This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2023-2024 VCU Bulletin. This edition includes all programs
and courses approved by the publication deadline; however we may receive notification of additional program
approvals after the launch. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available
in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.
DPAL 701. Cross Sector Leadership. 3 Hours.
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Restricted to doctoral students. Concepts of leadership have largely emerged from the study of people in positions of authority in business and politics whose characteristics, behaviors and values tend to dominate leadership theory. Less well-developed are concepts of public leadership, though its failures have dire consequences. More recently, scholars have turned to the study of civic leadership, which recognizes the benefits and challenges of civic action in shaping action based on shared goals. The course will explore the benefits and challenges of citizens and institutions (government, nonprofit and business) working together to advance sustainable communities.
DPAL 702. Web Technologies and Digital Governance. 3 Hours.
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Restricted to doctoral students. This course emphasizes the importance of Web 2.0 technologies and digital governance. Students will learn about the nature of Web 2.0 technologies and their impacts on public policy and administration as well as how Web 2.0 applications can support the goals of government organizations.
DPAL 711. Theory and the Public Process. 3 Hours.
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Restricted to doctoral students. Applying a broad theoretical lens, students will critically examine issues surrounding an actual policy or leadership problem within a chosen concentration. Emphasis is placed upon critical analysis, developing a substantive level of knowledge within an existing literature, and developing and supporting an argument grounded in theory.
DPAL 712. Institutions and Organizations. 3 Hours.
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Restricted to doctoral students. Organizational and institutional theories look to the political, organizational and cultural contexts that shape social life. Some theories conceptualize environments in terms of networks and resources, within which social actors are “embedded.” Others stress historically built-up structures (e.g., laws and governmental agencies) that shape and channel subsequent dynamics. More radical theories argue that the core features of modern social actors, themselves, are largely products of social constructs, rather than existing a priori as often assumed. This course explores theories of institutions and organizations to inform our thinking about the roles and behavior of public and nonprofit organizations in shaping democratic organizational life in societies.
DPAL 721. Systematic Inquiry. 3 Hours.
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Restricted to doctoral students. This course is designed to teach students how to design and assess research in the policy setting. The course focuses on problem structuring through logical methods, exploring problems through multiple methods of data collection, analysis and summarization of findings using qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method designs. Through interpretation and critique of various research reports students gain an understanding of the different purposes that research can serve in applied policy settings.
DPAL 722. Methods of Decision-making. 3 Hours.
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Restricted to doctoral students. This course examines qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods approaches to decision-making with an emphasis on situation factors impacting the decision-maker. Students will be able to describe, understand, evaluate, apply and create synergistic methods for making decisions.
DPAL 780. Synthesizing Seminar. 3 Hours.
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Restricted to doctoral students. Policy is frequently a bridge between political aspiration and practice. Focuses on studies, reports, research and public initiatives demonstrating the cycle of “idea” to “implementation.” The Massengill Report (Virginia Tech tragedy), Richmond mayor’s anti-poverty task force and meals tax referenda are examples of case studies that could be reviewed.
DPAL 890. Capstone. 6 Hours.
Semester course; 6 lecture hours. 6 credits. Restricted to doctoral students. Advanced doctoral students will design a capstone project with the advice and under the supervision of selected faculty. The doctoral student is expected to develop a formal proposal designed to respond to a current problem situation relevant to policy and leadership in governance. Once the proposal is approved, the student is to carry out a regimen of research and project development based in professional practice and seeking an innovative solution or model to advance the practice of their chosen concentration.