GSI Position description - PUBPOL 201

Systematic Thinking About The Problems of the Day

_Economics and Finance
_Domestic Policy
_International policy

Systematic Thinking about Problems of the Day: An Introduction to Public Policy
Paul N. Courant ( 5310 Well Hall; 818 Hatcher Library
.5 FTE assignment

The principal purpose of this course will be to introduce students to the study of the broad area of public policy by using social science knowledge and methods to focus our thinking about public policy issues. The course will be divided into four or five topical modules of approximately 2.5 to 3 weeks each, taught jointly by Professor Paul Courant and a faculty expert in the specific topic. In addition to three hours of lecture each week (which will in many cases be more interactive than the word “lecture” might suggest) there will be a one hour section taught by a GSI.

GSIs will teach the weekly discussion sections, grade a short quiz on each module, grade the final exam, and grade one short paper per student. (Students will be assigned a short paper – about five pages – on a specific topic in one of the topic areas. Thus 20 to 25 percent of the students will have papers due at about 3 week intervals.) There is a weekly meeting of faculty and the GSIs to coordinate and organize the material. A GSI will typically be responsible for two sections (about 50 to 60 students).

The basic methods of policy analysis underlie all of the course, but the GSIs will need to develop some mastery of subject areas in which they may have little prior knowledge. The likely topics for next year are Globalization, Copyright and Intellectual Property, Bird Flu, K-12 Education Policy, and something on elections (possibly Gerrymandering and Integrity of Vote Counting, in some combination).

Grace Hu and Adam Cowing were the GSIs this year, and they can describe the course and why it was fun.


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