Carnegie Mellon University

Policy Forum

Course Number: 84-450

The Policy Forum course takes a critical look at decision making in domestic politics and US foreign policy.  It does so through weekly roundtable discussions with a diverse set of thought leaders.  Based on intellectually significant essays that students are expected to read in advance of each class, these discussions give students an opportunity to ask probing questions about the three branches of the US government, media, embassies, advocacy groups, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations.

This course seeks to help students understand the responsibilities and activities that leaders and decision makers carry out on behalf of their organizations.  Students are instructed in how to confidently and respectfully ask critical questions of those shaping policy.  The term "roundtabling" is used to describe submitting an issue for critical discussion among relevant stakeholders.  Knowing how to direct a roundtable is a significant element in the professional development of anyone interested in taking part in the policy arena, and this course helps students hone this important skill.  In requiring students to read  important essays related to each class session and then step back from discussions with leaders to write analytical essays, this course teaches students how to develop strong arguments based on solid logic and credible evidence, an essential component in making democracy work.

Academic Year: 2019-2020
Semester(s): Fall, Mini 1, Mini 2
Required/Elective: Required
Units: 6
Location(s): Washington, DC

Learning Objectives

The goals are to give students a realistic understanding of the parameters of decision making processes in organizations--not just governments but also corporations and other large organizations such as advocacy groups. Students will achieve a humbling recognition of how difficult it is to achieve decision making coherence and success in organizational settings.

Fall 2019

Mini 1- Professor Karako
4:30-6:30 PM

Mini 2- Professor Zeigler

This course is only open to students participating in the CMU/WSP during the Fall 2019 semester.

Required course for the following IPS degrees:
B.S. International Relations and Politics
Additional Major in International Relations and Politics
B.S. Economics and Politics
Additional Major in Economics and Politics
Minor in Politics and Public Policy