Spring 2016 - 60170 - PA383C - Policy Development

Developing Public Policy at the National Level: Challenges & Opportunities

This section is required for all MPAff DC and MGPS DC students.

The purpose of this course is to help students become skilled, discriminating analysts in public policy. Students will learn how to undertake analysis as well as critique the analysis of others. The course is designed to improve critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills that will help students successfully engage in the development and implementation of policies and become sought after for their abilities to inform policy deliberations at the highest level of government.

In today’s policy world, public policy problems are more complex, solutions more difficult to create and assess, and the players more pervasive and more partisan. At the same time the consequences of policies have grown more serious and immediate. Understanding how policy is developed, how policy changes are deliberated, and how policy choices are made will better position our students to successfully engage in the policy arena.

This course will focus on the nature of public policy problems, examining the unique roles that Congress, the President, the Executive Branch, the courts, and outside actors play in the creation and oversight of public policy.

Students will examine selected, contemporary public policy problems by:

Identifying the nature of these problems.
Examining and evaluating data and research used to support the existence of problems.
Analyzing the attendant challenges these problems create for the future well being of our Nation.
Exploring ways the problems have been addressed.
Analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of the solutions offered.
Developing new options for addressing these problems in the future; and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of these options.

Students will also explore how policy options are tested in the political arena, including specific policy challenges like global climate change adaptations, access to education, immigration policy, the aging of the U.S. population and gun regulation.