Public policy in a democratic society articulates the guiding principles and objectives of a particular polity and addresses a range of issues or areas of concern affecting the lives of people at local, regional, state, and national levels of government.
Santa Monica College's Public Policy Institute provides non-partisan community programs exploring key economic, social, and political issues and a rigorous academic program in the state of California's only Associate in Arts Degree and Certificate of Achievement in Public Policy. Led by its founding director, former State Senator Sheila Kuehl, and its associate director, SMC political science professor Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, who holds the Chair of Excellence, Philosophy and Social Science, the Institute offers free, informative discussions on the policy issues that affect our daily lives.
The Associate Degree and Certificate of Achievement in Public Policy are interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and practical courses of study presenting a comprehensive overview of public policies affecting the lives of local, regional, and state citizens. These programs equip graduates with the skills and resources necessary for successful participation in civic life, including critical evaluation and analysis of policy options, policy development and effective implementation strategies, and the opportunity to work directly with governmental and non-governmental leaders in their organizations and agencies.