Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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New Pub Series Brings Policy Expertise to Fun Public Gatherings

The college is launching a new series that puts the “public” in Public Policy and the “social” in Social Sciences!

[Listen to the story from FSU news]

As part of our efforts to increase the college’s public awareness and outreach, the new Policy Pub will bring Tallahassee residents and college faculty together in a relaxed social environment to dialogue about key public policy issues of our time.

Each day, policy decisions that directly impact our lives are made at the local, state, national, and global levels. What are these decisions? Who are the individuals and institutions that make them? How do these decisions get made and what effect do they have on our day-to-day lives?

The College of Social Science and Public Policy faculty is in the business of researching, teaching, and furthering understanding about these questions, and they’re eager to share information and ideas about public policy with the community at large in an informal non-academic setting.

The “pub” is the brainchild of Sociology Professor Deana Rohlinger, who was inspired by the popular Science Cafés presented by FSU’s National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

“Those are such great events because they’re fun social gatherings that impart a wealth of information about subjects people may be familiar with but don’t completely understand,” Rohlinger said. “Public policy can be as mysterious to people as science, yet it has as great an effect on all our lives. We thought this would be the perfect way to get people learning, thinking, and talking about important issues. These won’t be dry academic lectures but lively, informal gatherings of people interested in how our local and national institutions work.”

Policy Pub takes place on select Tuesday evenings at 5:30 p.m. at Backwoods Bistro, a popular restaurant and bar on Tennessee Street at Gadsden, just east of downtown. The informal setting allows people to sit at tables, order from the Bistro menu, hear a presentation of about 15-20 minutes, then ask questions and talk about the night’s topic.

The first three Policy Pubs are scheduled for this fall. Naturally enough for this season, they focus on the national elections. Rather than partisan discussions on particular candidates, the presentations will look more closely at how elections and campaigns operate in contemporary America, focusing on personality, the media, public expectation and awareness, and what it all means for future policy decisions.

FSU political scientists and sociologists will help make sense of a perplexing presidential race (Leroy Collins Institute Director Carol Weissert, September 13), understand the factors that motivate voter behavior (Political Science Professors Brad Gomez and Robert Jackson, October 18), and examine the implications of the election outcome, particularly for health care and women’s rights (Pepper Center Director Larry Polivka and Sociology Professor Deana Rohlinger, November 15).

Weissert’s kick-off Pub session, “How Did We Get Here, Where Are We Headed?” on Tuesday, September 13, will look at the decisions, personalities, and institutions, both public and private, that have shaped an unconventional campaign. In addition to her Collins Institute directorship, Weissert is the Leroy Collins Eminent Scholar and Chair of Civic Education and Political Science at FSU. Her career has focused largely on issues relating to federalism, intergovernmental relations, state politics, and health policy. She received a Fulbright Distinguished Chair award, the most prestigious appointment in the Fulbright Scholar Program, to conduct research in Australia on the influence of state elected officials on national health policy compared to the United States.

“The college’s faculty and students do so much great work on virtually every economic, political, and social issue that society is facing in the 21st century, so we’re excited to be sharing our expertise and ideas with the community,” said COSSPP Interim Dean Tim Chapin. “It’s important for us to get out beyond the campus. Policy Pub is a great way to promote a healthy dialogue on these issues and contribute to the intellectual and social life of the city of Tallahassee.”

Policy Pub Fall Series
Backwoods Bistro
401 East Tennessee St. (at Gadsden), Tallahassee

Beyond the Noise: Surviving the 2016 Election

September 13, 2016, 5:30 p.m
“How Did We Get Here? Where Are We Headed?”
Carol Weissert, Director
Leroy Collins Institute

October 18, 2016, 5:30 p.m.
“Why Do We Vote?”
Brad Gomez and Robert Jackson
Professors of Political Science

November 15, 2016, 5:30 p.m.
“It’s Over! What Now?”
Deana Rohlinger, Professor of Sociology
Larry Polivka, Director of the Claude Pepper Center