Case Memos

You must complete 5 case memos. Since case analysis and writing memos may be a new experience, students can rewrite 2 case memos and I will average the grades.  Accordingly, students concerned about their final course grade should consider revising memos with poor grades.  Failure to complete a memo results in a zero.  Memo grades are reduced by a letter grade each day they are late.   


Each case memo involves reading and analyzing a case of varying length and complexity.  The short cases can be downloaded from the web site.  The longer cases are on reserve in the library.  Most of the memos involve role playing and ask you to write a memo to a specific person or group of persons.  A wide range of responses is often possible and there is no "right" answer.  The key is to respond appropriately and support your analysis, arguments, conclusions, and recommendations.  
Case Memo #1 - Dealing with Bureaucracy and Intergovernmental Relations: The EPA and Hazardous Waste.  You are Lee and you must decide how to handle plans for developing and cleaning up the brownfields site and/or developing the adjacent industrial park.  Write a memo to Valdez and Wilson explaining your plans. (Download reading)
Case Memo #2 - Case Study 8: The MOVE Disaster: Imagine you are the chief of staff for the oversight committee examining the MOVE incident. Discuss who should be held accountable for the tragic results of the raid on the MOVE compound. When formulating your answer be sure to provide examples of where inappropriate actions were taken and provide recommendations for how this type of incident should be handled in the future.  Reading is on electronic reserve as Case Analysis #3.  Handouts pertaining to the case can be downloaded by clicking here. 
Case Memo #3 - Case Study 4: The Last Flight of Space Shuttle Challenger: Imagine you were a staff person working for the Presidential Commission.  Write a memo to the commission with your recommendation as to whether the decision to launch was justified.  In formulating your findings be sure to identify any administrative problems that contributed to the launch decision and provide recommendations for changes that could be taken to improve the safety of future space shuttle operations. Reading is on electronic reserve as Case Analysis #1.  Handouts pertaining to the case can be downloaded by clicking here.
Case Memo #4 - Case Study 9: Waco: Imagine you are a staff person working for a congressional committee investigating the initial ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound.  Prepare a memorandum for the committee that critiques the actions of the ATF and identifies any problems with the agency's behavior.  Be sure to include recommendations that will help avoid similar problems in the future. Reading is on electronic reserve as Case Analysis #2.  Handouts pertaining to the case can be downloaded by clicking here.
Case Memo #5 - The Good/Bad Administrator: Suppose you are Timothy Kingsbury, Secretary of the State Department of Natural Resources. Prepare a memorandum to Krittenbrink that includes your assessment of his leadership style and the methods he uses to motivate his employees. Are Krittenbrink’s leadership style and motivational techniques appropriate for the given situation. Why or why not? Be sure to include recommendations for helping Krittenbrink address the problems with his subordinates and discuss how you plan to follow up on the subordinates complaints. (Download reading)

Students are advised to consult the guidelines for analyzing cases and preparing memos on the course web site.  A sample memo format can also be found but any professional format is sufficient.  Your memo cannot be longer than 2 single-spaced pages, 12 point font, and 1 inch margins. 


Class Discussion

You must come to class prepared to discuss all 5 cases.  Students are reminded that failure to actively participate in case discussions will adversely affect your class participation grade.

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Page last modified 11/17/05

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