Week 2 Assignment 1

 

Rationale for Agency Selected

Assignment Overview

For this and the following assignments, which will become a major part of your portfolio, you will take on the role of a consultant for a government agency. The first role of the consultant is to familiarize yourself with the agency, its departments, and key actors. Select a local, county, state, or federal agency and a department within the agency. Usually, you can find contact information on their websites.

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After selecting an agency and department, you are expected to:

  • Provide a rationale for your selection, and research the agency and department.
  • Interview at least two representatives of the agency’s department for the different sections of the paper.

    If you can obtain more than two different interviews, do so. The more perspectives, the better.
    Interviews can be conducted in person, by phone, or by an electronic method such as email.
    Use the PAD599 Interview Template [DOCX] to prepare for your interviews, and to document your questions and your interviewees’ responses for use in your assignments throughout the course.
    Note: Follow the Guidelines for Interview Assignments at Strayer University provided in the Assignment Preparation in Week 1.

  • Research the literature regarding issues that involve the selected agency and public administration in general. The following websites can be useful for finding news and current events about your selected agency:

    Governing. Select one of the articles under Latest Headlines to get started.
    Government Agencies and Elected Officials at USA.gov. Click A–Z Index of U.S. Government Agencies, click an agency, then click the agency’s website to find articles, news, and other publications.

Assume the role of a consultant who works for a consulting firm that has asked you to research this agency and file a report with the vice president (VP) of accounts and client support.

Assignment Instructions

Write a 2–3 page paper, titled Part I: Background of and Rationale for the [Selected Agency], in which you separate the content into the following sections:

  • Provide background information about the agency and its department, its mission, and its goals and objectives. Title this section Introduction.
  • Describe 3–5 functions of this agency. Title this section Functions of the Agency.
  • Analyze 2–3 current events involving the agency. Title this section Current Events.
  • Explain the rationale for selecting this agency with 2–3 justifiable reasons. Title this section Rationale.
  • Go to Basic Search: Strayer University Online Library to locate and list 4–5 academic sources and government websites you expect to access in your research. Include no more than one non-government website.

Some websites you may want to access are:

  • U.S. Government Publishing Office.
  • The Federal Register.
  • U.S. Government Accountability Office.
  • American Society for Public Administration.
    If you cite information from these sites, make sure you follow APA formatting within the text and on the References page.

Your assignment must follow these formatting requirements:

  • Be typed and double spaced, using Times New Roman font (size 12), with one-inch margins on all sides; citations and references must follow APA format. Check with your professor for any additional instructions.
  • Include a cover page containing the title of the assignment, your name, the professor’s name, the course title, and the date. The sections must have appropriate titles. The cover page and the reference page are not included in the required assignment page length. The assignment must be submitted as a Microsoft Word document.

The specific course learning outcome associated with this assignment is:

  • Conduct an in-depth analysis and evaluation of an agency’s planning, organizational design, decision-making process, and implementation and provide recommendations for improvement.

Timing

PAD599 Interview Guide

Before the Interview

Locate the names and contact information of people to interview. (These may be on the website or you may need to call the general information number.)
Contact the representative(s) and introduce yourself as a Strayer University graduate student completing your Capstone Course.
Inform him/her that through your Capstone Course you are reviewing the agency and serving as an informal student consultant and request a 30- to 45-minute interview.
Inform him/her of the major areas you will be addressing:
· Organization’s structure.
· Cooperation with other government or not-for-profit agencies and legal decisions.
· Human Resources management.
· Budgeting.
State that all information will be for an academic paper only, will not be published in any written or media format, nor used for any type of copyrights.
Request specific dates and times for the interviews. Remember, interviews can be by phone, in person, or by email. (If by email, request a date you can send the questions. Inform person of the date you need the responses.) Also note that one person may be in a position to discuss several of the assignment areas. Be sure to look at all the assignment questions to formulate relevant questions for better responses.
Review the agency and department prior to the interview and gain as much information as possible in the time you have. You do not want to waste any time or go past the time allowed for the interview.
Write or computer-generate the questions you plan to ask. Number your questions so you can reference the question number as you take notes. For example Assignment 1 Question 3 could be labeled as 1.3, and so forth.
Familiarize yourself with your list of questions.
Ask the interviewee for permission to send a suggested list of questions to be covered during the interview several days before the interview takes place. This will save time during the interview. If the interviewee responds to the questions prior to the interview, review the questions and be prepared to discuss any answers for which you need more information, or for which you would like to gain more experience of the subject matter.

During the Interview

Be courteous and respectful, especially of the person’s time. Be prepared and professional in tone and speed of communication.
Ask clear, specific questions.
Follow up any brief, incomplete, or vague comments with questions such as, “Could you give an example?” or “Would you explain that a little more?”
Ask if there are other sources (people, documents, websites) that would be helpful. Thank the person for his / her time. Send a thank-you note by email or regular mail.
Contact any person he or she recommends and follow the same protocol as outlined in this interview guide. Also, inform the recommended person of the person who recommended him or her for your contact.

After the Interview

Type up your notes right away.
Align the representative’s answers with the appropriate questions.
Align the representative’s comments with research you have done in the area(s). Point out in your paper how the representative’s comments were supported by or
differed from the research. Hypothesize reasons discrepancies may exist.

© 2012 Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University Confidential and Proprietary information and may not be copied, further duplicated, or otherwise disclosed in whole or in part, without expressed written permission of Strayer University.

PAD599 – Interview Template

PAD 599 Faculty Version 1124 (1090 1-26-2012) Final

Page 2

Week 4 Assignment: Analysis of the Agency Selected

Student’s Name

Section

Agency

Department

Person(s) Interviewed

Medium (Phone, email, in person, identify if other)

Interviewee’s Position

Date(s) of Interview

Area

Topics for Questions

History

Ask about reasons (goals / objectives) for being established as well as identifying / explaining the major milestones or changes since being established.

Organizational Design

Ask about the design and organizational chart, decision makers, and the process involved in making major policy decisions.

Organizational Design’s Effects

Ask about the effects (positive and negative) of the agency’s organizational design and decision-making process on its employees and primary recipients of services.

Challenges and Successes

Ask about the agency’s challenges, its successes, and the things that need improvement regarding planning, organizational design, decision making, and implementation.

Future Plans

Ask about the agency’s future plans for organizational design, decision making, and implementation that are expected to affect the agency’s operation and its primary recipients.

Recommendations

Ask about any recommendation they might have for improvement in the areas of planning, decision making, organization, and / or implementation.

Insert your questions for this area and each representative’s responses here.

© 2012 Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University Confidential and Proprietary information and may not be copied, further duplicated, or otherwise disclosed in whole or in part, without expressed written permission of Strayer University.
Week 6 Assignment: Evaluation of Agency’s Ethics, Cooperation, Leadership, and Legal Decisions

Student’s Name

Section

Agency

Department

Person(s) Interviewed

Medium (Phone, email, in person, identify if other)

Interviewee’s Position

Date(s) of Interview

Area

Topics for Questions

Political Factors

Ask about ways in which political factors (e.g., political appointments, political competency, and policy making process) specifically and generally impact the agency.

Judicial / Legal Factors

Ask about ways in which judicial factors (e.g., the legislation connection, oversight, administration law, stakeholders, and strategies) have had an impact on the agency.

Leadership

Ask about ways the internal agency leaders and / or political leaders have influenced the agency.

Future Plans

Ask about the agency’s future plans for cooperation, leadership, and legal decisions that are expected to affect the agency’s operation and its primary recipients.

Recommendations

Ask about any recommendation they might have for improvement in the areas of cooperation, leadership, and legal decisions.

Insert your questions for this area and each representative’s responses here.

© 2012 Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University Confidential and Proprietary information and may not be copied, further duplicated, or otherwise disclosed in whole or in part, without expressed written permission of Strayer University.
Week 8 Assignment: Evaluation of the Agency’s Human Resources Management

Student’s Name

Section

Agency

Department

Person(s) Interviewed

Medium (Phone, email, in person, identify if other)

Interviewee’s Position

Date(s) of Interview

Area

Topics for Questions

Human Resources Management

Ask about system, processes, and methods for effective human resource management in the public sector.

Employee Relations / Conditions

Ask about trends regarding 3–4 of the following conditions: (1) unions and collective bargaining; (2) maintaining an effective workforce; (3) federal laws about discrimination; (4) sexual harassment; and (5) political rights.

Future Plans

Ask about the agency’s future plans for human resources management, noting how they are expected to affect the agency’s operation and its primary recipients.

Recommendations

Ask about any recommendation they might have for improvement in the areas of human resource management.

Insert your questions for this area and each representative’s responses here.

© 2012 Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University Confidential and Proprietary information and may not be copied, further duplicated, or otherwise disclosed in whole or in part, without expressed written permission of Strayer University.
Week 10 Assignment: Evaluation of the Agency’s Budgeting and Cumulative Report

Student’s Name

Section

Agency

Department

Person(s) Interviewed

Medium (Phone, email, in person, identify if other)

Interviewee’s Position

Date(s) of Interview

Area

Topics for Questions

Budgeting Overview

Ask about the components of effective budgeting for the selected agency, highlighting the purposes of budgeting, sources of revenue, and challenges resulting from today’s economic downturn.

Political Influences

Ask about the major political influences on and primary accountability areas required of program administrators.

Differences in Planned and Actual

Ask about any differences between the agency’s planned budget for a selected year (within last three years) and its actual budget.

Future Plans

Ask about the agency’s future plans for budgeting that might affect the agency’s operation and its primary recipients.

Recommendations

Ask about any recommendation they might have for improvement in the areas of budgeting, sources for revenue, and efficiencies.

Insert your questions for this area and each representative’s responses here.

© 2012 Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University Confidential and Proprietary information and may not be copied, further duplicated, or otherwise disclosed in whole or in part, without expressed written permission of Strayer University.

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