Leadership Class meets with DC policy makers

William and Mary Students Go to Washington to Learn about Policy

EPPL 601 class

Students in EPPL 601, Educational Policy:  Development and Analysis, and Professor Pam Eddy, traveled to Washington, DC on November 5th.  Their visit was hosted at the William and Mary Washington Office, Adam Anthony, director of the office and William & Mary alum, provided an overview of the office services.  Students can access a wide range of the W&M alumni network, utilize the space for meetings when in Washington, and link to policy initiatives.

In the morning, the policy class had a series of speakers from various association offices about the focus of each association's policy agenda.  Speakers included, George Boggs, President of the American Association of Community Colleges.  Dr. Boggs reviewed the top 10 issues facing community colleges and discussed the recent Community College Summit sponsored by the White House (the first of its kind).  Dan Hurley, Director of State Relations and Policy Analysis, at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (http://www.aascu.org/index.htm) reviewed the possible impact on higher education of the mid-term elections.  Brian Sponsler, Research Analyst at the Institute for Higher Education Policy presented research regarding policy collaboration across state borders.

Next, the students went to the hill to meet with legislative aides of Congressman George Miller, the outgoing chair of the Committee on Education and Labor. Jamie Fasteau, Senior Education Policy Advisor, and Denise Forte, Director of Education Policy, have over 25 years experience between them regarding national education policy and are central to providing research to help inform committee members on the reauthorization of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  Students learned firsthand about the stages required behind the scenes as policy is formulated and had an opportunity to provide insights to the staffers from the field and from their own experiences.

The students met with John Kelly, a lobbyist at Cornerstone Government Affairs, who was instrumental in arranging the visit with Representative Miller's office, and who hosted the group for lunch in his firm's conference facility.  The class had read about the role of interest groups and lobbyists in the policy making process and were able to hear how John's firm works on building relationships with various policy makers and stakeholders. 

After lunch, Robin Juliano, Education Policy Advisor for Senator Tom Harkin (Chairman Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, presented a Senate staffer's perspective on the policy process.  Robin reviewed the role of state policy and connections to national policy making.

The final speaker for the day was Cristin Toutsi, Assistant for Policy Analysis at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.  Cristin is a 2008 graduate of the EPPL Higher Education master's program and was able to showcase for students how she became involved in policy with the AGB, namely through a previous class visit to Washington led by Professor David Leslie.  Cristin reviewed with the group a recent report she authored, 2010 Public Institution and University System Financial Conditions Survey.

As Leonard Sledge, student attending the trip, reflected after the trip, "Being able to travel to Washington, DC and to talk with people involved in policy development was a great experience.  It allowed the class to interact with professionals who practice the theory we are learning." Students taking part in the trip included: Katherine Ballard, Kim Brush, Christen Cullum, Michael Donlan, Peter Georges, Crystal Hall, Bert Heath, Elizabeth Hobson, Bjork Honasdottir, Christopher Kelly, Angelo Letizia, Amy Moore, Katherine Nobles, Kim Pickles, Leonard Sledge, Win Stevens, Rachel Strawn, and Susan Swift.  Joining the group was Bihong Li, visiting Chinese Scholar from Hunan University.  Dr. Pamela Eddy is the faculty instructor.