Courses and related resources
This course considers the range of state and local policies that impact renewable energy development, understanding how these policies interact and the politics at play behind their adoption. It covers not just policies traditionally associated with climate action—such as the carbon tax, cap and trade, RPS or municipal climate pledges—but also the suite of policies that facilitate or hinder renewable energy development from state tax policy to local land use laws regulation to infrastructure investment. It also explores the diverse stakeholders who shape these policies and the motivations behind their positions—from economic development, to energy independence, to landowners' rights. Seminar time is spent examining the case of a single state both through public documents and news reports, as well as through guest lectures by policymakers and scholars from that state. Outside of class, students work together in teams, with each team developing an additional state case study that they will present at an end-of-term public symposium. Exceptional students from this course may be invited to further develop their case study into a publishable paper or chapter.
Fall 2016 Syllabus
See Ford School news article on this course
This course is designed to familiarize students with the Michigan political system and current policy issues at play both statewide and in local communities. It provides an overview of Michigan government and political institutions, and examine the responsibilities of and relationships between state and local units of government in Michigan, with discussion about specific issues and challenges currently facing Michigan policymakers. The course also includes an introduction to and hands-on use of survey research data provided by one the Ford School's core research centers: the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP). CLOSUP's Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS) program asks Michigan local government leaders about a wide variety of public policy issues. The course employs these data to supplement discussions of the topics covered each week. The data are also used in students' final papers. No prior knowledge of survey research, its methodology, or statistical software is required.
In this seminar-style course, students gain a deeper understanding of contemporary energy and environmental policy debates, as well as develop personal expertise with a specific aspect of this policy arena. The course begins by introducing students to policy research techniques. Students then spend the remainder of the term researching a topic of their choosing on energy or environmental policy. These may include the student's own environmental policy passion or a topic that complements ongoing research in CLOSUP's Energy and Environmental Policy Initiative, including the National Surveys on Energy and the Environment. The course culminates with a public research conference where students, divided into panels based on their research topics, each make an oral presentation of their research results and engage in a panel discussion with their classmates.
This Coursera/UM course incorporates a video of CLOSUP's Oct. 8, 2018 panel discussion on Electoral Reform via Ballot Initiatives, which brought a panel of experts together to discuss the pros and cons of reforming the redistricting process in Michigan, as well as policies on voter registration and voter rights.
CLOSUP in YOUR Classroom
CLOSUP staff are actively helping other faculty integrate data from the Michigan Public Policy Survey and the National Surveys on Energy and Environment into their teaching and research. See the links below for presentations on how these data can be used to enhance teaching and learning opportunities at the University of Michigan and beyond.
- February 1, 2017 - University of Michigan LSA, Abrams Sustainability Program workshop
- October 20, 2016 - Central Michigan University, Michigan Political Science Association Conference
- June 8, 2016 - American University, Washington DC, Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS) Annual Meeting
CLOSUP enhances the classroom experience by engaging students through independent study and employment as policy analysts on the Center's projects. These activities provide hands-on training in social science research methods and practices, as well as opportunities to work with original data that have not been analyzed previously, and to help drive the Center's research agenda and findings.
After their time at the Ford School, CLOSUP Policy Analysts take their experience and expertise to positions with leading policy organizations. For example, Kristy Hartman, a CLOSUP Policy Analyst for AY2012-2013, later joined the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)(link is external) as an energy policy specialist and was quoted in the Wall Street Journal(link is external) regarding new policies on hydraulic fracturing in Colorado.
CLOSUP also supports summer internships which are administered by the Ford School's Graduate Career Services Office. These internships place Master's students with state and local government offices and other external organizations working on state and local public policy issues, and are part of the School's Master's program which requires internships between the first and second years of study at the School.