PubPol 750

PubPol 750.020 Engaging the Public in Policy-Making

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Fall 2024
Fall 2024
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When designing new policies or programs, or adapting existing policies at the local level, engaging the public can enable governments to be more targeted to local needs, more effective within a local context, and more sustainable by developing local ownership and buy-in, among other benefits. The practice of public participation seeks to engage the public in decision-making about policies and programs that affect them, or about which they have a special interest. This course will explore the strategies commonly used to engage the intended targets of a policy in policy-making and programmatic design both at the domestic and international levels. Topics include the 'why' and 'when' of participation within the policy process, design of participation activities, tools for engagement of participants, analyzing and using public insight, as well as key challenges of public participation such as ensuring representativeness, equity, and inclusion within participation activities. Students will delve into ethical issues inherent in balancing 'how much', 'when', and 'whose' participation is sought within a given context. Major activities within this course include designing a public participation strategy in response to a case, leading it with their fellow students as simulated participants, and analyzing the participation outcomes to inform policy decisions. The class is highly applied and includes 5-6 participation simulations.