The subfield of Public Policy explores relationships between political processes and policy outcomes, centering on the notion that procedures and institutions affect how policies are developed, implemented and consumed.
Faculty research and coursework in the subfield investigates the processes by which policy agendas are set, actors form policy coalitions, and policies are implemented and evaluated; the influence of history, culture, institutions, organizations and networks on policy outcomes; and recent efforts to democratize the policy process through participation, decentralization and collaboration.
Students also have the option of pursuing a sub-specialization in law and social policy.
- Gerry Berk works on business regulation, defense policy and social welfare policy.
- James Conran conducts research on European politics, comparative political economy and sociology, and the role of ideas and institutions in politics.
- Alison Gash works on LGBT rights, civil rights, social policy, gender issues and collaborative governance.
- Craig Kauffman works on environmental policy, generally, with a focus on participatory/collaborative governance, ecological economics, water, forest, and climate policy in less-industrialized countries, and the interaction between domestic and international policy levels.
- Ronald Mitchell works on international policy generally and international and domestic environmental policy and climate policy in particular.
- Dan Tichenor researches immigration and citizenship, social policy, civil rights, national security and civil liberties.
Recent or current PhDs have focused on topics like health services, international agenda-setting, national security policy, comparative environmental policy, school desegregation, rangeland management, gender violence, immigration and refugee policy, and social welfare policy.