Public Policy Analysis for EngineersPublic Policy Analysis for Engineers[Enter Course]

Overview:

Public policy issues are important to every field of engineering. Yet, most engineering students know little about the topic. For most students, however, an entire course focused on the topic is not necessary. For example, a class on engineering design could incorporate a case study on 3D printing policy.

This course will introduce students to the interrelationship of engineering and public policy, how to conduct neutral policy analysis, and then apply that knowledge in case studies to practice the skills they have learned. The modules takes a flipped classroom/active learning approach by using short videos to educate students, activities to practice the skills taught, and incorporates real-world examples such as hydraulic fracturing, drones, and 3D printing.

Additional Course Details

Topics Covered:
(1) Critical thinking of public policy; (2) performing neutral policy analysis; (3) designing engineering policy to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, and social contexts [ABET criteria 3c]; and (4) understanding the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context [ABET criteria 3h]
Estimated Time to Complete Course:
To finish the entire three-unit course, it will take approximately three hours, though this can vary greatly by student. The units in the course can be done during a class, or as pre-class or post-class homework. Individuals may also take the course on their own; no instructor involvement is needed. One module can be done per session or all the modules can be assigned at once.

In-Depth Description

Unit 1: Policy Analysis Overview
This unit has the following learning objectives:
  • Define public policy and public policy analysis
  • Describe how policymakers, stakeholders, and policy analysts influence
    public policy decisions
  • Describe why a well-informed and neutral analysis of existing and
    potential public policies is important for optimal societal
    outcomes
Unit 2: How is Policy Analysis Conducted?
This unit has the following learning objectives:
  • Develop a policy-neutral question appropriate for policy analysis that does not include the proposed solution or presume there is a problem
  • Assess the potential accuracy and completeness of available policy-relevant information, including identifying the current policy
  • Identify, evaluate and compare the positive and negative outcomes of potential policy solutions (including the status quo) according to the criteria you have selected (typically the 4 E’s: effectiveness, efficiency, equity, and ease of political acceptability)
  • Predict the various parties interested in taking or opposing action on this policy and their policy position
  • Clarify complex policy issues for policymakers in a clear and concise narrative that recognizes obstacles to the recommended policy
Unit 3: Public Policy Analysis Cases
This unit has the following learning objectives:
  • Develop a policy-neutral question appropriate for policy analysis that does not include the proposed solution or presume there is a problem
  • Assess the potential accuracy and completeness of available policy-relevant information, including identifying the current policy
  • Identify, evaluate and compare the positive and negative outcomes of potential policy solutions (including the status quo) according to the criteria you have selected (typically the 4 E’s: effectiveness, efficiency, equity, and ease of political acceptability)
  • Predict the various parties interested in taking or opposing action on this policy and their policy position
  • Clarify complex policy issues for policymakers in a clear and concise narrative that recognizes obstacles to the recommended policy