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Gerber develops "Policymaker" to simulate stakeholder engagement, policy decision-making

November 4, 2016

People disagree. When they do, decision makers are charged with weighing feedback from multiple parties to draw a conclusion about how best to move forward.

“You have decision makers who need to deal with that disagreement," says Elisabeth Gerber, associate dean at the Ford School, "you have many stakeholders who care passionately about the outcomes and they’re all inputs into that decision-making process.” 

Professor Gerber brings the collaborative decision-making experience into the classroom with Policymaker – a customized, hands-on, role-playing simulation designed to facilitate new interactive learning opportunities for students. She partnered with the Digital Innovation Greenhouse (DIG) to develop this digital tool with the flexibility to enable instructors to adapt classroom simulations into a variety of disciplines, topics, and educational levels.

In Policymaker, learners experience strategy development, collaboration, advocacy and communication with the intention to help students form an appreciation for the complexity of the policy-making process and an understanding of stakeholder diversity while obtaining in-depth knowledge of policy issues. This digital tool places students in a real-world simulation where they explore elements of policy making including how public decisions are made, difficulties and challenges in the decision-making process and what is required of decision makers in our modern and diverse society.

Professor Gerber said residential students benefit from face-to-face engagement with faculty, fellow students and course materials, and she sees an opportunity to enhance these learning experiences with technology.

“One of my key goals is to introduce technology into the classroom simulations that I and other faculty members use in order to create a more engaged experience for the students and to allow me to provide information to the students in a more effective, efficient and probably interesting way.”

- Story by Eric Joyce, marketing specialist. Originally published here for the University of Michigan Academic Innovators Series.