Political Science 332 - 01
U.S. Public Policy
Fall 2002 MW 8:55 Ė 10:10 AM
307 Albertus Hall

Professor Angela D. Ledford

Office:14 Moran Hall
Phone:(o) 458-5326 (h) 437-0199
Office Hours:M & W 2:30PM - 4:30PM, and by appointment

Course Objective

This course is designed as an introduction to United States Public Policy. In particular, we will want to analyze how we determine our policy goals, identify policy problems, and seek to remedy those problems within a large bureaucracy while attempting to balance real concerns about democratic practices and just outcomes. All of these issues will be interrogated within the context of Affirmative Action Policy in the U.S. Students should come away from this course with a clear understanding of the ways in which policy initiatives are defined, derived, and negotiated in the U.S., as well as the problem of unintended policy consequences.

Course Requirements

Participation 20%

Evaluation of participation is based not simply on the frequency of participation but on the quality of your contribution to the class. That contribution should reflect careful consideration of the course materials (and any additional outside readings and experiences that are relevant).

2 Critical Essays
Essay 1 (approximately 7 pages in length) 30%
Essay 2 (approximately 15 pages in length) 50%

Critical Essay

You are expected to carefully read the required and some suggested books and/or articles and compose two thoughtful, critical essays. The length of the essays are stipulated above and should be in Times Roman font, double-spaced, with one inch margins all around. A critical essay should entail a clear and concise summary of the key arguments and contributions of the text. What questions is the author attempting to answer? What evidence does he/she bring to bear on those questions? What unique contribution (if any) to the existing policy literature does the scholar make? The remaining pages are what make this a Ďcriticalí essay. You should assess the degree to which the book/article succeeds and falls short (What do you think is particularly strong about the book? What are its weaknesses?). Are the questions the scholar is asking the appropriate ones in your view? Why or why not? Is the evidence appropriate to the kinds of questions being asked (i.e. how convinced are you)? Is there counter-evidence that is not discussed (or dealt with inadequately)? Watch the footnotes/endnotes/bibliography for texts that are referenced frequently or at length. You may want to look at these books (and check out the book reviews) to assess how fairly the author treats them.

You will be required to read and incorporate into your essays a minimum of three scholarly book reviews of each of the required texts, both to get an idea of what a critical essay looks like and to be aware of the criticisms other scholars have made about the book in question (this can help you form your own position based on whether you agree, disagree, or some of both, with the critic). You can find book reviews of most academic books through JSTOR (which can also be accessed off-campus through the Saint Rose library site). Be sure you cite appropriately any sources you read and use at the end of your paper.

Final Paper

In Policy Paradox, Deborah Stone approaches public policymaking in a rather unique way. Taking an equally unique approach, Barbara Ehrenreich seeks to ascertain the feasibility of leading a dignified or meaningful (maybe even survivable!) existence as an "unskilled" wage laborer in the U.S.

In this second and final essay, I want you to apply Policy Paradox to Nickel and Dimed. That is, in light of what Stone has to say about how goals, problems, and solutions are always negotiated politically (rather than "logically" or "rationally" in the strong senses of those terms), how does this inform your reading and evaluation of Ehrenreich? What do you think Ehrenreich's primary goals are, and how does she frame and enunciate them? What does she identify as the key problems that ought to be addressed, and who should address them (the who may vary with each problem)? How does she try to make the case that these problems are, in fact, problems (this is something of a question of method or approach)? What solutions does she offer (both explicitly and implicitly)? Why do you think she offers these kinds of solutions over some other set? Finally, step back a bit and think about Stone's broader theoretical argument about how we can never (and in fact don't want to) rid policymaking of politics (and the attendant uncertainty and disagreement). How do you see politics or specific political commitments and values informing Ehrenreich's project? Do you think she is generally up front about those commitments? Why or why not? What evidence can you point to in the book to support your position? Is there any counter-evidence?

As mentioned earlier in the semester (and in your syllabus), you should incorporate 3 scholarly reviews of Nickel and Dimed into your paper. If you cannot locate enough reviews of this book in scholarly journals, you may use the reviews that appear in such publications as the NY Times Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, The New Yorker, etc., so long as they are written by policy or literary experts rather than simply based on "man on the street" responses. The latter can sometimes be very good and useful, but I want to be sure you are reading and incorporating critical responses that are more (rather than less) careful, thoughtful, and fair (which you don't always get by narrowing the responses down to "experts," but we'll just have to take our chances).

The other guidelines are also mentioned in the syllabus: your essay should be no longer than 15 pages in length, double-spaced with one-inch margins throughout, and in Times Roman 12-point font. You should also include a works cited page at the end of your paper that lists all books and articles you referenced. That list should be in alphabetical order by authorís last name and abide by the following format:


Stone, Deborah, 2002. Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.


Hawkins, Bubba, 2003. "The Working Poor?" The New York Times Review of Books, Volume 3, Number 18, pp. 14-17.


You are expected to attend all classes and are responsible for all class work, lecture notes, announcements, etc., whether or not you are present. You are allowed three unexcused absences, after which your final grade will be dropped half a letter grade for each unexcused absence thereafter. You are also expected to have read the assigned readings carefully before each class meeting and participate thoughtfully in class discussions of the material.

Extra Credit

I have a rather strict policy against "extra credit" mainly for reasons of fairness. The requirements that must be met in order to do well in this class are clearly outlined in this syllabus. Offering extra credit that some would take advantage of but others would not would change the weighting of the written assignments for those who chose to complete the extra assignments (since 100% of the total you can earn is all taken up with the written assignments and class participation). That means that the grades would not be weighted equally across the class. Also, the syllabus is considered a contract (laying out what your duties and responsibilities are as well as what mine are). I take that contract seriously, and thus amending it strikes me as generally unfair (just as it would be unfair to the class for me to add another exam onto the syllabus beyond what is stipulated in writing at the beginning of the course).

Required Texts

Deborah Stone, Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decisionmaking, New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2002.

Ehrenreich, Barbara, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Owl Books, 2002.

*** All written assignments and most announcements will be posted on Blackboard. You should also check Blackboard regularly for announcements and/or alterations to the course schedule. .

Policy on Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

Students at The College of Saint Rose are expected to be honest in every aspect of their academic work. All work presented as a studentís own must be the product of his or her own efforts. Students working in groups are each individually responsible for the academic integrity of the group project. Plagiarism, cheating, academic misconduct, or any other submission of anotherís work as oneís own is unacceptable.

Plagiarism includes but is not limited to:
Purchasing, copying, down-loading, printing or paraphrasing anotherís book, article, paper, speech, exam, portfolio, creative work, argument or any other work and presenting it as oneís own, either in whole or in part.
Incorporating portions of anotherís work without proper acknowledgement and documentation.

Academic misconduct includes but is not limited to:
Providing or receiving assistance in a manner not authorized by the instructor in the creation of work to be submitted for academic evaluation, including papers, projects, and examinations.
Attempting to influence oneís academic evaluation for reasons other than academic achievement or merit.
Presenting as oneís own the ideas or words of another for academic evaluation without proper acknowledgement and documentation.
Doing unauthorized academic work for which another person will receive credit or be evaluated.
Presenting the same or substantially the same papers or projects in two or more courses without the explicit permission of the instructor(s) involved.

Also, one is not allowed to cooperate or be an accessory to anotherís academic misconduct. Thus, a student who writes a paper or does an assignment for another student is an accomplice and must be held accountable just as severely as the other. A student who knowingly permits another student to copy from his or her own paper, examinations, or project should be held as accountable as the student who submits the copied material.

The work of others, regardless of origin, must be properly and accurately cited in an accepted style, and research data must be obtained and reported in an ethical and accurate manner. Students avoid plagiarism by concentrating on their own words and ideas and by fully crediting othersí work when used. Students are advised to always indicate another writerís exact words and ideas with appropriate references. Whenever in doubt, cite the source.

Student work failing to meet the standards of academic integrity will not be given a passing grade. It is the responsibility of the course instructor to identify and act upon breaches of academic integrity according to his or her best judgment. However, a failing course grade for academic dishonesty will not be recorded by the Registrar until the student has been informed of the charge and the evidence upon which it is based, and the student has been given an opportunity to present his or her defense to the instructor. The instructor may withhold the course grade if the case is not resolved before final grades are due at the Office of the Registrar.

If a student is given a failing course grade for an abuse of academic integrity, as determined by the instructor, the student may appeal the grade by following the steps outlined in the Collegeís grievance procedure.

When a failing grade due to a violation of academic integrity is recorded, the instructor will send written notification to the school dean(s), the studentís advisor and the Registrar. The notification will identify both the student and the course, and it will describe the offense. A student who violates said standards of academic integrity on more than one occasion may receive sanctions up to, and including, dismissal from the College.

Introduction to the Course

Week One

January 12: Introduction


January 14: Stone, Preface, Introduction, and Chapter 1
January 20: Last day to add/drop)

Week Two

January 19: NO CLASSES-Dr. MLK, Jr. Day
January 21: Stone, Chapters 2 - 3

Week Three

January 26: Stone, Chapters 4 - 5
January 28: Stone, Chapter 6

Week Four

February 2: Stone. Chapter 7
February 4: Stone, Chapters 8 - 9

Week Five

February 9: Stone, Chapter 10
February 11: Stone, Chapters 11 - 12

Week Six

February 16: Stone, Chapters 13 - 14
February 18: Stone, Chapter 15

Week Seven

February 23: Stone, Conclusion
February 25: Stone, Policy Paradox in Action

Week Eight

March 1: Discussion
March 3: ESSAY #1 DUE

Week Nine

March 8: NO CLASSES-Mid-Winter Break
March 10: NO CLASSES-Mid-Winter Break

Week Ten

March 15: Ehrenreich, Introduction
March 17: Ehrenreich, Chapter 1

Week Eleven

March 22: Ehrenreich, Chapter 2
March 24: Chapter 2 cont.; LAST DAY TO WITHDRAW WITH A ďWĒ

Week Twelve

March 29: Ehrenreich, Chapter 3
March 31: Chapter 3 cont.

Week Thirteen

April 5: Ehrenreich, Evaluation
April 7: Summary/Conclusions

Week Fourteen

April 12: NO CLASSES-Easter Break