Public Policy and Service


Patrick A. McLean, director, Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service.
B.A., 1985, University of Dayton; M.A., 1987, Miami University (Ohio).

Edward J. Visco, associate director, Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service.
B.A., 2004, Albion College; M.Ed., 2006, Chestnut Hill College.

Ann M. Garrett, coordinator, Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service.
B.S., 1993, Michigan State University.


President Gerald R. Ford created what is now the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service at Albion College in 1977. The Institute provides an opportunity for undergraduate-level students to explore policy issues more fully and to prepare future leaders in all fields through course work, service, internships and personal mentoring.

The Ford Institute concentration is open to students with a serious interest in public service, regardless of their academic major. The program includes courses in ethics, public policy and communication, as well as a range of choices from courses in economics and management, English, modern languages, history and political science. Students must be admitted to the Ford Institute to pursue this concentration. Visit the Ford Institute website for information on the application process.

The major in public policy provides students with an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the mechanisms by which government interacts with stakeholders for the common good. It draws on the principles, practices, and research methods of the social sciences and philosophy to provide students with the theoretical and analytic skills relevant to today's most pressing global issues. The major prepares students for careers in government or for private-sector careers related to government policy. It also provides good preparation for students planning on attending law school or earning a master's degree and/or Ph.D. in public policy, public administration, public health or social policy.

Major and Concentration

Requirements for Major in Public Policy

  • Five units: Economics and Management 101, 230 or 230H, and 322 (or the Political Science equivalent of 322); Political Science 101 and 216
  • One unit in statistics chosen from among Economics and Management 235, Mathematics 109 and Mathematics 210.
  • One unit in research methods chosen from among Anthropology and Sociology 224, Economics and Management 379 and Political Science 201.
  • Two units, which must be taken in two different departments, chosen from the following restricted electives related to public policy:
    Anthropology and Sociology 345, 370
    Economics and Management 232, 273, 323, 331, 353, 354, 375
    Philosophy 206, 301, 303, 304, 308, 335
    Political Science 214, 220, 319, 322, 323, 324
    One or two units of approved selected topics courses or seminars (Anthropology and Sociology, Economics and Management, or Political Science 289, 389, or 402)
  • One unit chosen from: (1) an approved internship (Anthropology and Sociology, Economics and Management, Political Science, or Public Service 392); (2) Honors thesis for credit in anthropology and sociology, economics and management, political science, or public service; or (3) an approved directed study (Anthropology and Sociology, Economics and Management, Political Science, or Public Service 412). This requirement may also be satisfied by similar experiences in other relevant departments with the approval of the Ford Institute director.
  • A substantial paper and an oral presentation on a topic related to public policy. This paper and presentation will be completed as part of the requirements for Economics and Management 322 or the Political Science equivalent.

Students who enroll in the Washington Semester program at the American University can receive up to two units of credit toward the requirements of the public policy major, subject to the approval of the chair of the Public Policy Committee.

Requirements for Concentration in Public Policy and Service

  • A minimum of seven units including the following. Note: Students must be admitted to the Ford Institute for Public Policy and Service to pursue this concentration.
  • PBSV 101, Introduction to Public Service. (Required for first year.)
  • Political Science 101, 216
  • At least one unit selected from Communication Studies 241, 245; English 203, 205, 207, Economics and Management 101, one semester of modern language at the 200-level or above
  • At least one unit selected from Philosophy 201, 202, 206, 301, 302, 303, 304, 308, or Religion 242
  • Internship (one unit)
  • PBSV 397, Senior Colloquium (to be taken during spring of senior year)
  • All courses for the concentration must be taken for a numerical grade, except those offered only on a credit/no credit basis.

Public Policy and Service Courses

101 Introduction to Public Service (1)
Prerequisite: Membership in the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service.
Introduces new Ford Institute students to public policy and public service issues. Examines a broad range of themes including ethics, civic engagement, the history of public service in the United States and contemporary public policy concerns. Staff.

391, 392 Internship (1/2, 1)
Offered on a credit/no credit basis. Staff.

397 Senior Colloquium (1/2)
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
Analysis of selected public policy issues. Colloquium includes discussion of the economics, politics, social and ethical factors that go into the making of public policy. Staff.

401, 402 Seminar (1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.

411, 412 Directed Study (1/2, 1)