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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Steven Rathgeb Smith
PB AF 570
Seattle Campus

Foundations of Social Policy

Examines major institutions and programs in social policy including: income maintenance, social services, education, and healthcare. Focuses on American social policy with some attention to comparative welfare state development. Includes extensive discussion of different policy strategies to address social policy problems.

Class description

Public Affairs 570 is designed for students interested in American social policy, although comparative perspectives on the American welfare state will also be discussed. The course will examine the current scope of U.S. social welfare policy including its history, major themes, and objectives; and the current social conditions within which social policies operate. It examines the competing social and political values that have shaped and continue to shape American social welfare policy and directly compares various American social policies with other countries. Thus, the course will situate American social policy within a broader understanding of the welfare state in the U.S. and abroad. The course also will extensively address the design and implementation of social policy with an emphasis on the use of different policy tools or strategies. Topics to be covered include: contracting with nonprofit organizations, tax credits, vouchers, faith-based organizations, and individual development accounts. During the course, the role of race and gender in shaping social policy and the response of citizens and clients to different social policies will also be discussed. The course will also address the importance of health policy to our understanding of social policy. The course will be conducted as a seminar. Class sessions will emphasize active student participation and discussion.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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: 10/13/2008