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An innovative class format made its debut this semester as a prototype for a multi-disciplinary public policy major under development. Mark Crain, William E. Simon Professor of Political Economy,developed the course, calledIndustry, Strategy, and Policy, to promote interest in, and prepare students for, careers in public policy and government affairs.

“The course is designed to probe the intersection of business and politics by stressing the myriad ways that polices affect business decisions and market outcomes,” Crain says. “It provides students a unique opportunity to learn about the major sectors of the global economy.”

Thirteen prominent guest commentators, including nine distinguished Lafayette alumni, participated in the course.

Teams of three to four students were assigned to present briefings to the class on the major sectors of the global economy, including health care, finance, telecommunications, national security, information and media, information technology, manufacturing, transportation, and energy. The teams submitted a draft written report to Crain and the guest commentators one week before they were scheduled to give a briefing. Each week’s guest offered comments and feedback on the student team’s draft report and briefing, and then offered his or her own perspective on the sector. The guests’ comments were then followed by an open debate, questions and answers, and general discussion. The teams revised their sector reports in light of the class discussion and comments. In addition, the teams videotaped their briefings, and were required to produce a short video on the sector as part of their final course grade.

“What is most remarkable is that it is a winning situation for everyone involved,” Crain says.

Matthew Mitchell ’06 (Sherman Oaks, Calif.), an economics and business major, says, “As a student, I would have little or no access to high caliber professionals such as the ones who were in attendance during this class. It really is amazing to have the opportunity to interact and to get to know and learn about these people and their fields in a relaxed and informal environment.”

Before each class session the student presenters, guests, and Crain met for dinner. One of the guest commentators, Harold Kamine ’78, chairman of KMC Telecom and a Lafayette trustee, noted how much he enjoyed the opportunity to be directly involved with the students.

Other guests included Shawn Coughlin ’87, principal and COO of Capitol Health Group; William Rappolt ’67, retired treasurer of M&T Bank; Peter Jacoby ’81, Vice President-Director for Congressional Affairs of AT&T; Fred Benson ’59, of Benson Capitol Commentary; Susan Fox ’88, Vice-President of Government Regulations, the Walt Disney Company; Christopher Caine ’78, Vice President of Governmental Programs for IBM; Roger Heumann ’75, President of Olympia Sports Co.; and Stephen Pryor ’71, President of ExxonMobil.

Categorized in: Academic News