Introduction to Public Policy

Fall 2006

MWF 9-9:50 Room AB1 317

 

Professor: Dunaway

Office: AB1 319 D

Phone: 936-294-4721 Ext. 4721

E-Mail: jdunaway@shsu.edu

Office Hours: MWF 10am-11am and by appointment

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course provides an overview of: 1) the policy process, and 2) substantive public policies. For the first several weeks we will examine the stages of policy making - agenda setting, decision making and formulation, implementation and evaluation - and review the roles played by governmental and non-governmental actors in each of these stages. We will learn also that not only are there different types of public policy - regulatory, distributive, redistributive, and constitutive - but that each type of policy engenders different political conflicts and controversies and political coalitions contesting the policies and issues at stake. The remaining weeks, constituting the bulk of the course, will be devoted to specific policy areas, where we can apply our knowledge of the policy process and politics to understand how and why we have the policies we do and the debates that surround them. Given its prominent role in recent public debate, we will pay special attention to immigration policy this semester.

TEXTS: Edwin S. Davis, Public Policy: The Basics , 2nd edition
John A. Hird, Controversies in American Public Policy , 3rd edition

 

ATTENDANCE POLICY: Class attendance is required. See general university regulations. Makeup exams are available only for verified and excused absences, and are given at the instructor's convenience.

EXAMS: There will be four exams, counting equally toward the final grade. The format of the exams will be partly objective — that is, matching/true-false questions, with — mostly —short identifications or essay. I reserve the right to change the format of the tests during the semester if I deem it necessary. Dates of exams listed in the syllabus are tentative, final dates will be announced in class.

GRADING PLAN: Grades are based on exams (80%) and out-of-class article assignments (20%). This means the four exams will be averaged and weighted 80%, while the out-of-class assignments together will be weighted 20% (I have yet to determine the calculation of article assignments). As noted, if it becomes necessary, daily quizzes can be incorporated into the grading scheme as well. For all assignments and exams the normal grading scale is used: 90 and above, A; 80-89, B; 70-79, C; 60-69, D; 59 and below, F.

 

Course Schedule: Topics

Reading

M

August 21

Introduction and Overview

 

W

August 23

The Impact of Public Policy

Davis, Chapter 1

F

August 25

Models of the Political System

Davis, Chapter 2

M

August 28

Conceptualizing the Policy Process

Davis, Chapter 3

W

August 30

TBA

TBA

F

September 1

TBA

TBA

M

September 4

NO CLASS – Labor Day

 

W

September 6

Actors in the Policy Process

Davis, Chapter 4

F

September 8

Types of Public Policy

Davis, Chapter 5

M

September 11

Policy Making and Institutions

Davis, Chapter 6

W

September 13

Agenda Setting and Policy Formation

Davis, Chapter 7

F

September 15

Policy Implementation

Davis, Chapter 8

M

September 18

Policy Evaluation

Davis, Chapter 9

W

September 20

Revenue, Spending and Deficits

Davis, Chapter 10

F

September 22

Exam I

 

M

September 25

Environmental Policy

Controversies pp. 113-143

W

September 27

Energy Policy

Controversies pp. 398-427

F

September 29

Growth Management

Controversies pp. 8-27

M

October 2

Gun Control

Controversies pp. 369-395

W

October 4

Drug Policy

Controversies pp. 316-366

F

October 6

Guns & Drugs

News articles due/Discussion

M

October 9

Abortion

Controversies pp.207-222

W

October 11

Campaign Finance

Controversies pp. 168-204

F

October 13

Abortion/Campaign Finance

News articles due/Discussion

M

October 16

Exam II

 

W

October 18

Entitlements

Controversies pp.57-78

F

October 20

Entitlements

Controversies pp.78-84

M

October 23

Welfare

Controversies pp. 225-239

W

October 25

Welfare

Controversies pp. 239-244

F

October 27

Welfare

News articles due/Discussion

M

October 30

Health

Controversies pp. 248-272

W

November 1

Health

Controversies pp. 273-289

F

November 3

Health

News articles due/Discussion

M

November 6

Education

Controversies pp. 30-40

W

November 8

Education

Controversies pp. 41-55

F

November 10

Exam III

 

M

November 13

Immigration

Controversies pp.146-165

W

November 15

Immigration

Handout 1

F

November 17

Immigration

Handout 2

M

November 20

Immigration

News articles due/Discussion

W

November 22

NO CLASS

 

F

November 24

NO CLASS

 

M

November 27

Affirmative Action

Controversies pp. 292-306

W

November 29

Affirmative Action

Controversies pp. 307-312

F

December 1

Affirmative Action

Handout 3

M

December 4

Media Policy

Handout 4

W

December 6

LAST CLASS DAY – Media Policy

Handout 5

December 11-14

Finals – Check finals schedule for date and time of exam for this class.

Supplemental Handout List: All handouts are available on hardcopy and electronic reserve at the library. Some are also available online at www.jstor.org You must have adobe acrobat on your machine to view, download, and/or print jstor articles, but adobe is available to download for free at www.adobe.com , and is already on the library and computer lab machines.

 

1. Binder, Norman E., J.L. Polinard, and Robert D. Wrinkle. 1997. “Mexican American and Anglo Attitudes toward Immigration Reform: A View from the Border.” Social Science Quarterly 78(2): 324-337. Electronic Reserve.

 

2. Branton, Regina , Gavin Dillingham , Johanna Dunaway, and Beth Miller. 2006. “Anglo Voting on Nativist Ballot Initiatives” Unpublished manuscript. Electronic Reserve.

 

3. Gilens, Martin, Paul M. Sniderman, and James H. Kuklinski. 1998.”Affirmative Action and the Politics of Realignment.” British Journal of Political Science 28: 159-183.    Electronic Reserve.

 

4. CQ Researcher. 2004. Issues for Debate in American Public Policy . Washington DC : CQ Press. Chapter 13. Electronic Reserve.

 

5. Gilens, Martin and Craig Hertzman. 2000. “Corporate Ownership and News Bias: Newspaper Coverage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.” The Journal of Politics 62(2):369-386. On electronic reserve or online (jstor): http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-3816%28200005%2962%3A2%3C369%3ACOANBN%3E2.0.CO%3B2-G

 

 

ASSIGNMENTS: First, students are required to complete their daily readings prior to class. While overnight comprehension is not expected, the combination of lectures and reading enhances the learning process. It also allows me the opportunity to ask questions and generate class discussion. Second, assignments come in a variety of formats in the effort to cater to all the individual learning styles and strengths in the classroom. Though there is variation in the types of exams and assignments given, writing assignments are frequent as they are most suitable for assessing critical thinking about the concepts being learned. Finally, I require interactive discussion of the readings and lecture material in class. In the class discussions, my role is to facilitate debate and provide input and clarification when it is needed. Students are encouraged to offer arguments and to challenge arguments offered in class. The exchange of perspectives exposes students to a diversity of viewpoints, allows them the opportunity to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the various arguments offered, and gives them a chance to hone their public speaking skills and their ability to advance and defend their own assertions. If during the semester class participation is not at a level I think is acceptable, I reserve the right to incorporate daily quizzes over the reading material.

 

 

ACADEMIC HONESTY: All students are expected to engage in all academic pursuits in a manner that is above reproach. Students are expected to maintain complete honesty and integrity in the academic experiences both in and out of the classroom. Any student found guilty of dishonesty in any phase of academic work will be subject to disciplinary action. The University and its official representatives may initiate disciplinary proceedings against a student accused of any form of dishonesty including, but not limited to, cheating on an examination or other academic work which is to be submitted, plagiarism, collusion, and the abuse of resource materials. Violation of this policy will result in a grade of 0 on an exam where there is cheating (for example, looking over at another student's exam during the exam, looking at any notes or cribs during the exam, etc.).

CLASSROOM RULES OF CONDUCT: Students will refrain from behavior in the classroom that intentionally or unintentionally disrupts the learning process and, thus, impedes the mission of the university. Cellular telephones and pagers must be turned off before the class begins. Students are prohibited from eating in class, using tobacco products, making offensive remarks, talking at inappropriate times, wearing inappropriate clothing, or engaging in any other form of distraction. Inappropriate behavior in the classroom shall result in a directive to leave class. Students who are especially disruptive also may be reported to the Dean of Students for disciplinary action in accordance with university policy.

VISITORS IN THE CLASSROOM: Unannounced visitors to class must present a current, official SHSU identification card to be permitted in the classroom. They must not present a disruption to the class by their attendance. If the visitor is not a registered student, it is at the instructor's discretion whether or not the visitor will be allowed to remain in the classroom.

STUDY TIPS: Students are strongly advised to take class notes. It also helps to keep up with the reading as we are addressing each topic rather than leave it until the night before the exam. Questions are always encouraged, either in class or out of class. Another tip is to find classmates to study with, comparing notes, etc.

INSTRUCTOR EVALUATIONS: Students will be asked to complete a course/instructor evaluation toward the end of the semester.

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: will be accommodated in any way possible. Please let the instructor know early on in the semester.

RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS: any student who needs to miss a class for the observance of a religious holiday will be accommodated in any way possible. Please let the instructor know early on in the semester.

Syllabus is subject to change if circumstances so dictate. This would happen only if, for example, we needed to shift material between exams for student convenience.