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Putting the Public Back Into Public Policy

Putting the Public Back Into Public Policy Pepperdine


Our Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree program at Pepperdine is as uniquely situated to educate our next generation of public leaders-- not "experts" who sit removed the public-- but servants who humbly and knowledgeably engage residents in making decisions that affect our day-to-day lives. We truly see our mission as "putting the public into public policy." We do this through our academic pursuits inside and outside the classroom, as well as our view of how faith shapes all aspects of the public square.

Inside the Classroom

Our core curriculum is dedicated to the memory of one of the School's founders and professors, James Q. Wilson. The Wilson Core reflects on his indelible impression on our curriculum, in particular our distinctive set of required courses that immediately begins to prepare students for a well-rounded approach to public policy – one that includes not only its quantitative aspects, but also what it means to consider the "public" in the creation of policy. This necessitates an exploration of the "Great Ideas" on government and citizenship, along with study in America's Founding principles, and how they have shaped the government/citizen relationship over these last two centuries.

Outside the Classroom

Our nationally recognized Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership IS putting the public back into public policy. The Institute works to engage the citizens of California in the policy decisions that affect everyday lives. Today's municipal and education leaders are seeking ways to involve the residents of their communities in important issues they confront. By working with city and county governments, special districts, regional governance associations, and non-profit organizations to both promote and support legitimate civic involvement, the Davenport Institute helps to raise a new kind of leadership that produces better, more creative policy solutions and better, more engaged citizens committed to the hard work of self-governance.

In October 2016, the Institute in conjunction with the School of Public Policy, hosted a day-long conference where we explored how technology is changing the way voters engage in the election process. "Election 2.016" brought together tech innovators, academics, political strategists, democracy advocates, and students to explore how technology is changing the way voters access information, and the types of information available to them; how it is changing the way voters engage in the political process at all levels of government from local through national; and how it is changing the way voters vote through election technology.

Through Faith and Public Policy

Whatever one's political views, those who shape public policy today are confronted by challenges of unprecedented magnitude. In no field is there a greater need for the moral, ethical, and spiritual paradigm that the founding mission and enduring philosophy of Pepperdine University encourages. As one of the nation's few graduate policy programs at a major Christian university, we take issues like religious liberty and how faith shapes ethical public leaders seriously. Public policy is more than just government solutions; it embraces a full range of community-based and free-market approaches to policy challenges and must understand the role of and impact on the public. Our Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree program recognizes the critical intersection between faith, ethics, and public service.

Our "Moral Sense in Politics and Policy" lecture series, in partnership with The Trinity Forum in Washington, D.C., brings distinguished scholars, writers, and practitioners to discuss the intersection of faith and public policy. View past lectures.