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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Robert D. Plotnick
PB AF 573
Seattle Campus

Topics in Education and Social Policy

Examines various issues of public importance in the areas of education and social policy. Focuses on in-depth analysis of relevant issues and the integration of the economic, administrative, and political dimensions of these issues.

Class description


This course provides a multidisciplinary introduction to poverty and antipoverty policies in the United States. It will extend over two quarters. Winter term will focus on how poverty is measured, its causes, and its consequences for children. Spring term will address the politics and evolution of US social welfare policy, compare US social welfare policies to those in other affluent countries, analyze the effects of specific policies on household income and poverty, discuss how policies affect labor market, demographic and other behaviors, and consider the equity-efficiency trade-offs created by public policies. Readings will be drawn from the fields of developmental psychology, economics, political science, public policy, sociology, and social welfare. Other UW poverty experts from several disciplines will teach some of the topics.

Student learning goals

Knowledge of current literature on course topics

Knowledge of current policy issues on course topics

Ability to critically analyze relevant research literature from multiple disciplines

Ability to critically analyze policy debates and proposals relevant to course topics

Be able to orally present advanced research articlesand lead discussion of them

General method of instruction

Seminar - discussion is largely driven by student interests and reactions to the readings. Student presentations. Some lectures by instructor

Recommended preparation

The seminar is for students from the social sciences and applied social sciences who are interested in taking a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding these issues and in improving their abilities to critically assess policy relevant social science research. Students are expected to have had at least two graduate level courses in quantitative methods, with an emphasis on applied regression analysis.

Class assignments and grading

Read assigned readings and be prepared to discuss them Preparation of discussion questions based on readings Presentations and critiques of selected assigned articles Written critiques of articles

Quality of participation, oral presentations and written critiques. Regularity of submission of discussion questions

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Blake N Cooper
Date: 03/03/2008