Thomas C. Sorensen Seminar: Participating in the Public Policy Process 2000 (November)


Being able to understand the policy process provides participants with the ability to become more effective in promoting policy issues. The purpose of this workshop was to provide participants with an understanding of the policy process in terms of the various stages, when and why certain issues make it on the public agenda (and why others do not), and the roles of different participants in the policymaking process. A critique of the relationship between experts and policymakers led to an analysis of how language is used to build policy coalitions as well as how citizens are conceptualized and regarded during the policymaking process. This discussion also considered how values such as efficiency, equity, and equality are ideologically constructed.

Seminar leader:
Ethel Williams is an assistant professor of Public Administration in the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s College of Public Affairs and Community Service. She received a M.A. in public administration from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. in public administration and public policy from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her primary interests and expertise centers on the role of citizens in the policy process, and the impact of social policies on target populations and society. She was recently invited to serve on an intercultural research and cultural exchange team that traveled to Vera Cruz, Mexico to study common policy problems and increase cultural interactions and communication between African-American, Mexican-American, and Hispanic academics and other public administration and policy professionals.