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MAPL 661 Ethics in Policy, Politics and Advocacy

MAPL 661 is an elective course in the Advocacy and Political Leadership (MAPL) track within the Master of Public and Nonprofit Administration (MPNA) Program. The course will develop a shared, rudimentary ethical code for participation in advocacy and political life. The course begins by examining classical ethical theory, from Plato on. Then we examine ethics in government, looking at the systems established to insure not that actors on the governmental stage do the right thing, but rather that they avoid the appearance of a conflict. The exercise in developing the code will combine these two ethical systems, one normative and the other procedural, in a single proscriptive document. The codes development will be informed by reading a few of the major political/ethical theorists, by dialogue with some of Minnesotas leading political/advocacy figures, and by case studies.
4 Graduate credits

Effective August 23, 2014 to present

Learning outcomes


  • Appreciation and understanding of the major ethical theorists and ethical schemes. Since there are so many different ethical theorists, each student will be required to independently research and give a 8-10 minute report on one of the major theorists; summaries of their findings in at least a 2-page report will be made available to all others in the class so that they can build an ethical file.
  • There will be extensive presentation and discussion about ethical rules and procedures in Minnesota (and in Wisconsin if there are Wisconsin students present) plus rules and procedures in the various cities and counties in which class members dwell.
  • Students are presented with real ethical dilemmas encountered in political life, through case studies both from national sources and from local participants. Case studies are discussed extensively and normative judgments (sometimes) agreed upon regarding the "right" course of action.
  • Each student will be required to draft part of an ethical code of conduct for advocates in our area. These offerings are painstakingly reviewed by the entire class and rewritten as appropriate until there is agreement on both the substance and the language.

Fall 2024

Section Title Instructor books eservices
01 Ethics in Policy, Politics and Advocacy Ryg, Matt Books for MAPL-661-01 Fall 2024 Course details for MAPL-661-01 Fall 2024