GO 250                    Professor Ruth Nemzoff
Spring, 1995              Morison 135
Bentley College           Mailbox: Morison 109
Monday 12:45 - 2:00       Phone: 332-7060 before 9:30 p.m.
Thursday 12:45 - 2:00        Office Hours: 11:45 - 12:45 Thursday
                             and by appointment

American Public Policy

In this course we will examine the process by which public policies are made and the resulting impact that these policies have on various segments of American society. We will explore the role of nongovernmental agencies, interest and advocacy groups and governmental agencies, in resolving social problems. Emphasis will also be placed on the role of individuals (for example, Bentley College students) in making change in the American political system. We also will see how different groups and individuals influence the policy-making process, both in terms of the issues that are addressed and the parameters that are set up to deal with such issues. As we shall see, no political process is neutral in its impacts: some groups tend to benefit far more than others regarding how policies are made and how they are implemented.

To further understand the policy process, we will address a number of specific domestic policy areas, these will include Health Care Reform Equal Opportunity Issues and Work/Family Policy as well as responses to AIDS and the Hopelessness and the Feminization of Poverty.

Readings. We will be spanning a wide range of reading materials, all meant to serve as resources. I have chosen the selections to give you as broad a range of ideas, topics, and disciplinary perspectives as possible. You may not find all of the readings inspiring, and you may not agree with the perspective of some of the authors. But I hope they will provoke thought and discussion of the relevant mailers of the course. Your responsibility is to read each work by the time it is listed in the course outline, as well as to have thought about the readings and filled out the reading sheet before class.

For each class students are to do the attached "Reading Assignment Discussion Sheet to prepare their comments for class. These will sometimes be collected and sometimes not...so be prepared!!

Readings: Charles E. Lindbloom and Edward J. WoodhouSe, The Policy-Making Process, (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1993); and Lawrence G. Brewster and Michael E. Brown, The Public Agenda, (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994). All other readings will be on reserve in the Bentley library or may be obtained in other libraries around Boston.


Community Service. Because democracy is not a spectator sport, and because democratic citizens are active participants in their communities. Students are required to participate in a community service or advocacy organization for at least 15 hours during the semester. In addition, the class will make several field trips to shelter and food kitchens, etc. to see how policies and social action influence the daily lives of individuals. These trips will take place during the class period 12:45 to 2:00 combined with the activity period 2:10 to 3:25 on 3 or 4 Monday during the semester. When there is a field trip, the following Thursday there will be no class. Students are to use that time to meet and prepare their group projects.


Students will conduct interviews with person at their non-for-profit service learning site. All interviews will be summarized in written form and passed in.

Students will conduct interviews with individuals in the private section who deal with the same general areas.

        Ex. Health Care Track Persons will interview executives
           of pharmaceutical health insurance co's, or physicians.

        Ex. Work/Family Issues will talk with human resource
           persons ass villas those dealing with Equal Access.

        Ex. Homelessness - will talk with Real Estate Developers

Students will next conduct interviews with Politicians working on the specific area.

Seminar Format. The class will be conducted as a seminar. Therefore, it is imperative that students come to class prepared to discuss class themes and reading assignments. I will provide some contextsetting and may present additional material in some instances, but for the most part the class will be an opportunity for us to reflect upon and analyze together critical questions about citizenship, democracy and community. Students will be encouraged to bring into class discussions their community service experiences as they relate to topic themes, (Different students will be assigned different readings and each student will be expected to come to class prepared to discuss his/her assignment as outlined on The Reading Assignment discussion sheet. The class requires a great deal of personal motivation. Students will direct their own learning with the assistance of the interview. To facilitate this discussion and your structured journal entries, I will hand out weekly sheets setting the context of particular authors/readings and laying out a series of questions for reflection and for writing about in journals.)


-The field Notes and Service

     Learning work will count for    30%
    -The Interviews                  30%
    -The Oral Report                 20%
    -Class participation             20%

                                  Schedule of Class

Jan. 19th - Topic 1: Introduction to the Policy-Making Process: Lindbloom and Woodhouse, chapters 1-3.

Jan. 23rd - Topic 2: The difficulty in Making Good Policy: Lindloom and Woodhouse, rest of book.

Jan. 26th - Topic 3: Power and Powerlessness - are all issues give equal voice?: chapter 1 from John Gaventa, Power and POwerlessness; chapter 9 from Jennifer Hochschild, What's Fair?

Jan. 26th - Topic 4: Homelessness: readings from "Homelessness" by Jim Tull, David Rochefort and Roger Cobb, Peter Dreier and Rechard Applebaum.

Jan. 30th - Field Trip - Cambridge Hospital

Feb. 2nd - No class - Group work to be assigned.

Feb. 7th - Topic 6: health Care: Readings Brewster and Brown, chapter 3. Others to be assigned.

Feb. 9th - Health Care Con'd.

Feb. 13th - Disabilities field trip

Feb. 16th - No class - Group work

Feb. 20th - Guest speaker - ADA

Feb. 23th - Work/Family readings

Feb. 27th - Visit to family shelter

March 2nd - No class - Group work

March 7th - Welfare guest speaker advocate

March 9th - Welfare feminizational of poverty week March 13 - 16 - vacation

March 20th - AIDS - guest speaker

March 23th - Abortion

March 28th - Affirmative Action

March 30th - Affirmative Action Con'd

April 3th - Feminization of Poverty

April 6th - Feminization of Poverty Con'd

April loth - Housing

April 13th - Housing Con'd

April 17th - No class

April 20th - Repons

April 24th - Repons

April 27th - Repons

May I st - Last class