As you register for next semester, it can be overwhelming to scroll through iGPS and see course after course listed but not know what they are.
If you’re looking for general education credit, consider an introductory class from the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Through O’Neill, students can explore complex issues that affect society and develop skills to create change. The school offers coursework in topics like public policy, environmental studies, arts management and healthcare management.
Two introductory O’Neill courses that students should consider are Prof. John Karaagac’s SPEA-V 182: Policy-making around the World: Comparative and International Approaches and Prof. Susan Siena’s SPEA-V 272: Terrorism and Public Policy. The syllabi for these courses can be found here.
“When talking about policy, I help students begin to understand why some states lead and some lag, why some develop and some decay. Examples of leaders are states, societies and ultimately individuals that learn from mistakes and avoid self-defeating policy patterns such as rent-seeking, clientism, and capture,” Karaagac said. “Those terms are unfamiliar to you? Take the class.”
Karaagac says that a general education course like SPEA-V 182 is critical to understanding your place in the world and gives the student a methodology and a foundation to build upon. Though the coursework involves comparative policy, Karaagac urges students with a wide variety of interests to consider signing up.
“At the undergraduate level, education should not be ‘stove-piped’ at the early level,” Karaagac said. “That is a fancy way of saying you do not want to over-specialize too early until you find your voice and the set of issues that form your concentration.”
Through SPEA-V 272: Terrorism and Public Policy, Prof. Siena provides an opportunity to think deeply about complex problems that do not have an easy solution.
Siena said she wants her to students to understand that terrorism cannot be solved without a deep understanding of the motivations of terrorists.
“Most of what we think we know about terrorism is wrong,” Siena said. “Students who take this class can help to dispel myths by sharing what they learn with friends and family.”
The critical thinking skills students develop through these courses are applicable to professions related to O’Neill majors as well as majors outside the school.
“If you’d like to develop some career skills that can allow you to have a meaningful career improving the world around you, the O’Neill School is a great choice,” Siena said.
O’Neill students go on to careers in public service, business and nonprofit management.
Students who have questions about the best course for their academic plan can contact O’Neill’s lead academic advisor Brett Reardon.