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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

David S. Harrison
PB AF 513
Seattle Campus

Public Policy Analysis

Production and use of analysis to support public policy decisions. Defining problems, devising alternative solutions, clarifying stakes in choices, predicting impacts of choices. Skills developed by working on specific policy problems. Assumes familiarity with statistics, microeconomic theory, and institutions and processes of American government. Prerequisite: PB AF 516 or permission of instructor.

Class description

Policy Analysis is intended to help students develop and apply the skills of a policy analyst for use in a very broad range of professional settings, primarily in government and non-profit organizations.

Student learning goals

The ability to assess the political, policy, management and other contexts in which new public policies are reviewed, formulated and adopted and to integrate policy analytical methods into those contexts

The design and use of customized, client-specific policy analytical processes, which define and assess problems; devise criteria through which to judge conceivable policy responses; construct policy alternatives; use the criteria to weigh these options; determine the course of action; and consider implementation steps

The application of qualitative and quantitative measures

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

This course will rely on several related approaches to help each student gain better understanding and use of policy analytical skills. These include class discussion and lectures; readings from two texts and other materials; analysis of six public policy cases; student presentations, and development by each student of a major public policy analysis project (see attachment).

These 12-15 page projects will cover each stage of a formal policy analytical process. Student projects will be self-selected. During the term, students will turn in three separate assignments related to the project, each of which may be incorporated into the final paper.

Cases provide an important learning tool. In one instance (North Carolina and the Battle for Business) students will be organized into small groups to examine the case and report back to the class. In one other instance (Buying Time: the Dollar a Day Program) students will prepare individual policy memos. None of the other cases involve written assignments, but students are expected to come to the class fully knowledgeable of all of each case’s dimensions and ready to participate in class discussions.

Grades will be determined based upon the major project, including the three submissions on the project in progress (60%), the Dollar a Day case memo (20%); and class participation, including the presentations on North Carolina and the Battle for Business (20%).


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: 03/08/2010