Policy Implications of Student Involvement

Policy Implications of Student Involvement

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2173-0.ch005
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This chapter provides an overview of several key elements of public policy that relate to student activism in higher education. Following a general discussion of agenda setting, governance structures are presented based on a typology developed by Hendrickson et al. (2013) and includes bureaucratic, collegial, and political models of university governance. In each of these models, the concept of organizational communication is presented as a foundation for collaborating with students, and impetus for possible activist episodes. As an example of public policy and student activism, in loco parentis as an institutional policy that intersects with public officials and the courts is presented. A number of legal decisions about in loco parentis are noted, along with the growth of activism as a tool to overturn the practice.
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Overview Of Public Policy

A number of theories from various disciplines contribute to the study of public policy. Theorists from fields such as political science, sociology, psychology, and economics have contributed to the literature that has evolved into public policy studies. The interdisciplinary nature of public policy studies provides opportunities for differing schools of thought about the intersections and application of theory, contributing varying points of view on the meaning and applicability by various types of public institutions and organizations. Four unique terms have been used throughout the literature to help distinguish its components. Policy science, according to Lasswell (1971), are “systematic, empirical studies of how policies are made and put into effect” (p.1). Policy studies has also been used to express the meaning of the discipline. Nagel (1987), described policy studies as “the study of the nature, causes, and effects of governmental decisions for dealing with social problems” (p. 219). Policy analysis has been viewed as “principally concerned with describing and investigating how and why particular policies are proposed, adopted, and implemented” (Cochran et. al, 1986, p.3). Finally, policy evaluation has been expressed as the utilization of research techniques employed to assess how effective governmental polices are with accomplishing their “intended objectives” (Greenberger, Crenson, & Crissey, 1976, p. 30). There are several implications that public policy has for federal and state engagement with higher education.

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