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Dr. Colleen Casey

Associate Professor of Public Affairs
College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs

UT Arlington Faculty

Dr. Colleen Casey is an Associate Professor of Public Affairs in the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs (CAPPA) at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA).  She has a Ph.D. in Public Policy Analysis and Administration with an emphasis on urban and community development policy. She teaches courses in the area of public and nonprofit administration and policy analysis and began teaching at UTA in August 2008. Her work is published in a number of peer-reviewed journals, including the Urban Affairs Review, Journal of Planning Education and Research, Economic Development Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, American Review of Public Administration and Journal of Public Works Management and Policy. She has also authored or co-authored a number of book chapters and conference presentations. In addition to serving as a Visiting Scholar with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in their Community and Economic Development Division, she has also been PI or Co-PI on several federally funded grant projects. Grant sponsored research includes serving as CO-PI on a project funded by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) titled, ³Linking Transportation Planning with Public Health: An Ecological-Based Paradigm for Institutional Collaboration². She is also CO-PI on two research projects sponsored by the Western Michigan University (WMU) Transportation Research Center for Livable Communities (TRCLC), one of 32 University Transportation Centers (UTCs) funded by the US DOT.

Service Learning Class

Course Title: URPA 5320: Theory of Public Organization and Development

This class has two main components—theoretical and practical. From a practical standpoint, we will engage in a community-based project, whereby we will work alongside the residents of Town North to build a nonprofit organization designed to improve their community. This project is one case in the larger movement towards citizen participatory models of governance.

Theoretically, we will study the historical evolution of administrative theory, including classical, sociological, and social-psychological dimensions; decision-making theory; implications of public interest theory for public management; basic concepts of organization development and impact on public administration paradigms; new public administration; and the future of public urban organizations. The central focus of the course and the related readings is the relationship between public organizations, the administrators within those organizations, and citizens.

Your task is to connect the practical with the theoretical. In your interactions with the community and the residents of Town North, you will be asked not only to work with the residents to create a sustainable organization capable of fostering change in their community, but to consider the broader implications of citizen participatory models of governance on the future of public urban organizations, from an organizational perspective.

Academic Outcomes

  • Describe the broad contour of the field of organization theory (OT) and development (OD), including the study of a) organization design, b) the range of relations between public organizations and their social, legal, and political environments, and c) the range of human dynamics within organizations;
  • Articulate the socio-historical development of organization theory (with emphasis on the social forces that shaped the field), its relationships with the field of public administration, and its relationship with public policy formation and implementation;
  • Acquire the vocabularies of the many theories of organizations: administrative science, bureaucracy, contingency theory, resource dependency, strategic choice, institutional theory, etc.;
  • Identify and analyze basic social theory (and the concept of meta-theory) and the assumptions of the major schools of organization theories;
  • Demonstrate the connection between theory and practice through engagement in service learning.
  • Develop a reflexive understanding of the relationship between public organizations, administrators and citizens.

Service Learning Project

Reflecting on Conceptions of Public Service.


Student Reflections: Narratives of Citizenship; Community and Class Forums.