PA 200 Contemporary Public Policy Issues

The goal of this class is to offer a general primer on large-scale social, economic and other policies directed by federal and state governments, with specific examples in pressing policy areas. Students will gain a broad overall knowledge of how the majority of state and federal funding is both raised and spent, and the associated policy issues and outcomes. The class takes existing policies and the policy process as a given, explains a subset of them in detail, and puts a focus on a set of specific contemporary public policy questions of concern to policymakers and society. A student of this class will gain a broad overall knowledge of how the majority of state and federal funding is spent and the policy outcomes associated with that spending, including its impacts on society.

PA 201 Introduction to Health Policy in the United States

Offers an introduction to health policy in the United States. Examines the ways in which government plays a role in the provision and regulation of health care. Explores key aspects of health policy including the economics of health care (e.g., paying for and access to health care; the health care workforce; the role of markets and consequences of market/government failures, public policy that supports or promotes health; health care outcomes, quality, and disparities; and tools for evaluation) and special topics of interest such as policy addressing risky health behaviors, aging, mental health, and the Affordable Care Act. Think critically about public and private health issues using the policy analysis process, including policy interventions and their justifications, and gain skills in articulating and communicating policy positions.

PA 240 Evidence-Based Policy Making

Facilitates skill-building to answer questions such as how policymakers use research and evidence in their jobs, how researchers can make their work useful to policymakers, and how legislative support staff and other stakeholders use research and evidence to shape policy. Students will explore the definition of “evidence-based”, learn about different kinds of evidence and how it is used, and learn strategies for judging the rigor of research evidence. They will also explore the difference between an education-based approach to working with policymakers versus an advocacy-based approach, learn strategies for communicating research to policy makers (including written and oral presentations and data visualizations), research examples of successful evidence-based policymaking efforts, and understand the limits of using research in policymaking.

PA 278 Public Leadership

Leadership is one of the most important but perplexing topics in the public sector; almost all agree its important, but we often disagree about what it actually means, or how to study it. This course aims to demystify the role of leadership in a public setting.