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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center
Dartmouth College
6082 Rockefeller Hall
Hanover, NH 03755 USA
603 646-3874
Rockefeller Center
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Policy Research Shop

The Policy Research Shop [PRS] is your opportunity to contribute directly to the public policy debate in Vermont and New Hampshire by providing valuable, non-partisan research to legislators on critical issues facing each state. You will begin your work with an intensive research class in the fall term, which can be followed by additional research as an independent study or a paid internship. You will meet directly with elected officials and staff as you develop and refine high-quality research products.

PRS 100th Brief

How to Get Started

Students interested in participating in the Policy Research Shop, under the direction of Professor Ronald Shaiko, must complete PBPL 45: Introduction to Public Policy Research during the fall term. PBPL 45, taught by Professor Ron Shaiko, Associate Director of the Rockefeller Center, will prepare students with the fundamental methods for conducting public policy research. The course will also provide students with the opportunity to meet practitioners and policymakers from the Vermont and New Hampshire legislatures.

Support for the PRS

FIPSE logoThe PRS is supported by a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). The PRS reports were developed under FIPSE grant P116B100070 from the U.S. Department of Education. However, the contents of the PRS reports do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.Ford Foundation logo  The PRS was supported by the Ford Foundation from 2007 through 2011. 


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Recent News Articles

Spring 2014 PRS Students and Mentors

PRS 12s

  • Back Row (L to R): Professor Ronald Shaiko, Diana Ming, Kristo Jorgenson, Aislinn McLaughlin, Patrick Saylor, Avery Feingold, and Ashneil Jain, Professor Matt Cravens
  • Front Row (L to R): Ke Zhao, Ayushi Narayan, Anne Ressler, Sakin Abu Boakye, Nick Shallow, Sean Connolly, Phoebe Racine, Jake Perkins, Professor Tim Ruback

2014-2015 PRS Mentors

prs mentors 1314

(L to R) Professors Matthew Cravens, Ron Shaiko, and Tim Ruback.


PRS Director

ShaikoProfessor Ronald G. Shaiko is a Senior Fellow and the Associate Director for Curricular and Research Programs at The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences. The 2014-2015 academic year marks his twenty-eighth year of university teaching and his fourteenth year at Dartmouth College. In November of 2007, he received the Linda '82 and Paul Gridley Faculty Fellow Award from the Dean of the College; the award recognizes exemplary faculty involvement outside of the classroom. Prior to coming to Dartmouth, Shaiko was the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Politics in the American Studies Center at Warsaw University in Poland during the 2000-2001 academic year. Throughout the decade of the 1990s, Shaiko taught at American University, where he founded and served as the academic director of the Lobbying Institute. During his 10 years at American, Shaiko served as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1993-1994 and as a Democracy Fellow at the United States Agency for International Development in 1998-1999. During his twenty-eight years of teaching, he has received more than $1.3 million in grants, awards, and fellowships. Shaiko holds a B.A. in Political Science and History from Ursinus College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.


 cole_headshotMargaret Post is a Visiting Scholar at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy. Post holds a Doctorate in Social Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, and a Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. For over ten years, she has worked as a community organizer, educator, and scholar. Her research interests include the role of grassroots organizations in social policy change and the civic development of young people and new immigrants. In addition to teaching courses on organizing and public policy, Post conducts trainings for a broad range of non-profit and political organizations. In 2007, Post received the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award from the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Bailis Family Social Justice Award from the Heller School at Brandeis University. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the publication, Diversity and Democracy, and is a member of the Next Generation Engagement Project at the New England Resource Center for Higher Education. Prior to joining the Rockefeller Center, Post was Director of the Donelan Office of Community Based Learning at Holy Cross (Worceseter, MA).


cravensMatthew Cravens is a Post-Doctoral Fellow, Manager of the Policy Research Shop, and Visiting Assistant Professor at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota and graduated from Tufts University magna cum laude. Prior to beginning his graduate studies, he worked as a research associate and research assistant in the Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where he conducted quantitative research and co-authored reports on health care financing, the uninsured, and medical expenditures. His current teaching and research interests are broadly in the areas of political behavior, public policy, and quantitative methods. His dissertation develops and tests a theory of habitual voting that describes the psychological factors responsible for the formation of voting habits over time, and the electoral policies and get-out-the-vote messages that make and break voting habits. He is currently completing research projects on how criminal justice policies diffuse and are reformed across states, and the influence of material, pocketbook interests on health and economic policy attitudes.


ruback_headshot Timothy Ruback is a Mentor of the Policy Research Shop, and Visiting Assistant Professor at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy. Ruback received his B.A. from Bates College and did his graduate training at Arizona State University (Ph.D. 2008). His research interests focus upon the ways in which intersection of theory and methodology works to shape and enclose our understandings of global political life. These themes were addressed in his dissertation, titled The Thucydides Function: International Relations Theory as Interpretations of The Peloponnesian War. His current research addresses these themes in the context of border politics and militarized interstate manhunts. He is most recently the author of "'Let Me Tell the Story Straight On: Middlemarch, Process-Tracing Methods, and the Politics of Narrative" which won the British Journal of Politics and International Relations award for the Best Article in 2010. Before coming to Dartmouth, Professor Ruback taught courses in international relations and foreign policy at Smith College. His courses at Dartmouth will address themes of leadership and global public policy.


PRS Policy Briefs by Year












2014-2015 PRS Policy Briefs

2013-2014 PRS Policy Briefs

2012-2013 PRS Policy Briefs

2011-2012 PRS Policy Briefs 

2010-2011 PRS Policy Briefs

2009-2010 PRS Policy Briefs

2008-2009 PRS Policy Briefs

2007-2008 PRS Policy Briefs

2006-2007 PRS Policy Briefs

2005-2006 PRS Policy Briefs

2004-2005 PRS Policy Briefs


If You Are a Legislator

Students who participate in the PRS are committed to providing accurate research that responds to the needs of elected policymakers and their legislative staff throughout the year. Our researchers examine emerging issues of concern that are relevant to legislative discussions in both New Hampshire and Vermont. These topics are selected through a consultative process with policy stakeholders. Project reports produced by PRS students are nonpartisan and do not advocate for particular policy outcomes.

The PRS typically produces reports with opportunities for follow-up research upon request. Our goal is to provide useful information in a clear format, and to deliver this information in a timely manner so that it is useful during legislative deliberation. You may browse previous reports here. If you are interested in working with our students on a policy research project this year, we would be delighted to discuss it with you. Our students will work hard to bring their research skills to assist your committee in meeting its policy needs.

For More Information Contact

Last Updated: 3/10/15