Faculty: John J. Mulhern

Senior Fellow, Fels Institute of Government
Adjunct Associate Professor of Classical Studies & Government Administration

Dr. Mulhern headed Fels from January 1996 through June 1999 during a period of considerable institutional stress.  He currently serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Classical Studies and Government Administration in the University (since 2000).  He came to Fels in 1991 after two previous academic turnarounds.  As Associate Professor of Public Administration at Penn State, he headed the graduate program in Public Administration at Penn State Great Valley, where he helped to develop the Great Valley campus; and he designed, headed, and built up to 300 students the three-school Master of Management program, predecessor of the current accredited MBA program.  As President and Academic Dean of Spring Garden College, he ran the college in the black for the first time in ten years and saw it through successful Middle States and ABET accreditation reviews.  At Fels he has designed and put into place the four Fels certificate programs—Public Finance, Nonprofit Administration, Politics, and Economic Development and Growth—which provide a coherent organization of elective courses for MPA students and may be taken by students who seek the certificate only.

Besides editing The Future of American Cities (1976) and Finding Solutions to Philadelphia’s Economic Problems (1979) while at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, where he served as research editor and administrator of the Research Department, he edited the Research Papers series and edited and wrote for the Business Review.  He has edited special issues of Arethusa (1975, supported by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations) and of Defense and Security Analysis (UK, 1993, supported by the Defense Systems Management College) and has written a privately published monograph Market Research for the Contracting Officer (1990, supported by the National Contract Management Association).  He has served as an editorial consultant to university presses (Cornell, SUNY, and Yale), to Classical World, and to the Journal of the History of Philosophy; and he currently serves on the editorial advisory board of Defense and Security Analysis (since 1993) and on the editorial board of the Bryn Mawr Classical Review.

He has served as a business consultant to UK and US corporations, as a research consultant to Washington think tanks, and as a consultant on economic growth issues to the Federal government, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia, and the surrounding counties, among others.

Since stepping down as head of Fels in 1999, Dr. Mulhern has devoted his energies mainly to strengthening Fels through: conceptualizing and refining the Fels approach to teaching; administering the graduate public administration program; designing and maintaining the certificates; extensive teaching himself; assisting students and graduates; enhancing established courses; restoring the Fels house, grounds, and furnishings; developing new and revised courses; advising and assisting the directors who have succeeded him; and extending a research agenda consistent with his membership in the Department of Classical Studies, which includes the classical tradition in politics.  He presents papers at academic conferences several times a year and organizes panels for these conferences. 

Dr. Mulhern has a long history of activity in civic affairs at a senior level.  He served for some years as a committee member and on the board of the Ben Franklin Technology Center of Southeastern Pennsylvania and managed its largest Federal program to date during the Clinton administration.  During this time, he was instrumental in proposing a new, smaller, more efficient shipyard to replace the closed Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, which now is the successful Aker Shipyard—Philadelphia’s largest manufacturer.  He raised the funds for the commissioning of two Navy ships—the USS Thomas S. Gates, named for Defense Secretary and Morgan Bank Chairman Gates, son of Penn President Thomas Sovereign Gates;  and the USS Pennsylvania, fourth ship of the name, by appointment of Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey, establishing the USS Pennsylvania Foundation to administer the funds.  The Gates  commissioning established the current custom of commissioning ships at Penn’s Landing.  He played a major role in the design of the silver services for both ships, which were manufactured by the J.E. Caldwell Co.  In 1986 he cofounded the Philadelphia Navy Day Regatta, which has become a staple of the fall rowing season on the Schuylkill River, and he chaired it and raised the funds to support it through its formative period.  In June 2009, he completed his second term as elected president of the Lower Merion Township Federation of Civic Associations, where he currently chairs the nominating committee. 

Dr. Mulhern received his PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1970.  A Navy veteran, he served in four ships and extensively in Washington, and he retired as a Captain.

Email:  johnjm@sas.upenn.edu

Courses taught at Penn (all new or extensively revised): GAFL 631 Politics and Public Leadership; GAFL 713  Politics, Technology, and Economic Development; GAFL 732 Public Management; GAFL 760 Intergovernmental Management: Policy and Finance; GAFL 792 Contracting for Public Services; CLST 310-GAFL 510 Ancient and Modern Constitutionmaking; CLST 370-GAFL 570 The Classics and American Government.

For more information on his work in classics, see the Department of Classical Studies website

 

Courses Taught

Politics and Public Leadership (Spring 2012)

Spring 2012
Course Section: 
001
Saturday
2:00-5:30 pm
Instructor: 
John J. Mulhern
Fisher-Bennett Hall Room 231
Full-Time
Executive

This course is designed to orient students to the constraints that characterize leadership and management in the public service. The course traces the origins of these constraints, illustrates their durability, and suggests ways in which public agents may deal with them more effectively. Key historical documents and recent classics are examined for their bearing on contemporary views on topics such as the public goods argument, the role of science in governing, individualism and the theory of rights, factions and interest groups. The main areas of inquiry are the environment of public service, policy analysis, politics, and political realism.

 

This course satisfies a core requirement in the Master of Public Administration and Certificate in Politics programs.

Ancient and Modern Constitutionmaking (Spring 2012)

Spring 2012
Course Section: 
401
Monday
Wednesday
2:00-3:30 pm
Instructor: 
John J. Mulhern
Fels Sweeney Room
Full-Time
Executive

Ancient Greece and Rome produced a sizable body of literature concerned with the making and preserving of constitutions and on how well different constitutions worked in different circumstances. The authors explained the causes of constitutional stability and revolution in considerable detail, and they showed how both might be brought about. Much of this literature was preserved through the Middle Ages and Renaissance into modern times, and it was highly influential in the controversies surrounding the birth of the modern liberal republics. It offers a reasoned approach today to those who want to anticipate what their constitutionmaking attempts are likely to achieve. This course looks to the constitutionmaking tradition as it developed from classical antiquity forward in an attempt to understand the causes of relative success. Students read representative Greek and Latin texts in translation and trace the influence of this tradition into modern times, ending with contemporary constitutionmaking efforts in Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East.

This course satisfies an elective requirement in the Master of Public Administration and Certificate in Politics programs.

Public Management (Summer 2012)

Summer 2012
Course Section: 
900
Saturday
2:00-5:30 pm 5/12, 5/19, 6/2, 6/9, 6/16, 6/23, 6/30, 7/14, 7/21, 7/28
Instructor: 
John J. Mulhern
Fischer-Bennett 231
Executive

In this course, students focus on bureaucracy and related institutional features of government. Differences in organizational culture are examined along with their implications for public managers. Students establish an understanding of leadership issues including incentives, performance, accountability, and program management. Four areas of inquiry are pursued: bureaucracy, centralization and decentralization, performance, and privatization. This course satisfies a core requirement in the Master of Public Administration and Certificate in Politics programs.

The Classics and American Government (Fall 2012)

Fall 2012
Course Section: 
401
Monday
Wednesday
2:00-3:30 pm
Instructor: 
John J. Mulhern
Fels Sweeney Room
Full-Time
Executive

Before the universities established public-service programs in the twentieth century, many Americans prepared themselves for public life by studying Greek and Latin authors in school and college. In this course, using English translations, students survey an eighteenth-century classical curriculum and trace its influence in the political activity of Madison and others who guided the development of American governmental institutions.

This course satisfies an elective requirement in the Master of Public Administration and Certificate in Politics programs.

Ancient and Modern Constitutionmaking (Spring 2013)

Spring 2013
Course Section: 
401
Monday
Wednesday
2:00-3:30 pm
Instructor: 
John J. Mulhern
Fels Sweeney Room
Full-Time
Executive

Ancient Greece and Rome produced a sizable body of literature concerned with the making and preserving of constitutions and on how well different constitutions worked in different circumstances. The authors explained the causes of constitutional stability and revolution in considerable detail, and they showed how both might be brought about. Much of this literature was preserved through the Middle Ages and Renaissance into modern times, and it was highly influential in the controversies surrounding the birth of the modern liberal republics. It offers a reasoned approach today to those who want to anticipate what their constitutionmaking attempts are likely to achieve. This course looks to the constitutionmaking tradition as it developed from classical antiquity forward in an attempt to understand the causes of relative success. Students read representative Greek and Latin texts in translation and trace the influence of this tradition into modern times, ending with contemporary constitutionmaking efforts in Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East.

This course satisfies an elective requirement in the Master of Public Administration and Certificate in Politics programs.

Politics and Public Leadership (Spring 2013)

Spring 2013
Course Section: 
001
Saturday
2:00-5:30 pm
Instructor: 
John J. Mulhern
BENN 231
Executive

This course is designed to orient students to the constraints that characterize leadership and management in the public service. The course traces the origins of these constraints, illustrates their durability, and suggests ways in which public agents may deal with them more effectively. Key historical documents and recent classics are examined for their bearing on contemporary views on topics such as the public goods argument, the role of science in governing, individualism and the theory of rights, factions and interest groups. The main areas of inquiry are the environment of public service, policy analysis, politics, and political realism.

 

This course satisfies a core requirement in the Master of Public Administration and Certificate in Politics programs.

Public Management (Summer 2013)

Summer 2013
Course Section: 
900
Saturday
2:00-5:30 pm 5/11, 5/18, 6/1, 6/8, 6/15, 6/22, 6/29, 7/13, 7/20, 7/27
Instructor: 
John J. Mulhern
BENN 231

In this course, students focus on bureaucracy and related institutional features of government. Differences in organizational culture are examined along with their implications for public managers. Students establish an understanding of leadership issues including incentives, performance, accountability, and program management. Four areas of inquiry are pursued: bureaucracy, centralization and decentralization, performance, and privatization. This course satisfies a core requirement in the Master of Public Administration and Certificate in Politics programs.

The Classics and American Government (Fall 2013)

Fall 2013
Course Section: 
401
Monday
Wednesday
2:00-3:30 pm
Instructor: 
John J. Mulhern
Fels Sweeney
Full-Time
Executive

Before the universities established public-service programs in the twentieth century, many Americans prepared themselves for public life by studying Greek and Latin authors in school and college. In this course, using English translations, students survey an eighteenth-century classical curriculum and trace its influence in the political activity of Madison and others who guided the development of American governmental institutions.

This course satisfies an elective requirement in the Master of Public Administration and Certificate in Politics programs.

Ancient and Modern Constitutionmaking (Spring 2014)

Spring 2014
Course Section: 
401
Monday
Wednesday
2:00-3:30 pm
Instructor: 
John J. Mulhern
Fels Sweeney Room
Full-Time
Executive

Ancient Greece and Rome produced a sizable body of literature concerned with the making and preserving of constitutions and on how well different constitutions worked in different circumstances. The authors explained the causes of constitutional stability and revolution in considerable detail, and they showed how both might be brought about. Much of this literature was preserved through the Middle Ages and Renaissance into modern times, and it was highly influential in the controversies surrounding the birth of the modern liberal republics. It offers a reasoned approach today to those who want to anticipate what their constitutionmaking attempts are likely to achieve. This course looks to the constitutionmaking tradition as it developed from classical antiquity forward in an attempt to understand the causes of relative success. Students read representative Greek and Latin texts in translation and trace the influence of this tradition into modern times, ending with contemporary constitutionmaking efforts in Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East.

This course satisfies an elective requirement in the Master of Public Administration and Certificate in Politics programs.

Politics and Public Leadership (Spring 2014)

Spring 2014
Course Section: 
001
Saturday
2:00-5:30 pm
Instructor: 
John J. Mulhern
BENN 231
Full-Time
Executive

This course is designed to orient students to the constraints that characterize leadership and management in the public service. The course traces the origins of these constraints, illustrates their durability, and suggests ways in which public agents may deal with them more effectively. Key historical documents and recent classics are examined for their bearing on contemporary views on topics such as the public goods argument, the role of science in governing, individualism and the theory of rights, factions and interest groups. The main areas of inquiry are the environment of public service, policy analysis, politics, and political realism.

 

This course satisfies a core requirement in the Master of Public Administration and Certificate in Politics programs.