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Why Study Public Policy

By 234ubiodee Mar 27, 2011 732 Words
Why Study Public Policy?
Start by considering these five reasons why the study of public policy should be important to you: 1. As inheritors of an enduring democracy, also the sole superpower, we have both the opportunity and the responsibility to participate in civic affairs. We need know-how: the analytical, ethical, and practical skills necessary to effectively engage in public affairs. Regard this responsibility as a life-long duty. 2. The sheer extent of the intervention of government in society, the economy, and world affairs makes the study of public policy essential for a conscientious citizen. Similarly, the amount of spending by government at all levels makes this an important subject. As taxpayers, we have a stake in effective public policy and the overall scope of the government in our lives. We consume a vast and varied bundle of public services. A detailed, current discussion of the dimensions, growth, and composition of government spending will be provided in chapter five, which deals with the budget as part of the policy cycle. 3. Understanding policy analysis permits us to actualize solutions to practical problems which are brought to the agenda of government. These may be our own problems, those of our community, our profession, or problems to which we feel a special commitment. Knowing how public policy works can improve our ability to deal with these issues. 4. Public policy analysis can become a professional role for students trained in political science, economics, law, environmental studies, business, and other disciplines. These fields constantly interface with government and have a direct stake in the quality and character of public policy. To the extent that analysts can understand how policy is made, what impacts are derived, and how policy can improve, more effective public policy might be formulated. 5. The Ramapo College Mission Statement emphasizes teaching character building and effective citizenship. Public Policy respects and supports that obligation. The next section provides discusses the scope of public policy.

Why Study Public Policy at St. Mary's?

Public policy decisions touch nearly every aspect of daily life, although we often fail to recognize or understand their impact. Daily, we are exposed to the policy proposals and preferences of those in or seeking office and they are in turn influenced by the preferences of the public and the pressures of organized interest groups. Given the impact that policy choices can have on our lives it is essential that we have an understanding of how policy choices are made and how we might evaluate those choices. Why do we need this knowledge? Policymakers are more responsive to the demands and interests of an active and informed public. Purpose

The purpose of the Public Policy major is to equip students with sufficient competence in analytical skills supported by social science theory to prepare them for graduate or professional work. Majors should be sufficiently prepared to seek positions in organizations which deal with public policy issues: business firms, trade associations, lobbying organizations, and government agencies. The major provides students with the factual, analytical, practical, and theoretical skills necessary for contemporary policy design, implementation, and evaluation. Interdisciplinary Nature

Public policy is interdisciplinary in nature; it is affected by social and economic conditions, political as well as cultural values, and the structure of government. The study of public policy requires the integration of knowledge from multiple disciplines to understand and critically assess public problems and potential solutions. The Public Policy major draws upon the knowledge and experience usually available through separate majors such as anthropology, economics, sociology, and political science. Only through a coordinated exposure to these fields can a student understand how they interact in the world of public policy. Perfect Choice for Double Majors

The interdisciplinary nature of the major makes it a good choice for students considering a double major in related disciplines. Current Public Policy Degree Requirements
Advising and Additional Questions
A student who chooses to major in Public Policy should select an adviser from the political science or public policy faculty, and in conjunction with the adviser, plan a program that is appropriate to the needs and objectives of the students. Students who have questions about the public policy major should consult with Todd Eberly, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Policy and Coordinator of the major. Professor Eberly is available via e-mail: or by phone at 240-895-4391.

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