Course Descriptions

Course Catalog for PUBLIC POLICY & LAW
PBPL 123
Fundamentals of American Law
This course introduces students to the fundamentals of the United States legal system. Core topics covered include: sources of law; the role of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches in the creation, implementation, and interpretation of laws ; state and federal judicial systems; civil and criminal cases; trial and appellate process; criminal law and procedure; elements of due process; safeguarding the rights of the accused; current issues confronting the criminal justice system; and an overview of torts, contracts and alternate dispute resolution. The course will also focus on legal ethics and emerging trends in the legal profession. Students will learn to read and analyze case law and statutes and acquire substantive techniques for legal writing and oral presentations.
1.00 units, Lecture
PBPL 201
Introduction to American Public Policy
This course introduces students to the formal and informal processes through which American public policy is made. They will study the constitutional institutions of government and the distinct role each branch of the national government plays in the policy-making process, and also examine the ways in which informal institutions-political parties, the media, and political lobbyists-contribute to and shape the policy process.
1.00 units, Lecture
PBPL 202
Law, Argument, and Public Policy
In this course, students will study legal reasoning and the myriad ways in which legal arguments influence the making of American public policy. They will learn how to structure a legal argument and identify key facts and issues, analyze the formal process through which legal cases unfold (including jurisdiction, standing, and the rules of evidence), and examine how rules of law, which define policy choices and outcomes, develop out of a series of cases.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Public Policy 201, or permission of instructor
1.00 units, Lecture
PBPL 204
Free Speech, Art and Censorship
How free are artists from the threat of censorship? How free should they be? Does the Free Speech amendment of the Constitution vigorously protect artistic expression even when art provokes and offends? Should certain kinds of art be subject to restriction for a larger social Good? Can art function as a form of hate speech? These are some of the questions that will guide a study of the First Amendment's free speech guarantee as it pertains to art and artists. Students will become acquainted with relevant court decisions while exploring such topics as: sexually explicit art and the First Amendment's obscenity exception; rap lyrics, violence, and true threats doctrine; and recent attempts to censor art on the grounds that it violates the dignity and well-being of certain groups of individuals. Not open to students who completed FYSM 226.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 220
Research and Evaluation
Which policy interventions actually work and which fail to meet their goals? Answering this question is essential to improving public and non-profit services and securing further funding for worthwhile projects. This course aims to give students the ability to comprehend policy research and evaluation, as well as the tools to design and conduct basic qualitative and quantitative analysis. Students will apply these practical skills in assignments that ask them to design evaluations or analyze data to assess the effectiveness of policies. Topics will include data analysis using statistical software, but no previous programming experience is necessary.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Public Policy and Law 201 or 202, or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 222
Law in the Early American Republic
After the Connecticut Courant accused President Jefferson of bribing Napoleon to secure a treaty with Spain, the Hartford newspaper editors were prosecuted for libel. Cinqué and the other Africans who overthrew the crew of the slave ship Amistad were put on trial for murder in the Old State House. Legal dramas such as these make Hartford an ideal place to study key developments in American law from the Revolution to the Civil War, including the influence of Shays’ Rebellion upon the framing of the Constitution and the evolving law of domestic relations, commerce and crime. The course features field trips to historic courthouses, places of incarceration and America’s first law school where Aaron Burr and John C. Calhoun studied.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 245
Title IX: Changing Campus Culture
This course will explore the legal and policy implications of the new Title IX federal guidelines as they apply to equity in athletics and sexual misconduct on college campuses. During the course of the term we will consider how best to devise and implement effective policies aimed at: increasing equity in college athletics; reducing incidents of sexual misconduct on college campuses; protecting the legal rights of all parties to administrative hearings; ensuring that institutions of higher education are in full compliance with new federal and state mandates. Trinity’s Title IX Coordinator, will periodically join in our class discussions.
C- or better in Public Policy and Law 123 or 201, or permission of instructor
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 251
The Judicial Process: Courts and Public Policy
This course examines the evolution of the judicial process in America and the role of the courts as policy makers. We will study civil and criminal courts at both the state and federal level as well as the functions of judges, lawyers, litigants, and other actors. We will also consider how the courts make policy in areas such as the war on terrorism, the right to privacy, gay and lesbian rights, and the rights of the accused.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science102 or Public Policy and Law 201 or 202, or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Lecture
PBPL 264
Urban Policy and Politics in America
This course focuses on the development of urban policies and politics and their impact on urban America. Adopting both a historical and contemporary perspective on these issues will help us understand how the historical development of cities and specific policy choices shaped the urban problems and conflicts we see today. We will also study how the distribution of urban power affects urban policy outcomes. In addition, we will explore many contemporary urban policy issues, including public education, criminal justice, public housing, neighborhood decline, preservation, and gentrification, as well as downtown economic redevelopment. Central to these urban challenges are issues of race, ethnicity, equality, and fairness. We will consider how current policies may generate both potential solutions and new unintended problems for urban America.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Public Policy 201, or permission of instructor
1.00 units, Lecture
PBPL 302
Law and Environmental Policy
This course examines the development of environmental policy and regulation in the U.S. through analysis of case studies of national environmental policy debates and landmark environmental legislation. The policy challenges presented by global climate change are a special focus. Students gain an understanding of the framework and policy approaches underlying local, state and federal laws regulating air, water, toxic waste, and use of natural resources. In addition, students identify and research a current local, state, national or global environmental issue and then draft a policy memorandum which summarizes the issue, describes available policy choices, and proposes a course of action.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Public Policy and Law 201 or 202, or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 304
Capital Punishment in America: Legal and Moral Dimensions
The course will examine the legal and moral controversies surrounding the application of capital punishment (i.e., the death penalty) as a punishment for homicide. We will consider whether capital punishment is state sanctioned homicide or good public policy. Topics include: capital punishment through history, U.S. Supreme Court decisions and contemporary problems with the application of the death penalty. We will analyze the nature, extent, and distribution of criminal homicide and critically review current innocence project work.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Public Policy and Law 123, 201, 202 or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 321
American Legal History
This course focuses on key themes in law and American history from the colonial era to the early twentieth century. Topics include the English origins of American legal institutions; land, law and Native Americans; the framing of the Constitution; the emergence of the Supreme Court; slavery, westward expansion and constitutional conflict in the new republic; the rise of corporations, railroads and modern tort law; civil rights in Reconstruction; the treatment of immigrants and labor under the law. The course analyzes landmark Supreme Court decisions but also considers legal history from the bottom up, e.g., the participation of slaves, free people of color and women in the legal system of the antebellum South. Previous courses in American history and an introduction to law are strongly suggested.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Public Policy and Law 201 or 202, or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Lecture
PBPL 323
The Legal History of Race Relations
This course will examine the interaction between the American social and legal systems in the treatment of race relations. The seminar will analyze major Supreme Court cases on equal rights and race relations with an emphasis on the historical and social contexts in which the decisions were rendered. The Socratic method will be used for many of the classes, placing importance on classroom discussion among the students and the lecturer. The goals of the course are to expose the students to the basis of the legal system and the development of civil rights legislations sharpen legal and critical analysis, improve oral expression, and develop a concise and persuasive writing style.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Public Policy and Law 123, 201, 202 or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 331
Becoming American: Immigration and Integration Policy
Critics of immigration argue that a growing foreign-born population endangers economic health, threatens democratic traditions, and undermines cultural unity. Proponents respond that immigration is central to America’s national identity and crucial for prosperity. This course examines popular and scholarly debates over immigration and immigrant adaptation and analyzes the efficacy of U.S. policies aimed at managing this process. Topics include U.S. border security, the increased state and local regulation of immigration, and the DREAM Act, a proposal that would offer certain undocumented youth a path toward legal status. Course assignments will emphasize persuasive writing and communication for a policymaking audience, including memos and briefings.
Prerequisite: C- or better in either Political Science 102 or Public Policy and Law 201, or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 332
Social Advocacy and Ethical Life
This course addresses the relationship between ethics and oral forms of expression in a variety of socio-political contexts. Students in the course will have an opportunity to investigate theories of ethics and principles of rhetoric, and to apply their inquiry in a cumulative series of exercises. Both critical and practical, the work undertaken in this course offers a chance for students to: 1) question the meaning and importance of contemporary calls for civility and engaged citizenship; 2) investigate the roots and limits of ethical discourse relevant to social and political decision-making; and 3) develop an understanding of the principles of social advocacy and the ways in which rhetoric remakes the grounds of ethical interaction.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Public Policy and Law 201 or 202, or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 334
Journalism and the Public Good in America
Alexis de Tocqueville considered newspapers essential to democracy in America, but from the days of Cotton Mather and John Peter Zenger to those of Fox News and WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, the news media have been a source of controversy and contention. This seminar will explore the place of journalism in American civic life by examining both the history of the law governing journalistic enterprise and the evolution of the news media as social and political actors. Topics to be discussed will include the nature of news, libel law, national security as a basis for censorship, public reason, the economics of journalism, and the new media environment.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Public Policy and Law 201 or 202, or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 340
Republicanism Ancient and Modern
The Republican Tradition is traced by most scholars back to Greece and the different regimes in Sparta and Athens. All of the pre-Modern Republics had in common that they were small, warlike, and homogeneous. But after the fall of Rome, the Republican Tradition went into eclipse for almost 1,500 years. The conscious search for a distinctively Modern Republican alternative, which was to be large, prosperous, less warlike and less homogeneous began with Machiavelli and traces itself through a variety of thinkers down to Montesquieu, Locke and the American Founding. There is another distinctively Modern permutation of the Republican Tradition that we will consider as exemplified by Rousseau and the French Revolution. The course will explore the nature of pre-Modern Republicanism but will focus on the distinctive nature of the rise and perfection of the Modern Liberal variant of Republicanism.
1.00 units, Lecture
PBPL 351
Diversity in the City
Drawing on literature related to federalism, urban politics, and state and local policy, this course will examine how cities have responded to diverse newcomers, from the early twentieth century's machine politics, through the Great Migration of African-Americans to northern cities, to the dispersion of new immigrant populations since the late 1980s. Using this historical perspective, we will consider how local policies shape processes of social and political incorporation, as well as how the presence of newcomers shapes the on-going development of local policies. The course will incorporate case studies of policy decision-making, devoting particular attention to the city of Hartford.
Prerequisite: C+ or better in Political Science 102 or Public Policy and Law 201, or consent of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 352
Art and the Public Good
Is art a public good? Is government good for art? Students will explore these questions by examining what happens when U.S. taxpayer dollars are used to fund the arts. Course topics will include: the depression era federal arts projects and the dream of a "cultural democracy" that inspired them; the State Department's export of art across the globe during the Cold War era; the legal and congressional battles over offensive art that threatened to shut down the National Endowment for the Arts during the 1990s; and former Mayor Giuliani's attempt to withdraw funding from the Brooklyn Museum of Art following public outcry over a provocative depiction of the Virgin Mary.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 354
The Politics of Education Policy
How do politics shape the development of education policy-making at all levels of government in the United States? What roles do the public, interest groups, community groups, and elected officials play in the creation of education policy? These questions will guide this course as we examine the highly political environment of education policy and the simultaneously diffuse nature of power. We will begin by studying the history and federalist structure of education in the United States. We will then explore the influence of politics on some longstanding education policy debates. These issues will guide our inquiries as we turn to an exploration of the modern era and consider some of the major policy debates of today.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Public Policy 201, or permission of instructor
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 364
Law and Poverty
This course will explore the nature and extent of poverty in the United States and how the law responds to and reinforces poverty. Specifically, this course will review the intersection of race, gender and age with poverty while exploring particular areas of concern such as right to counsel, healthcare, education, and housing. While this course focuses on legal aspects of poverty, it will also incorporate sociological, economic, and policy perspectives.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Public Policy 201, Public Policy 202, or Political Science102, or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 365
Crime, Punishment, and Public Policy
This course will introduce students to the public policy dimensions of crime and punishment in America. We will examine theories of punishment, the structure of the criminal justice system, and the role of the courts in defining the constitutional rights of the accused. Course materials will include novels, policy texts, films, and court cases.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Public Policy 201, Public Policy 202, or Political Science102, or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Lecture
PBPL 375
Current Issues in Federalism and Public Policy: Immigration, Health Care & Marijuana Legal Reform
Federalism, a defining American constitutional principle, is a system in which political power is shared by the national government and state and local entities. This structure of “dual sovereignty,” which has been subject to ongoing interpretation, has informed some of the most divisive controversies in American history. Currently, executives, legislators, and the courts at all levels of government are engaged in robust debates about the degree to which power should be shared and whether governing authority should reside with national or with state and local officials. We will focus on how the American federal structure shapes arguments and choices in three contentious policy areas: immigration, health care, and the reform of marijuana laws.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Public Policy 201, Public Policy 202, or Political Science102, or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 377
Law, Gender, and the Supreme Court
This course introduces students to contemporary gender issues as they have been treated both in the law and in the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. We will explore some of the historical antecedents to contemporary legal gender questions and then examine in detail the following areas of controversy: sex discrimination, marriage equality, reproductive rights, and Title IX.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Public Policy 201, or permission of instructor
1.00 units, Lecture
PBPL 398
Public Policy and Law Internship and Seminar
The required internship is designed to: (1) To provide students with the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom to the work of an organization concerned with the making of public policy; (2) To engage students in academic projects directly linked to the internship experience and their areas of concentration in the major. To enroll in the internship students need the permission of a faculty member, who will supervise the academic work.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 399
Independent Study
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar's Office, and the approval of the instructor and director are required for enrollment.
1.00 units min / 2.00 units max, Independent Study
PBPL 401
Current Issues: The Supreme Court and Public Policy
This seminar will focus on the Supreme Court in transition. We will explore competing theories of constitutional interpretation that have characterized the Rehnquist court and examine specific cases that are representative of the court's work. We will study contending theories of the Supreme Court's role in our constitutional framework, and we will consider how new appointees to the court may shift the balance in important areas of jurisprudence that have become increasingly contentious, especially with respect to issues of personal autonomy, affirmative action, and national security.
This course is only open to senior Public Policy and Law majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 406
Current Issues in US Immigration Policy
Today, immigrants and their children comprise a quarter of the US population. Thus, the presence of immigrants influences nearly all areas of US policymaking. This capstone senior seminar examines current issues in immigration and immigrant incorporation policies. Topics include US border security, the increased state and local regulation of immigration, and policies to address unauthorized immigrant status. Course assignments will emphasize persuasive writing and communication for a policymaking audience, including memos and briefings based on independent student research. Students will develop and present a final research paper drawing on analysis of federal administrative data.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 414
Current Issues: Localism & States’ Rights in the Age of Trump
This seminar will explore questions about the development and purpose of federalism, states’ rights, and localism. We will consider competing ideological frameworks around support and opposition of local and state power – for example, from the notion of laboratories of democracy to states’ rights resistance in the face of claims of federal overreach. We will study state and local policies in the current political era and pay particular attention to the development of policies as both progressive resistance to and conservative support of the Trump administration. In this context, we will study battles not just between states or localities and the federal government, but also conflicts between states and cities. We will also consider the role of other institutions, like the media and the courts, in these conflicts.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 430
Federal Courts and Public Policy
Over the past 30 years, the Supreme Court has been called upon to resolve many important and often controversial public policy questions. The purpose of this course is two-fold: (1) to familiarize students with the role of the federal courts as a policy making institutions; and (2) to carefully analyze actual cases as a means of assessing the scope of the Court's power to shape public policy, especially in areas where there is little political consensus. Readings will include texts and articles on the role of the federal courts and several of the recent court cases.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 466
Teaching Assistantship
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar's Office, and the approval of the instructor and director are required for enrollment.
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
PBPL 490
Research Assistantship
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar's Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairman are required for enrollment.
1.00 units, Independent Study
PBPL 497
Senior Thesis
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar's Office, and the approval of the instructor and director are required for enrollment in this single-semester thesis. (1 course credit to be completed in one semester.)
1.00 units, Independent Study
PBPL 498
Public Policy and Law Thesis and Colloquium
This course is designed to teach senior Public Policy and Law majors how to write a year long honors thesis. The course is designed to provide support and structure to the process of writing a thesis. Students will formulate a research question, undertake a review of the literature, develop strategies to organize their work, and familiarize themselves with the appropriate Library and Internet sources. Students will also make oral presentations of their work. This course is required of all senior Public Policy and Law majors who are writing an honors thesis.
2.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 499
Senior Thesis Part 2
No Course Description Available.
2.00 units, Independent Study
PBPL 800
Public Policy: Principles and Practice
This course will focus on both micro- and macro-level elements of the public policy process, from problem identification through post-implementation evaluation. In addition to core theoretical text-based discussion, students will be exposed to models of research and reporting used in the various fields of public policy. Students will apply their learning through case-study analysis. They will be required to complete an independent research project through which they will examine a particular area of policy (e.g., healthcare, education, housing, etc.) and to analyze a specific program through one or more of the lenses discussed in class.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 802
Law and Environmental Policy
This course examines the development of environmental policy and regulation in the U.S. through analysis of case studies of national environmental policy debates and landmark environmental legislation. The policy challenges presented by global climate change are a special focus. Students gain an understanding of the framework and policy approaches underlying local, state and federal laws regulating air, water, toxic waste, and use of natural resources. In addition, students identify and research a current local, state, national or global environmental issue and then draft a policy memorandum which summarizes the issue, describes available policy choices, and proposes a course of action.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 802
Global Cities
This seminar examines the contemporary map of interactions between cities in the world. There is now a considerable array of research analyzing what are variously termed global or world cities in the hierarchy of the world economy, and a counter-critique has emerged which seeks to analyze all cities as ordinary, moving beyond old binaries of 'developed' and 'developing' worlds of cities. We will interrogate this debate in both its theoretical and its empirical dimensions, with case studies from Africa and assessment of cultural, political, economic and environmental globalization.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 804
Capital Punishment in America: Legal and Moral Dimensions
The course will examine the legal and moral controversies surrounding the application of capital punishment (i.e., the death penalty) as a punishment for homicide. We will consider whether capital punishment is state sanctioned homicide or good public policy. Topics include: capital punishment through history, U.S. Supreme Court decisions and contemporary problems with the application of the death penalty. We will analyze the nature, extent, and distribution of criminal homicide and critically review current innocence project work.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 806
Methods of Research
This course is intended to empower students to evaluate common forms of research critically, and to give them some experience in conducting research. Through a series of weekly assignments and class projects, students will be introduced to the shaping of research questions; hypothesis testing, writing a research paper, conducting interviews and surveys, giving a professional presentation, and presenting simple tabular data to prove a point. The course does not require an extensive mathematics background. Regular attendance and access to a computer, e-mail, and the Internet are expected.
1.00 units, Lecture
PBPL 808
Constitutional Foundations of Public Policy
This course will examine the history, methods, and types of successful, formal, written argumentation in policy advocacy. Among the arenas explored will be courts of law, legislative bodies, and the broader field of public opinion. Most course material will be drawn from case studies.
1.00 units, Lecture
PBPL 815
The Policy and Politics of Education Finance
One of the most important and contentious elements of education policy involves finance. Funding battles at the federal, state, and local levels have a direct impact on students, teachers, and schools. The sources of revenue, funding formulas, and budget priorities have implications not only for the operation of schools but for equity and social justice. This course will examine the legal, practical, and moral/ethical elements of education finance and efforts to reform the system. It will blend traditional seat time with online components and field work.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 817
Education and Immigration in the City
This course is designed to introduce students to urban educational policy, with particular focus on the major issues and challenges facing urban and suburban policymakers. After a brief overview of the shape and history of the American school system, we will move toward considering a variety of different perspectives on why it has proven so difficult to improve America's schools. We will examine standards-based, market-driven, professionally-led and networked models of reform, looking at their theories of change, implementation challenges, and the critiques leveled against these approaches. We will examine a variety of recent reform efforts at both the federal and state levels. Special attention will be paid to the ways in which immigration and educational policy interact.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 820
Creating Policy and Programs to Achieve Health Equity
The course will study the intersection of contemporary public health topics with societal factors and policies that influence the health of populations. A review of current U.S. policy approaches that address health care and social determinants of health will be covered. The key social determinants of health include: economic stability, neighborhoods and physical environment, education, food, race/ethnicity, social engagement and the health care system Through case studies, collaborative learning projects and class seminars, students will understand how these social determinants affect the health outcomes of populations and policy as well as program mechanisms that can improve outcomes. An overarching focus of this course will be on policy changes that can eliminate health inequalities.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 821
Law, Policy, and Society
This course is about the interaction between law and politics. It treats the federal courts as a political institution that enjoys a complex and changing relationship with its coequal branches of government and the states. We will investigate if course are a powerful policy making branch, how they exercise power, and under what conditions they are most and least powerful. Our focus will be on the federal courts, particularly the US Supreme Court. First, we will consider the broad debates around the power of courts. Second, we will turn to a series of case studies to understand the power of courts in particular instances. Possible case studies include: the NAACP's integration campaign, abortion rights and anti-abortion activism, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title IX, and court policy-making in the era where power is exercised through algorithms.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 825
Policy Implementation
Implementation is the action step in the public policy process that arguably is the most challenging and complex to do. It is the key to making something happen and is often the gauge the public uses to determine the overall effectiveness of government, in its broadest terms. This course is devoted exclusively to the study of policy implementation from the relevant literature, theoretical constructs, and the practical issues of attempting to implement public policy that often has vague and conflicting policy goals and inadequate resources. Students will examine a current public policy that was adopted by a town/city government in the Greater Hartford area, will ascertain whether the policy was implemented, analyze the challenges involved in the implementation, and meet and question government leaders involved in the policy implementation effort. The class will be conducted as a seminar, with fieldwork as necessary. A major research paper that reviews and analyzes the success of the town/city government in implementing the adopted policy studied during the semester comprises an important end product of the course.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 827
Education Law
This course is designed for those interested in an introduction to and overview of education law. It will provide a survey of statute and case law related to the structure and organization of schools and districts, constitutional law in schools, teacher and student rights, special education, and school finance. Our discussions will focus not only on the legal foundations but the social implications of education law. Of particular note will be the ways in which law can both help and inhibit efforts to build greater equity in education.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 828
Institutions and Public Policy
The course applies social choice theory to the study of four components of democratic policy making; voting, political strategy, theories of governance, and bureaucracy. The course emphasizes weekly readings and in-class discussion of central themes in the literature. Examination of the formal properties of voting rules leads to a deeper understanding of representation and political outcomes. The analysis of institutions offers lessons on the problems of delegation, policy design, implementation, and democratic administration.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 830
Federal Courts and Public Policy
Over the past 30 years, the Supreme Court has been called upon to resolve many important and often controversial public policy questions. The purpose of this course is two-fold: (1) to familiarize students with the role of the federal courts as a policy making institutions; and (2) to carefully analyze actual cases as a means of assessing the scope of the Court's power to shape public policy, especially in areas where there is little political consensus. Readings will include texts and articles on the role of the federal courts and several of the recent court cases.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 832
Contemporary Issues in Education Policy
Education policy is constantly shifting and is influenced by myriad social and political factors. This course examines the role of public education in American society and employs a sociological lens to the various factors influencing public education. It will follow contemporary trends in education policy at the national, state, and local level. Frequent guest speakers will provide context and perspectives on how contemporary issues are affecting various stakeholders in the area of public education.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 836
Moral Theory and Public Policy
The purpose of this course is to assist students in acquiring the skill in ethical reasoning and analysis needed for mature participation in society’s continuing debates over moral issues of public concern. The course will begin by examining some types of ethical theories and will proceed to consider a number of controversial social issues. Abortion, euthanasia, racial and sexual discrimination, world hunger, treatment of animals, and capital punishment are among the topics to be considered.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 840
Budget Management and Public Policy
This course will focus on the practical aspects of pubic budgeting, finance, and financial management in the policy making process. It will begin with the "how to's" of budget development, from estimating and projecting revenues to deconstructing expenditures in order to develop the best estimates. Where appropriate, elements of public finance theory will be introduced and discussed as it relates to practical budget and financial management Both the bonding process and the complications related to third party service provision will be addressed. We will utilize practical tools for budget and financial management, such as results-based accountability, performance contracting, and reviewing budget to actual data together with projected to actual service data on a regular basis.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 846
Policy Analysis
In policy analysis, we focus on the problems of empirical policy analysis: defining the problem, framing the questions to be answered, picking the location and scope of the study, selecting the metrics of analysis, aligning metrics with public values, collecting evidence, and transforming the evidence into data. The readings and weekly discussions are avenues for students to query themselves on the problems they must solve to advance their own research agendas. Students will complete a major project in empirical policy analysis. Enrollment limited.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 849
Health Care Regulation and Policy
This course will offer an overview of the basic concepts and principles of health care regulation and policy that are necessary to understand the health care sector in the United States. This course will focus on the purposes of health care regulation, the key components of regulation and the processes by which regulation is developed and implemented. Various spheres of health care regulation will be analyzed, including both governmental and private parties involved int he regulatory process. Emphasis will be on policy issues and conflicts that underlie health care regulation.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 859
Economics of Public Policy
This course utilizes economic reasoning to examine both the proper scope of public policy and the impact of policy decisions. Through economic analysis we will explore how market systems can be used to achieve policy goals and determine most effective government interventions when market failures occur. We examine the effects of policy alternatives including equity, efficiency, and effectiveness on a variety of policy areas such as taxation, education, social insurance, government debt, and healthcare.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 860
Public Management
This course will survey the core principles and practices of management in the public sector. Many modern commentators have argued that public institutions must be "run like a business" to achieve its mission in an efficient and accountable way. Is this argument valid? If not, how must the management of public institutions adapt or depart from basic business principles? Course readings will focus on key elements of successful management in the public sphere, including financial and budgetary oversight, capital planning, public transparency and inclusion, and workforce management. Students will engage with course material through a series of short essays or policy memoranda, an independent research project analyzing the management of an individual public institution or agency, and making recommendations for enhancements to its management structure and practices.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 865
The Media and the Presidential Election
In this course, students will use the current presidential election as a living laboratory as they explore the role of the media in shaping perceptions, presenting content, and providing criticism. Students will follow the election in each news medium (including the Internet), interview consultants and "spin doctors," analyze television broadcasts, including television election ads, and prepare a talk radio show. The course will focus also on such issues as media bias, corporate ownership, and FCC regulation. We will also look at the nature of "content" in the political process and how it corresponds (or doesn’t) to literary notions of "text."
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 869
Leadership in the Policy Arena
What is "Leadership?" To what extent can it be defined and practiced according to fundamental general principles? How must the application of such principles be adapted to differing institutional, organizational, and community settings, and to varying situations? Can anyone lead effectively with sufficient opportunity and, if so, to what degree must leadership be "personalized" by each individual? This course will explore leadership principles through readings from a broad spectrum of fields and historical periods and seek to identify the key lessons to be applied to leadership in the current public policy sphere. Students will engage with the course material through a series of short essays and one independent research project focused on a leadership analysis of a contemporary public institution or not-for-profit organization.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 873
Scalia, the Supreme Court, and Policy
Justice Antonin Scalia’s death created uncertainty about the Court’s current docket because several divisive issues, including voting rights, immigration policy, reproductive rights, and affirmative action, may now result in a 4-4 split. This course will examine how the Senate’s avowed refusal to consider a nominee named by President Obama for consideration is likely to have important consequences for cases currently before the Court. We will address the constitutional mandates that fall to both the President and the Senate, and we will read cases, articles, legal briefs, and listen to oral arguments in cases currently before the Court. This course will also count for the moral theory requirement, and students in the health care policy track may count this course as an elective.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 874
Public Policy Practicum
The Practicum is a semester-long opportunity for students to apply and expand their knowledge and technical skills by performing an actual consulting engagement for a public sector client organization. Practicum students will work in small teams to analyze and make recommendations with respect to issues of real significance faced by their clients. Each engagement will combine research, project planning, and problem-solving challenges, as well as substantial client contact. Client organizations are selected from across the policy spectrum to better enable students to pursue subject matters of particular relevance to their studies and career interests. Each engagement will culminate in a final report and formal presentation to the client organization. The Practicum instructor will provide careful guidance and participants will have opportunities to share ideas, experiences, and best practices.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 875
Current Issues in Federalism and Public Policy: Immigration, Health Care & Marijuana Legal Reform
Federalism, a defining American constitutional principle, is a system in which political power is shared by the national government and state and local entities. This structure of “dual sovereignty,” which has been subject to ongoing interpretation, has informed some of the most divisive controversies in American history. Currently, executives, legislators, and the courts at all levels of government are engaged in robust debates about the degree to which power should be shared and whether governing authority should reside with national or with state and local officials. We will focus on how the American federal structure shapes arguments and choices in three contentious policy areas: immigration, health care, and the reform of marijuana laws.
1.00 units, Seminar
PBPL 898
Academic Internship
No Course Description Available.
0.50 units, Independent Study
PBPL 940
Independent Study
Selected topics in special areas are available by arrangement with the instructor and written approval of the director of public policy studies. Contact the Office of Graduate Studies for the special approval form.
1.00 units min / 2.00 units max, Independent Study
PBPL 953
Research Project
A research project on a special topic approved by the instructor and with the written approval of the director of public policy studies. Contact the Office of Graduate Studies for the special approval form.
1.00 units, Independent Study
PBPL 954
Thesis Part I
Two credit thesis: start time-approval of idea, initial bibliography, and sketch of the project by pre-registration time for graduate students in the term prior to registration for the credit; first draft by reading week of the second semester, "final" first draft by end of spring vacation week; final copy due one week before the last day of classes.
1.00 units, Independent Study
PBPL 955
Thesis Part II
No Course Description Available.
1.00 units, Independent Study
PBPL 956
Thesis
No Course Description Available.
2.00 units, Independent Study
PBPL 999
Internship
No Course Description Available.
1.00 units, Independent Study