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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Nives Dolsak
SMEA 550
Seattle Campus

Special Topics in Marine Studies

Examination of various aspects of marine studies. Content varies, depending upon the interests of the faculty and students. Intended for the joint participation by the faculty and advanced students in the investigation of selected topics. One or more groups are organized each quarter.

Class description

Public sector across levels of governance is under increasing pressure to provide better services with fewer resources. Policy analysts and public managers, therefore, need to be able to prioritize what services will be offered and evaluate whether the programs designed to provide such services have been effective and efficient. This course focuses on methods and approaches used in policy analysis. We will examine and apply most commonly used approaches and methods for evaluating policy needs, impacts and outcomes, including, but not limited to projections, cost-benefit analysis, and regression models. The class will meet 7 times for 2 to 2.5 hours on UW Bothell campus. Students will also be expected to complete several assignments employing the above methods, using computer software capable of running projections, spreadsheets, and regressions. Students will have the choice of completing some of these assignments during the second half of the class session with the instructor’s supervision or on their own over the weekend.

Student learning goals

Development of skills required for designing, conducting, and communicating policy analysis.

Application of some most commonly used software tools, such as Excel, SPSS or other appropriate software.

Critically review published policy analysis.

Develop an independent policy analysis proposal.

General method of instruction

I use seminar approach. Students read assigned readings prior to the class and come prepared to discuss and apply them in class. The first half of the class is dedicated to lecture and discussion of policy analysis methods. Subsequently, students complete several assignments employing the discussed methods either independently or with the instructor’s input. Students also report on a published policy analysis document and develop their proposal for a policy analysis project of their interest.

Recommended preparation

While this course has no formal prerequisites, prior knowledge of basic statistics (including, but not limited to analysis of variance and multivariate regression) and pre-calculus (exponential functions) will be advantageous. Similarly, familiarity with Excel and SPSS or other software able to estimate multivariate regression will be helpful.

Class assignments and grading

Review of published policy analysis; hands-on excercises analyzing projections (season- and trend-adjusted), cost-benefit analysis; development of a policy analysis proposal.

Collecting Policy Analysis Information (14%); Projection Techniques (22%); Distributional Weights (5%); Cost-Benefit Analysis (10%); Journal article presentation (14%); Policy Analysis Proposal (oral and written; 35%)


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 Nives Dolsak
Date: 02/14/2012