Public Policy Track Courses
PBPL 26: Health Policy & Clinical Practice
Health care in the United States costs more than in other countries, but is it better? Answering this question requires understanding a wide range of subjects, including the pathophysiology of disease, clinical decision making, epidemiology, and public policy. This course provides an introduction to these tools. We will also consider additional questions: Is more screening and early diagnosis the best way to stay healthy? Does more treatment always help people feel better? And how has the “Dartmouth School” of health policy contributed to the debate? Dist: SOC; WCult: W.
PBPL 28/GOVT 30.09: Law, Courts, and Judges
Many critics see judges as “policy makers in robes” while others, perhaps naively, would never think of judges as “policy makers.” In this course we will investigate the role that legal institutions, particularly courts, play in public policy making. We will think about the similarities and differences between courts and other political institutions in the policy making process. The course considers questions such as: What role do practical policy considerations play in judicial decision making? How can groups use courts to pursue public policy change? How much impact do courts and judges have on policy outcomes on the ground? Do courts have the capacity to make good public policy, and is judicial policy making desirable? We will address these questions by looking at the U.S. Supreme Court as well as lower courts, and will examine a variety of substantive applications including educational funding, tobacco regulation, and campaign finance. Distr: SOC. WCult: W.
PBPL 51: Leadership in Civil Society
This course examines the relationship between leadership and civil society. Known commonly as the “nonprofit” sector, civil society mediates the space between citizens and the state, and is often how citizens engage in public problem solving, have a direct impact on policy, and participate in civic life. This course focuses on aspects of leadership directly applicable to organizational manifestations of civil society: nongovernmental and social movement organizations, philanthropy, religious institutions, media, and public interest groups. Students will explore nonprofit and public leadership as it relates to these organizations, and critically analyze concepts of social capital, grassroots mobilization, interest group influence, organizational maintenance, political representation, and civic action. The course also looks at political parties and coalitions as aggregators of societal interests and as intermediaries between citizens and the state. Dist: SOC; WCult: W.
PBPL 52/GOVT 30.02: Leadership and Political Institutions
This course explores how political leaders in the U.S. reconcile the constraints of public office with the opportunities to make major changes in society. Drawing from diverse materials on the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, the course explores the following questions: How does leadership differ in the public and private spheres? What personal skills and attributes affect the success or failure of leaders of political institutions? What criteria do/should citizens apply to public leaders? How do political context and historical contingency shape institutional leadership? Dist: SOC; WCult: W.