About the Public Policy Program
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. The Public Policy Institute was founded in 2010 with now-Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl at the helm, as the result of the vision of SMC Trustee Dr. Nancy Greenstein.
The Institute is co-directed by SMC political science professor Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, who founded the academic program, and Shari Davis, a community education activist who has a Master in Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School.
The Institute offers free, informative discussions on the policy issues that affect our daily lives. Public Policy programs at SMC 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.
Degrees and Certificates
Associate in Arts Degree - Public Policy
19 units + General Education Requirements
This program consists of an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary course of study that presents an overview of the development and implementation of important public policies affecting the lives of local, regional, and state residents. This program is designed to equip students with the skills and tools to successfully engage in civic debate and to critically evaluate and analyze the development and implementation of substantive public policies while providing an opportunity to work with governmental and non-governmental organizations and agencies in a direct way.
Certificate of Achievement - Public Policy
This certifies students can present an overview of the development and implementation of important public policies affecting the lives of local, regional, and state residents. This program is designed to equip students with the skills and tools to successfully engage in civic debate and to critically evaluate and analyze the development and implementation of substantive public policies while providing an opportunity to work with governmental and non-governmental organizations and agencies in a direct way.
Program Level Outcomes
Upon completion of the program, students will:
Exhibit, through their behavior and course work, strong academic behaviors, including regular attendance, timeliness, participation in class activities, and adherence to the College Honor Code, as well as a heightened sense of personal efficacy and civic responsibility, evidenced by their regular attendance, participation in class activities, and their awareness of their rights and duties as citizens of their community, their country, and the wider world.
Demonstrate through oral and/or written work knowledge of basic public policy concepts including policy choices and agenda setting, the structure, and evaluation of policy making, cost-benefit analysis, and ethical analysis.
Demonstrate proficiency in the research, analytical, and communication skills necessary to present, orally and/or in writing, compelling and original arguments that critically evaluate how policy is developed and the effectiveness of select contemporary policies.
Demonstrate a level of engagement in the subject matter that enables and motivates the integration of acquired knowledge and skills beyond the classroom.
Potential Career Options
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Special Departmental Programs