler v. Chaney (LaKeysha), Craig v. Boren (Linda) and Citizens

                            to Preserve Overton Park v. Volpe (Jessica)

             Chap. 7; discussion questions posted on-line (NOTE: shorter than usual time to post)

                            On-line final exam (due no later than midnight )