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

Ronald Shaiko

Engineering Sciences Major Modified with Public Policy

Modified majors are a popular option for Dartmouth students. Intended to fit the needs of a student who has a definite interest in the major department, but whose interests cannot be fulfilled in one singular department, these majors exemplify what a liberal arts degree is all about.

Tyler Baum ’20 and Hunter Cohen ’20 are each a great example of how a modified major works perfectly for their career goals. Cohen knew he was interested in working at an engineering company but did not want to be an engineer as he was more interested in looking at the nuances of policy in different fields than solely developing a technical background. Baum was interested in the intersection of engineering and the business side of the manufacturing industry. Dartmouth gave each the perfect opportunity to develop the technical and analytical skill sets necessary for these careers with the Engineering and Public Policy major, a joint offering of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Thayer School of Engineering.

Experiential Learning: PBPL 85 Global Policy Leadership

Global citizenship and engagement are key. Understanding one’s place in the world and the complexities of international policy dilemmas truly allow for one to become a global citizen—an identity especially important in our modern world. At Dartmouth, every year, Public Policy 85: Global Policy Leadership (PBPL 85) offers our public policy students a unique experimental learning opportunity that allows them to deconstruct cross-cultural barriers and become well versed in the intricacies of global policy through a combination of classroom instruction and international travel.

The course begins in the classroom during the fall term, when a select group of students study the history and context of a public policy challenge in a particular country or region. Students are introduced to the process of assessing problems and developing solutions to the challenge, practices important to cultivating civically engaged, global leaders.

Leadership in Civil Society

Professor Ronald Shaiko started off his January 12 Rockefeller Leadership Fellows session simply – defining exactly what he meant by civil society. As he put it, civil society is the “social and political space between the citizen and the state.” Organizations like Rotary clubs, medical not-for-profits, and environmental advocacy groups all fit in this space. Beyond these organizations merely existing though, Professor Shaiko emphasized that the US government actually facilitates their existence, through “carrots” like tax exemptions and reduced-cost postage.

PBPL 85 Visits Dnipro, Ukraine

This past Monday, Professor Shaiko and the Political and Legal Team (Andrew Weckstein, Michelle Li, Kevin Zhang) took a trip to Dnipro, an Eastern city only 100 miles west of the conflict in the Donbas. Although Dnipro is home to nearly 2 million people, the downtown area seemed more like a sprawling town than one of the largest cities in Ukraine. The cold weather, grimy streets, and eerie music on the bus gave Dnipro a somber and Soviet feel.

Our first interview was with a representative from “StopFake,” an organization aiming to identify and refute false information presented in the media. This interview provided an interesting perspective on the “Hybrid War” between Russia and Ukraine and the impact of Kremlin propaganda on the Ukrainian public.

Our next interview was at Dopomoga Dnipra, a local NGO organization that provides social services and supports for those displaced by the conflict in the Donbas. Located in a formerly abandoned building, the run-down infrastructure housed some of the most enthusiastic and passionate civil activists that we have met this trip.

PBPL 85 Visits the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine

Grey skies; grey buildings. Churches standout: painted lemon yellow and tangerine orange, splashed with gold and pink. They’re bizarre tropical phantasies in land of Soviet phantoms. It’s welcome contrast for travel-weary eyes. Brutalist and bright, these architectural paradoxes blur past our van as we wind our way towards the Embassy.

Winter has arrived in Kiev. Snowflakes drift easily on a dry breeze. A security guard taps ash from a cigarette. He fixates on the windows of our van. I nod hello; he glares back greetings. His green camouflage uniform looks out of place in the grey-and-white checkerboard of Eastern Europe in December.

We get out. Inside the Embassy more security guards size up the group. No electronics, no water, no nonsense. They mean it. Of the fourteen of us, twelve are suspect: goods confiscated and bodies re-scanned. Burgeoning democracy though it may be, in Ukraine, you respect authority.

From Theory to Practice: PBPL 85 Global Policy Leadership

Experiential learning is central to the pedagogical vision of President Hanlon ’77. Public Policy 85: Global Policy Leadership (PBPL 85) perfectly translates that vision into reality for our public policy students every year.

The course begins in the classroom during the fall term, where a select group of students study the history and context of a public policy challenge in a particular country or region. Students are introduced to the process of assessing problems and developing solutions to the challenge, practices important to cultivating civically engaged, global leaders.

The class then travels to the country or region during Dartmouth’s winter interim to conduct field research. Students meet with local policy leaders: politicians, academics, civil society leaders, journalists, business leaders, diplomats, and other in-country experts who help inform their analyses.

“Finally, It’s Over: The 2016 Election and Its Aftermath”

How did we get to where we are today? Where are we going to go from here? This election cycle has been one of the most divisive campaigns in our nation’s history. It has been a very long and out-of-the-ordinary presidential campaign and a neck-and-neck U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire. A panel of American politics faculty members assessed the results of the national and state elections. This event analyzed the candidates and what their win – and loss – means for the state of New Hampshire and the rest of the countr and wrestled with the questions that have been bothering us throughout this election.

The panelists included Dartmouth College government professor and department chair Dean Lacy. Professor Lacy also serves as the Director of the Program in Politics and Law at the College. His research and teaching focuses on American and comparative politics, particularly elections, public opinion, and lawmaking. Additionally, Professor Lacy has written on the use and importance of economic sanctions in international relations, third party candidates, economic voting, referendums and initiatives, and divided government.

Steve Norton Visits PBPL 45 Class

On September 29, 2016, Steve Norton, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies, spoke with students in Professor Ron Shaiko's PBPL 45: Introduction to Public Policy Research class. 

Norton discussed the mission of NHCPPS as well as the Center's most recent 2016 publication, "What Is New Hampshire? An Overview of Issues Shaping the Granite State’s Future."  Student groups in the class are analyzing the data presented in this report as well as in similar reports published by the Center since 2011 and are formulating research reports for specific public policy clients in New Hampshire. 

Norton provided students with a broad substantive overview of the New Hampshire public policy agenda in Concord; he also fielded methodological questions regarding data collection and data quality when analyzing state-level policy issues.

Prior to joining NHCPPS as Executive Director in 2005, Steve Norton was Medicaid Director for the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. He also worked at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC throughout the decade of the 1990s.

Class of 1964 Policy Research Shop Goes International

Three veteran Policy Research Shop students—Morgan Sandhu ’17, Apoorva Dixit ’17, and Meghana Mishra ’17, along with Kristen Delwiche, a second year medical student at Geisel School of Medicine, participated in a five-month project that tested their policy research skills, project management skills, and teamwork skills in an international setting—Pristina, Kosovo.

In a joint effort between the Rockefeller Center and the Dickey Center for International Understanding, funded through the inaugural round of support provided by the Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI) of the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL), the four students were engaged in an advanced policy research seminar offered through the Rockefeller Center’s Public Policy Minor during the spring term.

Rockefeller Center Releases 2016 New Hampshire State of the State Poll

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences recently released the 2016 New Hampshire State of the State Poll, its ninth annual survey of New Hampshire's registered voters. The report assessed opinions on policy issues, elected officials, and the state of the economy in New Hampshire and in the United States.

“The poll results for both the presidential race and the contest for the U.S. Senate seat clearly identify New Hampshire as a battleground state in the 2016 election cycle,” says Professor Ronald Shaiko, senior fellow and associate director of curricular and research programs at the Rockefeller Center. “We can expect a great deal of attention to be paid to the state in terms of national media coverage as well as a significant influx of outside money into the state on behalf of and in opposition to candidates in both races."


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