Thomas C. Sorensen Seminar: Education Policy


At each level of government, education policymaking occupies more time and more resources than virtually any other policy area. It is for this reason that the historical, social, political, and economic contexts that influence education policy and which, in turn, are influenced by the nature and quality of a nation’s educational system must be understood in the larger context of the public policy process. This seminar addressed all phases of the policymaking cycle, including problem identification, policy development, policy analysis, political decision making, policy implementation, and policy evaluation through applied analyses of contemporary education policies and policy proposals to help decision-makers improve education policy.

Seminar leaders:
Jody Isernhagen is an associate professor of Educational Administration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She received an M.A. in curriculum and instruction and Ed.D. in administration, curriculum, and instruction from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Isernhagen is the co-author of three books and numerous articles on school leadership and improving schools. Recent publications have appeared in the Journal for School Improvement, T.H.E. Journal, Technology Horizons in Education, and The Rural School. Dr. Isernhagen was the state representative of the U.S. Department of Education National School Design Conference. She was also the convener of the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration. In 1997, she received both The University Council for Educational Administration Excellence in Education Award and the Nebraska Council of School Administrators Distinguished Service Award.

Ardyce Bohlke is the Nebraska state senator for District #33, which encompasses all of Adams County and a portion of Hall County in central Nebraska. She was first appointed by Governor Ben Nelson in 1991 and was reelected in 1992 and again in 1996. Senator Bohlke has served as Senate Education Committee chair since 1994. She is a former member of the Hastings Board of Education, 1980-1988, where she served as president from 1984 to 1987. Her awards of recognition include the 1999 Distinguished Service Award from the Nebraska Educational Service Units, the 1999 Nebraska State Education Association Friend of Education Award, the 1998-1999 Education Commission of the State's Chairman’s Award, and Nebraska Schoolmasters 2000 Distinguished Service Award. Senator Bohlke has a B.S. in education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Sandra Scofield is the director of the Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is the former chief of staff to Governor Ben Nelson and served as Nebraska state senator for District #49, which encompasses all of Sioux, Dawes, and Box Butte Counties, as well as parts of Sheridan, Scotts Bluff, and Banner Counties, from 1983-1992. Senator Scofield is the past director of the Career Development Center and was director of planning at Chadron State College. From 1969 to 1971, she taught economics, psychology, and history at Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Senator Scofield has a B.S. in social sciences and education and an M.A. in educational psychology and measurements from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.