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The 10 G-MPA Courses

Global Master of Public Administration student

Fall 2022

Over the last 200 years, human beings in virtually every corner of the globe have become ever more likely to live longer, healthier, wealthier, and more personally satisfying lives. But global progress in improving human well-being has been neither linear nor universal. What are the most important indices of human well-being and how, if at all, can they be well-measured? What accounts for the extraordinary if unfinished and unequal gains in human well-being that have occurred over the last two hundred years? Under what, if any, conditions can diverse non-governmental institutions—families and social networks; neighborhood and community groups; nonprofit or social sector organizations; and for-profit firms—partner with local, regional, or national governmental institutions to maintain or improve human well-being?  Through diverse readings anchored by the path-breaking work on “strategic management in government” by Mark H. Moore, and through carefully crafted case-based exercises, including ones that foreshadow the second semester’s capstone courses, students explore myriad global human well-being challenges and search for potentially promising “creating public value” and “collaborative governance” approaches to each.

Together with government and the nonprofit sector, the business, corporate, or for-profit sector has a profound bearing on human well-being. For socially responsible business leaders, the challenge is to formulate successful organizational strategies that sustain and grow the organization’s profits and market shares, and satisfy its employees, shareholders, and customers, while also benefitting, or at least not adversely affecting, wider communities, whether local, regional, national, or transnational. Especially when facing less scrupulous business competitors, aggressive government regulators, or adversarial nonprofit advocates, civic-minded business leaders grapple with this challenge every day. How can such leaders nonetheless strategically innovate to gain and sustain a competitive advantage at home or abroad? Is there any evidence to suggest that “corporate citizenship” approaches prove more effective across national borders, different legal environments, and diverse cultural contexts? In this course, we explore the complexity and ambiguity of socially responsible strategic innovation by examining real-world cases in which firms either failed or succeeded. Specific topics to be covered include performance measures; industry analysis; resources and capability analysis; business-level strategy; corporate-level strategy; innovation management; and strategies for expanding into foreign markets.

Over the last quarter-century, the nonprofit, independent, or social sector—also often dubbed the “third sector” in juxtaposition to government and business—has become an ever-greater presence in nations all across the globe. In tandem, nonprofit management, and the role of local, regional, national, and transnational social entrepreneurs, has become internationally recognized as a critically vital field of study and practice. Coinciding with the rise of the “third sector,” it has become increasingly clear that leaders in all three sectors must work across three different types of boundaries: interpersonal boundaries, which involve relations with persons who differ from oneself demographically and in other ways; institutional boundaries, which involves working across government, nonprofit, and business organizations; and international boundaries, which involves both individual and institutional engagements that are carried on across national borders. This course focuses mainly on nonprofit management and the latest and best empirical research pertaining to the second stratum of boundary-spanning leadership: the theory, policy, and practice of cross-sector collaboration, what purposes collaboration may serve, and the steps involved in initiating, sustaining, and evolving collaborative enterprises and governance.

This course introduces students to key economic concepts such as scarcity, efficiency, monopolies, and other markets to investigate the notions of economic efficiency in a competitive marketplace. In addition, it examines how such efficiency is affected by distortions relevant to public policy, especially regulations, externalities, and incomplete information. From the macroeconomics side, we cover a variety of timely and timeless topics including the short-run and long-run effects of government debt. Students practice applying these principles to the range of decisions that public sector executives have to make in order to understand the trade-offs inherent in any public policy or program.

Many governments, businesses, and NPO/NGO leaders around the globe are drowning in numerical and statistical data. The challenge they face is not only how to organize, parse, and analyze the data, but also how to utilize it effectively and in real time. This course is uniquely designed to enhance your ability to use data effectively for real-time problem-identification, definition, decision-making, problem-solving, and, most particularly, program evaluation. In this course, students are introduced to key concepts, principles, protocols, and analytical tools and techniques relevant to the theory and practice of three separate but related problem-solving leadership skills: (1) forecasting general social, economic, and civic trends; (2) measuring government performance and results; and (3) evaluating particular social, economic, and civic programs. Students advance and apply these skills in relation to several cases.

Spring 2023

In a world filled with multiple and competing human well-being needs, not all of which can be addressed or acted upon fully or at once, which human well-being goals or purposes ought to matter most, which problems ought to be considered most deserving of attention and action, and which goals, purposes, or problems should be treated as top priorities with respect to their claims on attention, resources, and action? In this course, students explore how, whether, and to what extent “effective leadership” is, ought to be, or can be made synonymous with “moral” or “ethical leadership,” and by which understanding(s) of “morality” and “ethics.” Through classic and contemporary readings and case studies, students explore several different philosophical and religious traditions that might usefully inform the moral reasoning of present or future leaders who seek to promote human well-being by solving local, regional, national, or global problems.

Honors Option: Students in good standing who possess the requisite first semester GPA (A-/3.70 or higher) may, contingent on the instructor’s recommendation and the G-MPA Executive Faculty Advisory Committee’s approval, opt to write a discourse on leadership ethics and submit that paper in consideration for Graduation with High Honors. Students who exercise that option for G-MPA 607 may not exercise it for G-MPA 606.

Building directly on the learnings achieved in G-MPA 602, this course functions as a quasi-independent study course in which each student develops a reading list, researches, and writes a “strategic analysis case study” that identifies and analyzes an instance of “successful innovation” by one or more socially responsible business leaders who have operated transnationally, and highlights any general lessons in leadership derived from the case that other socially responsible “corporate citizens” operating transnationally might either emulate or replicate.

Honors Option: Students in good standing who possess the requisite first semester GPA (A-/3.70 or higher) may, with the instructor’s recommendation and the G-MPA Executive Faculty Advisory Committee’s approval, submit an extended strategic analysis case study (a paper that exceeds the basic requirements for the required course paper) and be considered for Graduation with High Honors. Students who exercise that option for G-MPA 606 may not exercise it for G-MPA 607.

Globally, more than half of all children under age 5 who die of pneumonia, diarrhea, measles, HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria reside in Africa. More generally, by many public health indices, including rates of life-threatening infectious diseases, access to healthcare delivery, life expectancy, and rates of foodborne illnesses, Africa faces huge and still largely unmet public health challenges. Millions of people in Africa die each year from diseases that can be prevented by access to certain medicines and mitigated by participation in particular programs. Focusing mainly on malaria in Africa, and with a special case-based focus on Tanzania, students describe, analyze, and evaluate multiple and competing anti-malaria approaches and programmatic initiatives. 

Capstone Option: Students who opt to utilize this course for their one required capstone research paper will be co-advised and co-evaluated by experts associated with Malaria No More, the world’s leading transnational nonprofit organization dedicated to combatting that disease. Students who opt to write the capstone paper for this course may utilize materials for the purpose that are in English as well as in Swahili.

From the mid-1950s to the early 1980s, by most conventional economic measures including growth in GDP per capita, Latin America was at least slightly ahead of East Asia. Over the last several decades, however, the economic fortunes of Latin America dimmed while those of East Asia brightened. This course surveys multiple and competing theories about economic development with a special case-based focus on Latin America: What explains Latin America’s global economic position?  What factors might account for its most acute national or regional economic downturns and concentrated pockets of poverty? What explains the sometimes wide differences in economic development patterns among and between Latin American nations, and within single Latin American nations over time? And what, if any, reforms, and initiatives have proven efficacious in boosting economic development and improving overall human well-being in one or more Latin American nations? 

Capstone Option: Students who opt to utilize this course for their one required capstone research paper will be co-advised and co-evaluated by experts associated with multiple international organizations that have been engaged in economic development initiatives in Latin America. Students who opt to write the capstone paper for this course may utilize materials for the purpose that are in English as well as in either Portuguese, or Spanish, or both.

Today, for the first time in human history, there are as many adults age 60 and older as there are children age 5 and younger; and, by 2050, the world will be home to about 2 billion persons age 60 and older, and 2 billion persons age 15 and younger. Global aging poses a consequential array of economic, social, and civic challenges that are only just now being confronted by local, national, and transnational leaders in government, business, and the nonprofit sector. In this course, students describe, analyze, and evaluate multiple and competing governance approaches and programmatic initiatives in relation to this major but still emerging global human well-being challenge. After surveying the best research on global aging, this course makes an in-depth exploration of elder care in Asia, with a special case-based focus on socioeconomically disadvantaged sub-populations of elderly citizens in Bangladesh, China, and India.

Capstone Option: Students who opt to utilize this course for their one required capstone research paper will be co-advised and co-evaluated by experts associated with Penn’s School of Nursing Science and Penn’s Joint Project on Eldercare in China. Students who opt to write the capstone paper for this course may utilize materials for the purpose that are in English as well as in Hindi or Mandarin.