Jan. 19, 2022

What We Are Learning This Week with Dr. Ian Brodie

Bureaucracies and the art of the briefing note!
Old Building

January 24, 2022 in POLI 451 Public Administration

Dr. Ian Brodie is exploring bureaucracies and briefing notes.


Can you tell us a little more about this topic?

A bureaucracy is a specialized form of organization in government and private corporations. Bureaucracies use briefing notes to manage information, expertise and the time of their senior people. In POLI 451, students get a theoretical grounding in the role of the briefing note and practical experience in drafting them.

Ian Brodie pic

What else do you cover in your course?

We cover both the roots of “public administration” as an outgrowth of the North American progressive movement and the current application of public administration in Canada.

What do you love about teaching this course?

Over the years, I have had dozens of students tell me that their POLI 451 briefing note helped get them a job at the end of their degree, and helped them contribute to public policy. A year ago, I heard from a former student who had just spent a week overseeing her staff’s effort to prepare about a hundred briefing notes for her minister!

I read thousands of superb briefing notes during my time in government and try to pass along lessons I learned from managing that crushing load of information. Every bureaucracy has a shortage of people who can draft a good briefing note.

Finally, what other courses would you recommend for students interested this topic?

There is no public administration without political theory, so be sure to do well in POLI 310. Every problem of government starts with Plato or Aristotle and is solved by knowing Machiavelli. A good briefing note is just a polite version of Machiavelli.


Our Thanks to Dr. Ian Brodie for sharing your course with us

Follow Dr. Brodie on Twitter @irbrodie