• One of the primary purposes of government is to serve the public good by developing and executing policies that benefit society as a whole. However, the process of determining what is best for society often generates debates and controversy. The give and take, bargaining, competition and compromise that arise from this process are called politics. All in all, The Politics of Public Policy is concerned with the ways in which politics advances, hinders, encumbers, enhances, or just plain screws up meaningful and necessary public policy.
  • Taught Honors: Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Fall 2018
  • Taught: Spring 2017, Spring 2019
  • This course is an introduction to the role of organized interest groups in American politics and their influence over public policy. We will survey the important approaches to understanding and explaining interest group formation and behavior: how and why groups form, how they attract members and interact with society, and how they attempt to influence public policies at the federal and state level.  Of particular interest will be the relationship between the motivations for groups to mobilize and the types of interests that are represented by groups.
  • Taught: Spring 2016
  • Public policy is gendered.  Policies affect men and women differently, and they participate differently in the policy-making process. As a result, public policies are an important component in the construction of identity-based differences in society, and a venue through which identity is resisted and renegotiated. The course examines several areas of public policy, some expressly related to women or gender and others that have significant gendered impact though policy-makers may not present the issue in that way. After setting the foundation of the course in the theory of intersectionality and US law, we cover the historical and contemporary issues relating to education, families, labor, health, and violence. We focus primarily on the US case, but will bring in examples for points of comparison at various points throughout the semester.
  • Taught: Spring 2017, Spring 2019


  • This course seeks to develop three domains of knowledge: First, students will gain theoretical knowledge pertaining to the policy process and the actors and institutions engaged in policymaking. Second, students will develop practical knowledge of the policy making process; here, students will learn about the “nuts and bolts” about the political institutions and behaviors that shape policy. Third, students will gain empirical knowledge by examining the behaviors of institutions and actors in the policy making process, with a particular emphasis on the influence on and consequences of those behaviors.
  • Taught: Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019