MLD-112: Making State and Local Government Work with Thomas Glynn

Learning from practice is a hallmark of the Harvard Kennedy School, and our faculty includes numerous talented individuals who have spent significant portions of their careers in public service.  Perhaps the best example is adjunct lecturer Thomas Glynn, who in his career was CEO of the Massachusetts Port Authority which includes Boston’s Logan International Airport, four maritime businesses in the Port of Boston and significant real estate portfolios in the South Boston Seaport and East Boston Waterfront. HKS adjunct lecturer Tom Glynn

Earlier Glynn was the General Manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority which included subway, trolley, bus, paratransit and commuter rail services for Greater Boston. Plus Glynn served in a variety of other public service jobs – Deputy Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration, Deputy Commissioner of Welfare under MA Governor Michael Dukakis and Executive Director of a White House Task Force on Youth Employment in the Carter-Mondale Administration. In the nonprofit sector Glynn served for 14 years as Chief Operating Officer of Harvard affiliated Partners HealthCare. For his service, Glynn was made a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

Bringing his wealth of experience into his course MLD-112 Making State and Local Government Work, Glynn focuses on how making policy innovations and change can have the impact desired when implemented in a state or local government context. Strategic thinking and strategic planning are the prominent themes as students address analytical challenges and develop the tools that are necessary to produce a successful policy outcome.  MLD-112 introduces analytical techniques available to assess the specific challenges of a specific situation: 1) analyzing the organizational culture, 2) preparing a correct diagnosis of the policy challenge, 3) identifying issues of race and diversity, and 4) assessing the influence of the political environment. Glynn, through cases and scholarship, helps students explore the range of management tools available to public service leaders. These tools include 1) setting goals, 2) organizational change, 3) mobilizing the staff, 4) improving the customer experience, 5) project management, and 6) executive leadership.  Finally, students, using these analytical and management tools, work to address current policy and service delivery challenges like diversity, new technology, increasing traffic, crisis management, and global health.  This course also features distinguished guest lecturers who are in the heart of current practice.

This course will be offered at Harvard Kennedy School in Spring 2021. If you have any questions about this course, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

Greg Dorchak

Administrator of the Management, Leadership, and Decision Sciences Area at the Harvard Kennedy School.