Public Policy Making: From idea to realization

Core Course | 4 ECTS | Course: CRD 10

Instructor: Jóhanna Gísladóttir

About the Course

The aim of the course is to provide students with both theoretical and practical insights on the public policy process with an emphasis on coastal communities. We will spend time on how issues get on the agenda or disappear from it, the role of different actors in the process and how problem definition affects the public policy proces. Students will get training in analysing different policy options, as well as gain insights into implementation and accountability challenges.

I prefer teaching in an interactive setting, so I put an emphasis on discussing the material with my students. In addition to reading academic text, doing assignments and taking part in the lectures, students will go on a field trip.

Instructor

I am in the final year of my PhD studies, where I am pursuing a joint degree from the Environment and Natural Resources Program, Faculty of Political Science, University of Iceland, and Physical Geography, University of Stockholm. My research interests include public policy analysis, corruption in natural resource sectors, environmental politics and sustainability. I love hiking and spending time in the outdoors.

I have ties to the Westfjords, so I have been fortunate enough to visit the area before. I spent a week there during the summer and cannot wait to be back there for teaching. I am planning a week-long graduation trip to Hornstrandir next summer, which I consider to be the ultimate way to celebrate!

Description

The course gives students an insight into the process of how an idea or a need for public intervention could turn into policy in practice. The policy-making process is studied with a focus on agenda-setting theories, i.e. how an issue gets onto the government agenda and what explains that sometimes an issue becomes realized but sometimes not. It also covers different aspects of the public policy process; problem definition, agenda setting, policy formulation, implementation and accountability. Competing views and interests are considered regarding efficiency, equity, individual freedom, and social cohesion when defining public policy objectives. Students gain insight into the methods the government employs to reach its goals by covering the various tools of government.

The teaching is conducted through lectures, interactive sessions and a field trip. The real-life examples that are discussed in relation to the policy-making process are centered on regional and local development with special attention to the challenges of coastal communities.

On completion of the course, a student:

  • has the ability to relate regional and rural policy to a global perspective.
  • can identify the main theories in the field of public policy, describe the various stages of the public policy-making process and explain how it operates.
  • can identify and describe the main competing views and interests within the various sectors in society in which public policy play a role.
  • can identify and define the main policy actors in the policy-making process
  • can compare different characteristics of the various tools of government and contrast them while evaluating their impact on the economy and social behavior.
  • has the ability to present and explain findings from the scientific literature and policy documents and discuss them with peers.
  • has developed their critical thinking, written and verbal communication skills.