Public Policy Implementation (90-842)

Presidents, governors, legislators, elected officials, and judges have issued orders, passed laws, approved policies, and set goals for hundreds of years. But approving or legislating the most enlightened public policy or program does not guarantee that it will be implemented in an effective way -- or even in the way intended by the policy maker. Rarely are the people who make public policy decisions the ones who implement those decisions.

In a democratic government, saying it is does not make it so!

This course is designed to study, review, and analyze policy implementation in the public sector. This is a look at government bureaucracy, and how to improve policy implementation in the 21st Century!

In a democratic society, how does one effectively get from the declaration of a policy to its implementation, particularly when implementation has been such a low priority for our elected officials?

Implementation involves the complex interactions of many elements: translating ideas into workable programs; making decisions for both program design and operation; communicating with both constituencies and affected decision-makers; overcoming the resistance of bureaucrats; and assessing and evaluating the results.

Examples of programs and policies will be used throughout the course. Each student, as a member of a team, will develop an implementation plan for a selected policy or program. The course will also involve lots of reading that highlight implementation issues.

Learning Objectives

This course is designed to help the student understand and appreciate the critical issues involved in the implementation of public policy and programs. Sadly, public policy implementation has not been a popular field of study, despite its importance to the success or failure of public decisions. The lack of understanding of policy implementation may help explain public frustration with government in general. This course will help the student of public affairs recognize the key factors that turn policy decisions into positive reality.

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