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Public Policy Syllabus, Summer 2014
ENST20750 #30213

This is the syllabus for ENST20750 (course #30213) offered by Professor Wayne Hayes as an online course offered in the Summer Session I semester at 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. To contact me, please email me at my Ramapo eddress:

Welcome to the online syllabus supporting Public Policy for the summer of 2014. 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.

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.

Course Description and Curricular Role

The Ramapo College Catalog includes this course despricption for Public Policy (ENST 207): A systematic approach to the political processes and institutions which shape public policy in the U.S. Case studies focus on current policy determination, economic and fiscal affairs, and environmental regulation. The course's curricular role includes the examination of public policy supporting sustainability. The course carries four credits.

ENST207 fulfills several curricular roles:

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, the Public Policy Cycle. The student will demonstrate proficiency in achieving this goal through two essays submitted as the course proceeds.
  2. The student should demonstrate an operational comprehension of public policy options that support sustainability. the student will demonstrate achievement of this goal through a short paper based largely on course material that provides policies that support sustainability.

To guide our inquiry, we will consider these basic related 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 and the course's curricular role. Cases illustrating policy dynamics will be drawn from current events within the USA and around the world. Your final essay will demonstrate a competence in desigining and explaining a public policy program for sustainability.

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. World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2011.
  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 comprehensively covers local, state, national, and international news.

Course Enrichment Component ^

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. Pay special attention to these topics: energy, environment, climate change, and inequality. As important topics emerge, I will call them to your attention to the interactive Public Policy wiki.

Expect to spend one hour per week examining current news media for articles that relate to course material. During the first three weeks, study aspects of the Public Policy Cycle. In the last two weeks, focus on aspects of sustainability policy.

Grading and Assignments ^

Grading will be based on the following distribution:

  1. Two short essay questions will cover the introduction through agenda, counting 20 points.
  2. An essay that explains the Public Policy Cycle will count 32 points.
  3. The Course Enrichment Component for experiential learning counts 6 points.
  4. A world sustainability policy report will count 32 points.
  5. Participation counts 10 points and will be assessed, largely through participation using the wiki and email. Class discussions of contemporaty policy issues will be carried out 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. I will prorate the grading assignments to conform to these norms.

The timetable of class events is displayed in the course Schedule web page and will be updated as needed. The rules of academic integrity set forth in the Student Handbook will be enforced.

Contact Information and Special Needs ^

Stay in touch with me via my Ramapo College email: 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. Reasonable accommodations for special needs will be cheerfully arranged. Welcome aboard!

The Public Policy Cycle Web Site | © Wayne Hayes, Ph.D. | ™ ProfWork |
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