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University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

Thomas C. Sorensen Policy Seminar Series

In 1996, Nebraska native Tom Sorensen approached Dean Brian Foster of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to discuss three problems that troubled him, and continue to trouble people today.

The first, as Dr. Sorensen described it, is the paucity of public discussion of policy issues with a dominance of what discussion there is by only those directly affected by particular issues. The second and related problem is that too few citizens participate in public affairs and run for office. Finally, the third is that many newly elected officials, especially at the local level, know very little about their role, relevant policy issues, and policy matters in general upon assuming office.

Dr. Sorensen gave an endowment to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Arts and Sciences with the understanding that its income would support educational activities to help promote discussion of policy issues among Nebraskans, encourage their participation in public affairs and running for office, and educate newly elected officials.

Previous Seminars

2017
U.S. Foreign Policy: A View from the House of Representatives, Featuring Congressman Don Bacon
Learning to Live with the Trickster: Resilience Theory and Environmental Law in the Anthropocene

2016
U.S. Foreign Policy Towards the Middle East and the World, Featuring Congressman Brad Ashford
The Death Penalty in Nebraska: A Debate Featuring Senator Colby Coash and Senator Beau McCoy

2015
U.S. Foreign Policy: A View from the Senate, featuring Senator Deb Fischer
Ethical Issues Implicating Ebola Virus Disease Response

2014
The Intersection of Climate and Health: Connecting Historical Trends to Current Public Health Opportunities – Lessons from the Wisconsin BRACE Program
The Future of Pest-Resistant Crops

2013
In the Middle Class but Single and Living Alone: What are the Economic, Racial, and Political Implications?
College Tuition and Student Debt: Historical, Policy, and Global Perspectives
Climate Change and its Effect on Human Health

2012
Taxing the Rich: What’s Fair, What Works, and Why?

2011
Food Deserts and Public Policy
Huskers Fighting Hunger

2010
Women Veterans Returning Home
“An Inconvenient Tax”: Screening and Discussion

2009
Senator Ben Nelson: Civic Engagement and Public Participation
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry: Renewable Energy and Nebraska’s Future
Should “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” be Maintained or Lifted?

2008
Bob Kerrey and Senator Chuck Hagel: Ensuring Health and Financial Security for All
National Climate Change Legislation and Opportunities for Nebraska

2007
Martin Luther King Week Policy Seminar
Rural Nebraska and Immigration
The ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy in the Post-9/11 World

2006
Nebraska Responds to Katrina
Voices of Katrina

2005
Economic Development and Native American Sovereignty
Nebraska Schools and Community Vitality
Rural Policy and Leadership

2004
Nation Building: United States Involvement and Global Perspectives
Forum for Political Leadership
American Power in a Fractured World & Global Instability

2003
Policymakers and the Fourth Estate: Working with the Media
Forum for Political Leadership
Policy Models and Innovations for Small Town Success

2002
Forum for Political Leadership

2001
Rural and Urban Economic Development (February)
Rural and Urban Health Policy (March)
Rural and Urban Education Policy (March)
Participating in the Public Policy Process  (April)
Rural and Urban Tax Policy
Public Policy Formulation & Analysis
Forum for Political Leadership
Participating in the Public Policy Process (September)
Rural and Urban Education Policy (November)
Rural and Urban Economic Development (December)

2000
Public Policy Formulation and Analysis
Education Policy
Health Policy
Environmental Policy

Funding

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