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Social Policy

Boy reading, photo by Aaron Burden

The challenging arena of social policy - encompassing everything from education to health to criminal justice - is at the forefront of enhancing human and community well-being.

Within the Social Policy pillar, we prioritize practical training for both graduate and undergraduate students to enable their hiring into, and successful navigation within, a broad range of career opportunities that bear directly on the enhancement of human and community well-being. A key theme in this pillar is fostering ‘sophisticated awareness’ of the many pathways and pitfalls (technical, methodological, procedural and political) that comprise the challenging arena of Social Policy. Critically important is forging active connections among the School of Public Policy’s separate specializations and subordinate institutions as well as within the broader university and beyond. The pillar operates with a particular emphasis on the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives relevant within the Social Policy space.

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3 Credit(s)

Provides an overview of government's role in social policy and the history of the development of federal and state policies with respect to welfare, aging, education, and housing. Analyzes current federal institutions and legislation in the same policy areas and the demographic history of the United States. Develops skills in analytic writing and presentation of descriptive data. 
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Faculty: Peter Reuter
3 Credit(s)

Provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to understand, describe, and critique program evaluations, and also to identify the policy implications of specific findings. Using examples from domestic policy and international development, the course covers (1) process and summative evaluation issues, including data collection, causal validity, and generalizability; (2) economic evaluations, including cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit studies; and (3) performance measurement of ongoing programs.
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3 Credit(s)

Analyzes the origins, history, status, and future of health care as problems in political and economic theory and as puzzles in policy formation. Considers current American reform controversies in the light of several disciplines and in comparison to foreign experiences and structures.
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Faculty: R. H. Sprinkle
3 Credit(s)

For poor and low-income families, federal programs such as Medicaid, Child care, SNAP and child nutrition programs are a lifeline every day. Some programs also have policies that consider more than income eligibility, such as number of hours of work, disability, and immigration status. Budget choices have a significant impact on policy intentions. Students will learn about and analyze the major federal programs and federal budgets for these policy areas; understand from data the impact of such programs and policies; and be introduced to significant advocacy efforts and considerations that shaped hese policy decisions.
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Faculty: Adele Robinson
3 Credit(s)

Examines how governments and policymakers define poverty and the extent and demographics of contemporary poverty in the United States, other developed countries, and developing countries. Looks in detail at the official U.S. poverty measure and the Supplemental Poverty Measure developed by the Obama administration, as well as those developed by the World Bank and other international organizations. Explores the causes of poverty in the developed and developing world, and efforts to alleviate poverty over the last fifty years, focusing in the U.S. on income transfers, civil rights and equal opportunity, and efforts to increase human and social capital (with a special focus on children, the elderly, and minorities), and focusing in the developing world on infrastructure development, governance, and corruption. Restricted to PLCY majors or permission of instructor.
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