In the first part of the course you will be introduced to some of the analytic frameworks and conceptual theories used to study American public policy making and you will learn how these models were applied to a classic public policy problem. Next we will delve into public policy and its relation to the higher education sector. We will (briefly) study the history of higher education policy-making and discuss two of the most often cited goals of higher education: efficiency and equity. Many times there are tensions in the simultaneous pursuit of these societal goals, and we will examine the ramifications of these tensions. Toward the end of the semester we will discuss state-level issues and examine the interaction between state and institutional policy making, and examine research methods used to study whether policy changes are effective.
The course is designed to fulfill a number of objectives. I expect you will increase your knowledge of the American public policy process. You will also learn how to apply analytic models to the study of policy issues. The required project will teach you how to prepare a policy brief on an issue of concern to the postsecondary education industry. This exercise will allow you to synthesize the course materials and gain experience in presenting your results to a critical audience (the instructor and your colleagues in the class).
The course is a combination of the conceptual and practical, and will include large and small group discussions of the readings, and the discussion and analysis of case studies. This course is intended for graduate students interested in public policy making, particularly those interested in policy making in the postsecondary education sector. There are no course prerequisites.
In Winter 2010 this course will be taught by Stephen DesJardins.