Students will complete an applied project related to public budgeting and finance using a learning contract to define the scope of the project and the evaluation criteria. The idea behind a learning contract is that each student defines what s/he wants to learn or accomplish and how they intend to learn/accomplish it; it opens up the possibility of doing something for your major project other than a research paper. The contract is similar to a syllabus, except it is developed by the student and tailored to each student’s interests.
Possible projects include: analyzing an agency’s budget process (using the four phases of the process as a guide), analyzing the financial condition of a city or other public organization (there is an International City Management Association book with an example of a format for this), writing a comprehensive purchasing or risk management policy for an organization, preparing a research report on an aspect of financial management or public budgeting, making a documentary on state- or local-level budget-makers, developing a training guide or instructional video on a public budgeting and finance topic, organizing a workshop, reviewing legislation / regulations / court rulings on a complex issue and developing a lay-person’s guide to the legal status of that issue, or any other topic of interest to the student and public administrators. In selecting a topic, students are strongly encouraged to consult with officials in a public or non-profit organization and to tailor the project to meet a public budgeting or financial management need of that organization. In summary, you determine the subject matter and the nature of the project
There are four components to this project:
- Identify a general topic for your project in one paragraph or so. This will not be graded but you will receive feedback on whether this is an appropriate topic. Note that the project must be budgeting- or financial management-related and involve a public or non-profit entity.