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Public Policy Analysis (Spring 2016 Syllabus)

As my followers on Twitter will know, it’s rare that I am asked to teach in the Spring. Normally I only teach in the fall (I have a 2-0 teaching load which this year turns into 2-1). But I’m really excited to go back to teaching policy theory rather than area courses. This Spring 2016 I will be teaching Public Policy Analysis. This is an undergraduate-level course (3rd year), but since I have graduate students taking it I will be adding components for those graduate students. Since my objective of increasing representation of female scholars, younger academics and underrepresented minorities is a priority for me, I had to entirely rewrite the course syllabus to make room for those who aren’t normally represented in the literature (syllabi, etc.) This process took the better part of two weeks. But I’m quite proud of how my syllabus worked out.

Here is the course abstract and goals, and the PDF version can be downloaded here.

Public Policy Analysis (Spring 2016)

Instructor: Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega

Course Goal and Prerequisites

The goal of this course is to provide you with both theoretical tools and practical skills to undertake applied policy analysis. While the course is primarily focused at the national level, it is quite likely that we will analyze state-level and local-level policies. At the same time, we will also learn a lot of comparative public policy theory. While it would be nice if you had a robust understanding of the institution of federalism and the Mexican institutional architecture neither of these is a mandatory requirement.

Course Objectives:

The course is designed as a survey of the literature on policy analysis, both from a methodological perspective and a theoretical one. We will also spend a substantial amount of time undertaking comparative cross-national policy analysis. Some of the content of the course will also be focused on policy learning, transfer and lesson drawing. Due to time constraints, the course content is necessarily a broad overview and students must go beyond the assigned readings in order to write their assignments. Using only assigned readings will not lead to a good grade!

The course is designed to provide the student with a broad understanding of the tools and techniques we use to analyze public policies. While the assumption of the course is that previous courses in public policy may have touched on the basic policy cycle theoretical tenets, we will also start from a common, homogeneous foundation bringing everyone to speed with the basic literature.

The course is also intended to help students develop practical skills to describe, analyze and synthesize data regarding, amongst other topics, the political dynamics of urban policy problems, the potential for cross-level and cross-regional collaboration and policy learning, the policy challenges of an aging population, etc. This course is eminently practical and thus I expect you to follow policy developments in Mexico on a daily basis.

As a survey public policy course, I will be touching on several substantive policy areas (namely, urban policy, water policy, climate policy, cultural policy, education policy and security policy) where the national, international and subnational dynamics plays a substantive role.

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