|Instructor||Professor Elaine El-Khawas|
This course focuses on the policy process as it is exemplified in making decisions with respect to the major areas of higher education funding in Washington D.C. Recent legislation is analyzed in some depth, with comparisons to earlier periods and legislative approaches. The course seeks to help students arrive at a basic understanding of the national policy context that influences American higher education. Pertinent comparisons will be made to the policy process in other countries.
o To review concepts and theoretical frameworks for understanding public policy
o To identify the general elements of policy making.
o To describe the policy process as it currently operates in the U.S.
o To provide an overview of key policy issues currently being debated.
o To offer perspective on the role that research plays in the policy process.
o To give students a chance to explore the context for policy development of a significant federal policy issue.
Assigned readings for this seminar have been assembled into a course reader (available from Course Reader Material, 1141 Westwood Blvd.) The twenty-one readings include both current and “classic” analyses of higher education policy and exhibit a range of approaches. Many assume a familiarity with the topic, so students are expected to read all assigned reading before the class, outline the major points and identify points on which they will seek clarification in class.
Course requirements include: class attendance and participation (counting 20 percent of the grade); preparation of resource materials to be presented at one class session (30 percent of the grade); and preparation of a research paper, including a short presentation in class, (counting 50 percent of the grade).
1. Class Attendance and Participation:
Class sessions are an important way to integrate the different perspectives and information found in the readings. Students are expected to attend all classes and to:
- be active participants in the seminar. - be ready to discuss the assigned readings for each class. - bring questions to class based on the readings.
2. Class Reporting:
As part of your learning experience with this course, students are asked to be “reporters” for one class session, i.e., to serve as a resource for others on a major course topic. This is meant to give you greater depth of insight and information on this topic, as well as to model a collaborative approach to gaining insight into new areas of study.
Students will work in teams (of two to four students) to develop a plan, do additional reading and research beyond the assigned readings, and present information on one of the class topics scheduled for May 5 through May 26.
Each team should meet together to decide on approach, division of labor, and what the class report will be. Feel free to meet with me, together, to discuss your plan, but do so no later than a week before your group presentation.
Creative approaches to organizing the class discussion are welcome (skits, debates; presentation of a “better” law; role-playing to show different stakeholder views; dialogue outlining “pros” and “cons” of major policy alternatives; comparison of U.S. approaches to other countries).
The assignment, for each team, is to:
a. organize and hand out resource information on the topic, likely to include: -- a capsule summary of the current status of the issue; -- a chronology of major events; -- explanatory diagrams; -- pertinent tables or charts; -- key legal precedents, when applicable -- annotated bibliographies -- resource information: e.g., major actors and their addresses; useful websites and email addresses b. organize and lead a discussion during the first half of the class that will give attention to key points about the week’s topic. Be sure to distinguish between: -- factual points gained from your research and readings; -- views held by different sides of current debate; and -- your interpretation of what is significant about the topic. c. discuss the way that research is used to inform the topic, generally by describing some studies or analyses of the topic.
3. Research Paper:
(10-15 pp., typed, doublespaced, pages numbered) Due June 10th.
The paper must give an analysis of a specific federal policy issue that has received attention in the public policy process over the last few decades. Students also are asked to present a short summary of their paper in the last class session.
Topics must be approved in advance, based on a preliminary description of the proposed topic and a short bibliography of key sources that will be used in preparing the paper. The written proposal (2 to 3 pp.) is due April 28.
The objectives for this paper are: -- to give you solid background on the topic -- to help you gain familiarity with the policy process, with different policy concepts, and with the varying roles of key actors.
The paper must focus on a topic or issue where the federal government has taken action. It must describe the current status of the issue and offer contrast to the current situation, generally by describing and analyzing the way the issue has been treated in the past. A comparison to actions in another country could provide the contrast, instead.
Your analysis is to be factual, not advocacy. It can document different views on the issue and discuss different aspects of the broader issue, including an analysis of what is left out of current debate.
Weekly Schedule and Readings (To be read before Class Sessions)
Part I Conceptual Perspectives
Week One, April 7 -- Introduction
John Thelin. Campus and Commonwealth: A Historical Interpretation.
Walter Hobbs. The Courts.
Week Four, April 28 -- Proposals for research paper are due in class
Week Five, May 5 -- Policies for Increasing Access
Terry Hartle. Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
Gary Orfield. Federal Policy and College Opportunity: Refurbishing a Rusted Dream.
Patricia Graham, Richard Lyman, and Martin Trow. Executive Summary, Accountability of Colleges and Universities: An Essay.
Derek Bok. The Contributions of Academic Science to Greater Competitiveness.
Week Ten, June 9 -- Student Presentations.
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