Textbook Pricing is Out of Control

It’s an older story, but here’s one on textbook prices and what we can do about it. The short version is that even your professor thinks the $300 price tag on a textbook is ridiculous and we need better solutions. Some professors are creating custom textbooks or bulk purchasing arrangements. Almost all of UMUC has gone to online learning resources that are freely available. It’s had some downsides, but the upside is there, too. When I taught public finance for the University of Baltimore, I reviewed four or five textbooks and one was head-and-shoulders above the rest. Of course, it

My Review of Monogan’s Political Analysis Using R

The Journal of Statistical Software has published another review I wrote, this time of Monogan’s Political Analysis Using R: No Title No Description The book is a solid choice for a primary or supplementary text in a political or policy methodology class, at the level of advanced undergraduate or first-year graduate student. You can get more information from Springer’s website: Political Analysis Using R | James E. Monogan III | Springer This book provides a narrative of how R can be useful in the analysis of public administration, public policy, and political science data specifically, in…

These People are Not Qualified to Give Opinions

It’s suddenly become a thing to suggest that something or another is disqualifying. It’s coming up a lot in the presidential election. I keep hearing that Clinton is disqualified over the email thing or that Trump is disqualified for whatever reason this week. I could link to hundreds of examples, one for each is enough to describe the breed. And it’s weird. There are precisely three qualifications to be president. From Article II of the Constitution: No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall

Read My Article, “Public Financial Management” in Syllabus

Excellent news, everyone. My paper, “Public Financial Management” has just been published by Syllabus, an open access and peer-reviewed journal that publishes original syllabi, assessment instruments, assignments and activities, and articles related to college teaching. The paper here focused on my public financial management class, PUAD 701 at the University of Baltimore. In that course, we developed an original nonprofit organization to provide a hands-on tool for students to use to learn about the financial management process. While our nonprofit was ultimately not successful, the lessons learned and general approach may help other financial management professors in developing their courses.

It’s on the Syllabus

This morning, Thomas Leeper writes in his blog about the redundancy of the syllabus and how so many young professors are forced to reinvent the wheel every term: That nearly all departments offer a similar set of courses and that each of those courses is nearly identical to its analogue at other institutions, reflects a relatively broad consensus over what “political science” is and what students ought to know after completing a degree in the field. Our individual efforts might suggest some fundamental creativity that breaks us away from that shared understanding of the discipline, but often such efforts lead