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Mary Jane Kuffner-Hirt

Mary Jane Kuffner-HirtProfessor

Department of Political Science
102 Keith Annex
Department of Political Science
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Indiana, PA 15705-1069

724-357-2290 (phone)
724-357-3810 (fax)

Spring 2015 Office Hours: N/A

Courses Taught

PLSC 251 - State and Local Political Systems: Institutions and processes of state and local governments, with special attention to Pennsylvania; emphasis on the nature of federalism, state constitutions, and role of state and local government in an urban society.

PLSC 354/554 - Metropolitan Problems: Analyzes multiplicity of problems facing our metropolitan areas.  Contemporary developments such as urban renewal, shrinking tax base, federal aid to cities, subsidized mass transit, municipal authorities, and political consolidation are examined. 

 PLSC 370/570 - Introduction to Public Administration: Theories of organization and structural organization, personnel processes, executive functions, financial administration, the politics of administration, public relations, and problems of democratic control of bureaucracy.

PLSC 668 - Public Sector Financial Administration: Concerned with the administration of fiscal and monetary processes of government on all three levels. Included are topics related to revenue and expenditure, how the former are calculated and provided for, and how the latter are prioritized and allocated via the budgetary process; control systems which are concerned with recordkeeping and the monitoring of the flow of revenues.

PLSC 674 - Analytical Techniques: Exposes the student to approaches, methods, tools, focus, and boundary lines of political science study. As a research methods course in graduate political science, it should be scheduled early in the program.

PLSC 678 - The Ethical Dimensions of Leadership: Focuses on the ethical dimensions of leadership and strategies to integrate ethical considerations into organizational, administrative, decision-making, and policy processes. To facilitate discussion and the application of ethics to professional practice, a series of speakers examines the relationship between ethics and leadership within varying contexts. Case studies, videos, and exercises link theory and practice. Students are expected to complete all assigned readings prior to each class to facilitate their active participation in all discussions. A literature review project provides students with the opportunity to pursue individualized interests related to leadership and ethics.

Areas of Specialization

Teaching: state and local government, metropolitan problems, American politics, public financial administration, research methods, public administration, public sector leadership and ethics.

Research: tax increment financing for economic development projects, local government leadership and ethics, and the use of context in the research of family history.

Special Projects

Projects I am involved with at this time:

Current Research Project: Pittsburgh Railways Trolley Accident, December 24, 1917.  This accident killed 23 people and injured almost 90.  It has been described as the worst mass transit accident in the history of the City of Pittsburgh.  My research by using Carnegie Library's microfilm newspaper archives, Allegheny County civil court records, Allegheny County Coroner's records, Federal bankruptcy court records, the University of Pittsburgh Library Archives, the Heinz History Center library archives plus an array of national, state and local public records will bring together data and information to tell the story of the accident, the people and families affected and the roles and responsibilities of Pittsburgh Railways and its employees.

Allegheny County Local Government Academy (LGA):  During the summer of 2012, I developed an Ethics WIKI for use in the education of local government elected and appointed officials.  The content of the WIKI is based in part on a series of focus group discussions associated with the LGA's Pillars of Good Government program which involved professional local government practitioners from the Western PA area.  I am currently working with the LGA to creat an "exemplary ethical practices" recognition program for southwestern Pennsylvania local governments.

Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society (WPGS):  I am working with the Editor of the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society's journal to renovate the nature and content of the quarterly publication.  Changes to the journal will be made in stages over the next year.

Research trip to Belfast and Londonderry Northern Ireland:  During October 2012, I will participate in a 10 day research trip to Nothern Ireland where I will have the opportunity to search for 17th and 18th Century records at the Public Records Office of Nothern Ireland, Linen Hall, the Presbyterian Historical Society, Belfast Central Library and Derry Central Library.  The knowledge about people and events gained through this trip will form the basis for the development of a qualitative research course.