Training policy students to hit the ground running: The design of an integrative core course

  • Chetkovich C
  • Henderson M
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Effective public policy education must prepare students both to integrate the lessons of multiple disciplines and to apply these across diverse substantive areas. How can these objectives best be accomplished? Research on adult learning and professional education points toward applied, problem-based, cooperative, and student-driven pedagogy. This article describes the design and implementation of an integrative core course in which Master of Public Policy (MPP) students work through the stages of policy analysis in a series of current policy problems. The instructor serves as a coach, and a professional ‘‘client’’ for each problem provides feedback grounded in experience. Engaged learning is enhanced through teamwork, peer instruction, and opportunities for reflection and self-assessment. Over time, refinements in problem and client selection and the integra- tion of skills have been informed by practical concerns and formal program assessment.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Engaged pedagogy
  • Problem-based learning
  • Professional education
  • Public policy
  • Student-centered learning

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  • Carol Chetkovich

  • Mark Henderson

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