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Elective Politics and Policy-Making


Units: 6


Significant proposals in public policy at the local, state and federal level of the U.S. require usually require legislation to become a reality.  Enter politicians, politics, and political processes.  Elected politicians, both representatives and executives, are the ultimate arbitrators and decision-makers in public policy change. 

The political process can be very messy.  Nonetheless public policy change can be successfully "engineered" from an idea to a reality.   This course will explore past cases involving elected officials from the Pittsburgh region and Pennsylvania to illustrate the people, politics and processes involved in policy change.  Students will then be required to apply what they learn from these cases to a contemporary policy challenge facing the Pittsburgh region.

Learning Outcomes

Our political system is designed so that elected officials make decisions as to the laws effecting public policy.  Public policy is constantly being changed to reflect changes in our society norms and to address opportunities or problems, hopefully in a positive way.  The overall objective of the mini is to equip the student to plan and actively manage, or “engineer,” the process leading to a change in public policy.  Due to time constraints, the primary context for cases and class work will be state and local government.  

Prerequisites Description

None are absolutely required.  However, students interested in state and local politics, the Pittsburgh region, and/or the state of Pennsylvania will find this course of special interest.  Students who have a potential interest in running for public office and/or serving on the staff of an elected official will also find it of special interest.