The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

"The Direct Line"- Fall 2006

Article Type 

Rockefeller Center Director Andrew Samwick provides commentary on a variety of issues in the Direct Line, which is published at the start of each term.

For many years, the Rockefeller Center has offered opportunities to Dartmouth students to pursue their interests in public policy on- and off-campus, inside and outside of the classroom. Beginning with the Class of 2010, we seek to better integrate the curricular and co-curricular aspects of the Center's programming and to do so earlier in the student's time at Dartmouth.

The First-Year Initiative begins with “Introduction to Public Policy,” (PBPL 5) in winter term 2007, a new course on the policy making process that serves as the gateway to the Public Policy Minor. Students who do well in the course and also complete any research methods course in a Social Science department will be invited to apply to be a Rockefeller Fellow, which opens the door to additional programs: a summer public policy internship and a special Civic Skills Training immediately preceding the internship. Both the training and the internship take place in Washington, DC and are funded fully or in part, respectively, by the Rockefeller Center.

When these students return to campus to begin their sophomore years, they will be ready to take on a broader and deeper range of pursuits. With the first two courses in the Public Policy Minor behind them, they can sharpen their public policy focus in the Center's Policy Research Shop, beginning with the fall term course, “Introduction to Public Policy Research,” (PBPL 45) and continuing with an independent study or paid research assistantship in the winter or spring terms. They can also further their Public Policy Minors, with core courses on communications and ethics as well as courses on their policy area of interest. Outside the classroom, these students will be better prepared to take advantage of co-curricular activities, including nightly student discussion groups and publications such as the Dartmouth Law Journal, as well as the possibility of additional public policy internships and the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows program in later years.

Those of us who nostalgically remember our undergraduate years often wonder how they could have gone by so quickly. At the Rockefeller Center, we launch the First-Year Initiative to make sure that incoming classes of Dartmouth students with an interest in public policy have the opportunity to become fully immersed in our programs from the moment they arrive. We expect that they, too, will someday remember them fondly—and be proud of how much they accomplished.

Andrew A. Samwick is the Director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences, the Sandra L. and Arthur L. Irving '72a, P'10 Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College, and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. In 2003 and 2004, he served as chief economist on the staff of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. 
Since joining the Dartmouth faculty in 1994, his scholarly work has covered a range of topics, including pensions, saving, taxation, portfolio choice, and executive compensation. Professor Samwick has been published in American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Finance, Journal of Public Economics, and a number of specialized journals and conference volumes. He graduated summa cum laude with a degree in economics from Harvard College and received his Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He blogs about economics, politics, and current events.

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