Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon Institute for Strategy & Technology

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Implementing Public Policy: From Good Idea to Reality

Course Number: 84-336

Good public policy doesn't just "happen." Rather, successful policy is the result of thorough research, careful drafting, and successful navigation within the government or non-government organization whose leadership may ultimately promulgate it. The course begins with a brief review of government and organizational behavior in a bureaucracy, and the identification of a federal agency's current policy system as a framework to which we will turn throughout the term. Study then turns to an overview of legal research skills. Though usually the province of law students and attorneys, such skills will enable students to know when policy may be crafted "from scratch" -- or where, when, and how policy must conform to larger governing legal or regulatory structures. Students will then consider a particular sub-specie of public policy, administrative law, which addresses the special circumstance of regulatory agencies and the statutory regimes that create and govern them. The course culminates with students developing and "staffing" a notional policy, modeled on the federal agency policy system studied throughout the term. This course may benefit a range of audiences: students considering government and related policy careers; future business leaders who must set standards for business practices, employee behavior, or operations within the confines of governmental regulations; prospective paralegals and attorneys; or anyone interested in exploring "what the rules are" and why.

Academic Year: 2023-2024
Semester(s): Spring
Units: 12
Location(s): Washington, DC

Learning Objectives

  • Understand and analyze an organizational structure in which policy is made and implemented.
  • Understand and demonstrate the ability to think and write like a successful member of the organization in which policy is made.
  • Understand and apply basic legal research skills critical to successful public policy development at the federal level.
  • Distinguish policies that are discretionary in nature from those required by legal mandate
  • Comprehend the special case of federal public policies promulgated by regulatory agencies, which are part of the general category of "administrative law."
  • Recognize the importance of, and apply, precise language in policy drafting.
  • Develop, notionally "staff," and present a draft policy responsive to a current public policy issue.

Spring 2024
2:30-5:20 PM

This course is only open to students participating in the CMU/WSP.