The course aims to actively engage students in environmental policy research, broadly defined to include not just conventional issues such as air and water pollution, but also–and especially–ever-evolving energy and climate policy. In this hands-on course, students will gain a deeper understanding of contemporary environmental policy research, as well as develop personal expertise with a specific aspect of this policy arena. They will also acquire research skills applicable to both public policy and the social sciences, and hone their written and verbal communication abilities.
The course begins by introducing students to policy research techniques, with readings and class discussion largely drawing from the specific environmental policy interests of the students in the class. Students will then spend the remainder of the term researching a topic of their choosing on energy or environmental policy. These may include the student's own environmental policy passion, or a topic that complements ongoing research in the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) Energy and Environmental Policy Initiative, including the National Surveys on Energy and the Environment. Suitable research projects may address some aspect of the allocation of regulatory authority between national, state, and local government; the inclusion or omission of particular policy levers within the overall regulatory framework; or constituencies of support or opposition for a particular policy option.