PUP 3002 :: SYLLABUS, FALL 2003
Current Controversies in Public Policy

Michael J. Scicchitano
Office: 304 Anderson Hall
Office Hours: 12-3 Monday
(352) 392-0262, ext. 284

Fax: (352) 392-0876

Course Description
Governments do many things--legislators legislate, judges adjudicate, and the executive executes. By now you probably have taken courses related to the legislature, the executive, or the judicial process. What we tend to forget, however, is that governments exist to do something-make our nation safe, clean our air and water, or make it easier to get from Gainesville to Waycross. The cumulative impact of these many actions (as well as the actions not taken) is called policy--defense policy, transportation policy, or environmental policy. Everybody complains about policy--why do we spend so much on strategic defense and not land forces? So why doesn't the president simply change policy? Well it is not that easy. Policies evolve over a long period, are the product of cumulative political understandings, involve fixed political and material costs, and simply are not that easy to change. The purpose of this course is to teach you about policy--where it comes from and why it is so difficult to change.

This course will be designed as follows. The first part of the course will examine a series of readings related to policy development, the policy process, implementation, and so on. We will then use this information to examine specific policies in the latter part of the class. The examination of policies will be in the form of my lectures, presentations of readings, discussion of New York Times articles and guest presentations. This class does not meet the Gordon Rule.

The goal of this class is to make you a more sophisticated consumer of government policy actions and statements. This cannot be achieved simply by listening to lectures. There will be substantial involvement by ALL students in the learning process. This means that you will be in front of the room, at least three times, making presentations. There will be extensive opportunities for class discussions. Learning about policy is not a spectator sport. You will be expected to participate actively in the class.

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Required Readings
There are several required readings. These readings , in the order that they will be read are as follows:

Author Title Location
Hayes Incrementalism and Public Policy
(Chapter 2, Implementation Book)
University Copy
Kingdon Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies Book Stores
Hird Controversies in American Public Policy Dr. Mike
------ New York Times Weekdays - subscribe or internet

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Reading assignments will be made at least one week prior to the week in which the material will be discussed in class. You are expected to read, consider, and be ready to discuss the readings in class.

Oral Chapter Reading
Each student, as part of his/her grade, will make an oral presentation of a chapter reading. This presentation will include a brief outline/summary or the chapter. You will be notified in advance of the class in which you will make your presentation. Please note that YOU are responsible for making this presentation on the day we discuss the reading. If you cannot make this presentation it is your responsibility to have an alternate make the presentation. Students should contact me before the class to review the presentation. Each student must prepare a typed outline of the chapter and distribute a copy to each of the other class members. This typed outline must be completed and distributed to class students on the day of the oral presentation. No presentation or typed report=no points.

Research Paper
You are expected to complete a research paper during the semester. This assignment will be a paper that will research some aspect of public policy. The paper must first examine the literature of some topic in the course related to the study of public policy such as implementation. The second part of the paper will then use this background material to research how, for example, implementation is performed for a local, state, or federal program/policy. My expectations regarding the paper will be explained more fully during the first weeks of the class. The paper must be typed and should be approximately 10 pages in length (double spaced). The paper is due on the 17th of November. Papers received after that date will have ten points deducted for each week (or part of a week) that the paper is received after the 17th of November. Part of the grade will be based on the quality of the writing. I expect that you carefully prepare your paper, proofread or have a professional editor comment on the document.

I expect that you will work closely with me in developing the theme for your paper, preparing an outline, and Reviewing drafts of the paper. I expect that you will perform these tasks in a timely fashion. I believe that I can provide the best recommendations if you prepare a typed description of the paper topic or outline. The deadlines for performing the tasks for the paper are as follows:

  1. Evaluation of paper topics, October 13
  2. Review of paper outlines, October 27
  3. Review of paper drafts, November 10

Click here to see a sample of what is expected from an undergraduate student research paper

In addition, each student will participate as part of a team effort to discuss one of the policy positions (for or against) presented in the Hird book. The debates will provide us with an opportunity to become familiar with the various important policy issues. More information on the "mini debates" will be presented later in the semester. Click here to view the debate assignment page.

NYT Article
Each student will prepare a written, detailed outline and discussion questions (with a copy of the outline for each member of the class) and summarize orally one NYT article during the semester. More information will be provided in the class.

Exam Policy
The quiz and first exam wil be in-class and a multiple choice format and will cover readings, class lectures, dicussion and New York Times articles.

The second exam will not be cumulative.

No make-up exams will be given.

It is the responsibility of those who expect to graduate this semester to meet with me as often as is necessary to insure that their class performance will not harm their chances of graduating in December.

If you are disabled in any way and feel that there is anything I need to know that might improve your learning environment in the class, please contact my office by telephone (392-0262 X284) or in person during my office hours as listed on the syllabus.


Course requirement Percent of the grade
First examination
Second Examination
Book chapter presentation
Mini debate
NYT outline/presentation

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Syllabus (PUP 3002):

  • Course Description
  • Required Readings
  • Assignments
  • Exam Policy
  • Miscellaneous
  • Grading
  • Announcements

  • Assignments:

  • Chapter Readings
  • New York Times
  • Debates
  • Professor Scicchitano:

  • Biography
  • Contact