Public Policy receives thumbs-up from U.S. News

By Angela Swilley
News Staff

Another of Georgia Tech's academic programs has received national recognition from U.S. News and World Reports. Tech's school of Public Policy was ranked third nationally in the 1998 U.S. News Best Graduate Schools for "Information and Technology Policy." This is the first time that U.S. News has ranked graduate schools of public affairs.
According to Professor Richard Barke of the School of Public Policy, this is a great accomplishment for a school created only seven years ago. The Master's program of the School of Public Policy was created in 1991 after the School of Social Sciences was reorganized.
In the years since its creation, the School has achieved national prominence behind only Carnegie Mellon and Syracuse University, schools with much older and well-established programs in public policy.
The School of Public Policy has four main areas of concentration: Science and Technology Policy, Environmental Policy, Telecommunication and Information, and Technology and Economic Development.
Professor Barke feels that it the School is strongest in areas that deal with the interaction of government and industry. This interaction includes questions of how research and development are funded, the roles of the public and private sectors in this funding, economic, social, and political evaluation of research, and how science and technology are used, misused, or ignored in policy making.
When the School was first created, it consisted of only a Master's program. A Ph.D. Program was added last fall, and when Tech switches to semesters, a bachelor's program will also be created. The bachelor's program will include a pre-Law track.
The School consists of students and faculty with mixed backgrounds. Many students have background in the humanities, but Tech is unique in having a graduate policy program with many students with a background in science and engineering.
The faculty also has a range of backgrounds including political science, economics, philosophy, and law. This diversity helps relate the various fields, and Professor Barke says that the School "expect[s] our students to bridge that gap."
"[The School of Public Policy] has worked really hard to achieve national prominence in this area and it is nice to be recognized for it," said Professor Barke.
Barke hopes this recognition helps make the program more visible and attracts more attention. He feels that the average Tech students need to "realize that an important part of their work will be affected by or will affect policy decisions."
Barke also believes it is to students' professional advantage to learn more about policy and would like to see more students take classes in the School.

Copyright © 1998 by Gregory S. Scherrer, Editor and by the Student Publications Board

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