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Course Descriptions

PPCY 100: Public Policy Incubator

This course emulates the kind of work taking place at thinktanks, non-government organizations, government agencies, and political offices. After a four-week introduction to a particular public policy issue, students work in our "public policy incubator" to produce white papers on an array of issues. Policy and industry leaders join regularly to help students hone their analysis in ways that allow for real-world consideration and discussion by policy makers. Teams produce white papers with executive summaries and develop presentations of their analyses. All teams are required to submit their work to the College鈥檚 annual Public Policy Challenge. White papers are also presented to external policy makers. No prerequisites. (Under the Forester Fundamental Curriculum, this course meets the Experiential Learning requirement.)


PPCY 107: Community-Based Learning

In this course, students prepare to make the most of community-based and public leadership internships to develop professional skills. In non-profit organizations, the likelihood of being involved from the beginning of your internship in meaningful projects, team-based learning, and product/program development are high. These types of opportunities require 鈥渟oft skills鈥 such as good communication, problem solving, project management, and, most importantly, the ability to reflect and build on experiences without losing momentum on projects. In this half credit course, students analyze and develop their emotional intelligence, conflict resolution skills, interpersonal skills, and time management tools and practices. Students develop an internship search plan, and practice networking and interviewing for such experiences. By the end of this course, students not only have a plan for making the most of their public service internship, they have the confidence to do so.
cross listed: COLL 107


PPCY 150: Public Policy Studies

This course focuses on how public officials address policy problems, and why they select the solutions they do. We examine the public policymaking process, paying particular attention to the role played by political actors (elected officials, interest groups, governmental agencies) seeking to influence the tone and direction of policy. Attention will also be paid to how particular policy issues and problems gain (or fail to gain) the public's attention, including the role that political elites and the media play in agenda setting. Finally, the course assesses the effects of public polices on citizens' lives. In doing so, students will assume the role of "policy analyst," learning how to write briefs in which they evaluate various policy reforms. In sum, students will gain the necessary tools to systematically assess when a public policy is achieving its desired goals and whether it is being implemented effectively and efficiently. No prerequisites.
cross listed: POLS 150


PPCY 200: Public Policy Incubator

This course emulates the kind of work taking place at thinktanks, non-government organizations, government agencies, and political offices. After a four-week introduction to a particular public policy issue, students work to produce white papers on an array of issues. Policy and industry leaders are called upon to help students hone their analysis in ways that allow for real-world consideration and discussion by policy makers. Teams produce white papers and develop presentations of their analyses. All teams are required to submit their work to the College鈥檚 annual Public Policy Challenge. White papers are also presented to external policy makers. (A maximum of 2 practicum project credits is allowed towards graduation.) Prerequiste: ECON 110, POLS 120, POLS 226, or POLS 260 or permission of instructor


PPCY 254: Ethics and Public Policy

This course examines the philosophical and ethical foundations of various controversies that arise in the development and application of contemporary public policy. After surveying a wide range of classic ethical theories and perspectives, students apply these to a variety of sometimes vexing and challenging questions in public policy. These questions include: Are certain taxation schemes fairer than others? To what extent can states limit immigration? Is the regulation and/or limitation of abortion permissible? Is affirmative action ethically sound? More than anything, students gain the conceptual tools and frameworks to develop their own independent critically informed answers to these and other questions.
cross listed: POLS 254


PPCY 255: Economic Analysis of Public Policy

This course introduces students to the economic methods used in policy making and evaluation. The course examines efficiency and equity rationales for enacting policy. Case studies are used to introduce current issues and policy proposals. Students learn how to identify and account for positive and negative externalities, and how to apply cost-benefit analysis and other policy evaluation techniques. Case studies are chosen from a variety of areas, including inequality, economic growth, regulation, and the provision of services, among others. Prerequisite: ECON 110.
cross listed: ECON 255


PPCY 300: Public Policy Workshop

In this course, students work independently and in groups on a particular policy issue. They produce white papers and develop presentations of their analyses. This class is largely a self-guided extension of PPCY 200: Public Policy Incubator, with the same access to outside policy makers, consultants, and industry leaders. All students are required to submit their work to the College鈥檚 annual Public Policy Challenge. White papers are also presented to external policy makers. Prerequisite: PPCY 100 or PPCY 200