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Public Policy Syllabus, Summer 2011 | ENST20750 #30157 | V. 1.0

Please note: ENST20750 (course #30157), offered by Professor Wayne Hayes, is an online course offered in the Summer Session I semester Ramapo College, School of Social Science and Human Service. We will use a course wiki and Bulletin Board, which will require that you register and sign in. Please email me at a site that I use for ENST20750,, although I will also maintain my Ramapo eddress. (Note: the ovals in the logo above link to the corresponding section of the course and the "^" symbols below return the browser to the top of the page.)

Welcome to the online syllabus supporting Public Policy for the summer of 2011. This course, organized around a dedicated Internet site, explains the processes that shape public policy in the United States, emphasizing environmental policy, economic policy, globalization, and sustainable development --- and what it all means for you.

Goals ^

Two principal goals should direct your effort here:

  1. The student should identify, explain, and apply key concepts and terms underlying the public policy process, grasping public policy as an unfolding dynamic.
  2. The student should demonstrate an operational comprehension of public policy options that support sustainability.

To guide our inquiry, we will consider these basic questions:

  1. What is public policy? How broad is its scope? How does public policy involve and impact us? Does the public policy making process work effectively?
  2. How is the public policy agenda set? Who and what have been ignored? What is power? Who has it and who does not?
  3. How is public policy formulated? What institutions and actors make policy? What are the limits of rational analysis? Of politics? How is policy ultimately authorized?
  4. How is public policy implemented? How big and intrusive are government bureaucracies? How might the administration of programs be improved?
  5. Who pays for public policy? What is the public policy budget? How are taxes raised and lowered and for whom? What was the recent stimulus and deficit debate all about? What fiscal tools are used to steer national and global economies?
  6. How do we assess the effects of public policy? How is it working? How do we know? Who are the winners and the losers?

Aspects of globalization and sustainability will be explained and discussed, consistent with the Ramapo College Mission Statement. Cases illustrating policy dynamics will be drawn from current events within the USA and around the world.

Course Resources ^

The course materials are:

  1. The main text is my The Public Policy Web Site. A running commentary will be linked from our course wiki Bulletin Board. Frequently visit our schedule of class activities, an essential course resource that lays out the sequence and timing of events.
  2. Lester R. Brown. Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2009. List price: $16.95. (Do not use Plan B 3.0.)
  3. Keep tuned and informed: Digest daily a diverse menu of news media and keep. Please enroll for an online digital subscription to the New York Times. While we should all digest a variety of news sources, we should all share one source of record for our course. The New York Times covers local, state, national, and international news.

Experiential learning: Students will closely follow current national and international affairs. We will all peruse the New York Times and be prepared to inject policy-relevant issues throughout the course. This fulfills the Ramapo College requirement for an experiential learning component in this course.

Grading and Assignments ^

Grading will be based on the following distribution:

  1. A short essay will cover the introduction through agenda, counting 16 points.
  2. An essay that explains the Public Policy Cycle will count 32 points.
  3. A world sustainability policy report will count 32 points.
  4. Participation and experiential learning carry 20 points and will be assessed through participation using the wiki and email. Class discussions of breaking policy issues will be carried through the wiki.

Detailed memoranda on the course wiki will explain these assignments well in advance.

Grades will be scaled in the standard fashion: A = 93 and above; A- = 90 to 92; B+ = 87 to 89; B = 83 to 86; B- = 80 to 82; C+ = 77 to 79; C = 73 to 76; C- = 70 to 72; D+ = 67 to 69; D = 60 to 66; F < 60.

The timetable of class events is displayed in the course Schedule web page and will be updated as needed. Please consult the class schedule and the Bulletin Board before each class--and be prepared. The rules of academic integrity set forth in the Student Handbook will be enforced.

Contact, and Special Needs ^

I will use a dedicated email site to separate the communications for Public Policy from my overall flow: The course wiki Bulletin Board will provide ample opportunity for comments and participation. I will invite the class roster to join the wiki community shortly before the start of the semester.

Students with special needs should contact me at their earliest convenience. Individual accommodations for special needs will be cheerfully arranged. Welcome aboard!

The Public Policy Cycle Web Site | © Wayne Hayes, Ph.D. | ™ ProfWork |
Initialized: 5/22/2001 | Last Update: 05/24/2011