Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Policy Pub

Each day, policy decisions that directly impact our lives are made at the local, state, national, and global levels. At the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, our faculty is in the business of researching, teaching, and furthering understanding these decisions, the people and institutions who make them, and how they affect us all.

Policy Pub is an opportunity to tap into that knowledge and experience and to connect with experts and fellow citizens in an informal atmosphere.

Policy Pub attendees listen to brief, plain-language talks about such topics as politics, economics, the environment, and more. Then they ask questions and engage in friendly dialogue. It’s fun, social, interactive, and highly informative.

After each Pub session, we post audio from the evening and the faculty presenter’s Power Point so you can follow along with their presentation. You can access these on the individual Pub pages below.

Policy Pub Election Series: How Did We Get Here? Where Are We Headed?
Carol Weissert, Director, Leroy Collins Institute
September 13, 2016

Policy Pub Election Series: Why Do We Vote?
The fall series focuses on aspects of the 2016 election. This event features Professors of Political Science Brad Gomez and Robert Jackson speaking on the factors that motivate voter behavior. Their research focuses on such aspects of the issue as how individuals utilize information in constructing their political decisions and how TV advertising and the tone of a campaign influence turnout and participation.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Policy Pub Election series: It’s Over! What Now?
This event features Professor of Sociology Deana Rohlinger and Claude Pepper Center Director Larry Polivka speaking on the implications of the election outcome for such policy issues as women’s rights and health care.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016 

Robot Cars, Transportation, and the Future of Florida
Tim Chapin, professor of urban and regional planning and interim dean of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, discusses how the coming of robot cars (automated vehicles) will transform the way we travel, where we live and work, and how our communities function.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Going Under? Sea Level Rise and What We’re Doing About It
William Butler, associate professor of urban and regional planning, discusses how planners in Florida are responding to the long term and slowly emerging changes associated with accelerating sea level rise in the state most vulnerable to rising seas. By some measures, Florida is the most vulnerable region in the world. Butler’s presentation will identify the uncertainties and complexities of sea level rise and how planners are addressing sea level rise in the face of varied political, social and economic contexts.  
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Does Public Health Policy Value Women and Children Enough? 
This event features Assistant Professor of Sociology Miranda Waggoner discussing how public health policy that addresses pressing population health problems often overlooks the particular needs of women and children and can lead to inadequate development of vital social and health programs to meet those needs.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

September 2017 – Hurricane cancellation

Understanding State Choices
Frances Berry of the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy will use the issues of medical marijuana and same sex marriage to illuminate the processes by which states determine the laws that will govern their citizens, sometimes at odds with federal laws and policy. State laws regarding same sex marriage and medical marijuana have been changing fast. How have state laws differed?   What are the causes of these changes?  How do we explain state variation in laws adopted? Dr. Berry will open discussion about conflicts between federal and state laws and  the impacts of court decisions  in these policy areas.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ageism in an Aging Society
Our population is aging, with birthday celebrations for those reaching their 80s, 90s, and even beyond now commonplace. But ageism targeting these adults – and those decades younger – remains curiously persistent. In this presentation, Anne Barrett, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy, will discuss these trends and their implications for individuals in all life stages in our aging society. 
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Public Health in the Face of Climate Change
For the first session of the new year, the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy presents Assistant Professor of Geography Christopher Uejio, who has been studying health effects related to climate change, including heat waves and diseases transmitted by mosquitoes (Zika) and water. In his talk, Dr. Uejio looks at how strengthening our institutions and infrastructure can help society withstand and recover from disasters as well as climate change.
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Could the Next Water Crisis Be in Tallahassee?
In this session, the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy presents Associate Professor of Sociology Katrinell Davis, whose research interests focus on urban inequalities, the sociology of poverty, and the social determinants of health. Dr. Davis will talk about her work on the Flint Water crisis and how this kind of disaster could happen in any of America’s cities. 
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Long-Term Consequences of Economic Inequality 
David Rasmussen, Dean Emeritus of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy and the James H. Gapinski Professor of Economics, will speak on economic inequality, particularly as it applies to retired people. Policy analysts predict rising poverty among future retirees because Social Security cannot sustain its benefits and budgets will be strained by rising medical costs.  In fact, the situation is much worse.  Trends in economic inequality will further erode the well-being of people turning 65 in the future.
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Local Organizations Supporting Aging-in-Place: What can we learn? 
In her talk, Professor Emerita Rebecca Miles discusses how an initiative she studied in Kerala, India, the Elderly Inclusion Program, makes it easier for people to age well in community and for families to support and care for their elders. Miles examines the aspects of the political, historical, socioeconomic, and cultural contexts that help make the Elderly Inclusion Program work well in Kerala, and explores how it might need to be adapted to be useful in other places and what we can learn locally and in the U.S. from their experience.
Tuesday, September 11, 2018 

October 2018 – Hurricane cancellation

Unpacking the 2018 Midterm Elections: What Happened and What’s Next?
Every four years, over 60% of the eligible voting public turns out to cast a vote for president. But control of Congress often hinges on midterm elections, in which only roughly 40% of eligible Americans vote. How can we best understand the outcomes of the November 6, 2018 midterm House and Senate races? What factors generally shape national- and race-level outcomes, and which were especially important this year? Ultimately, how does low turnout affect these elections? After discussing the consistencies and novelties of 2018 vis-à-vis past midterm elections, Assistant Professor of Political Science Douglas Ahler will turn to what comes next: What will the relationship be like between the 116th Congress and President Trump? Will government improve, or will gridlock and polarization continue to be the norm? And what, if anything, does 2018 suggest about the upcoming 2020 presidential election?
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 

Is Bigger Better? Benefits and Pitfalls of Regionalizing Public Services
Consolidating public services seems like a no brainer: reduce duplication of services and labor, cut costs, increase efficiency, and get better public services. But does it work in practice? Sam Staley, Director of the DeVoe Moore Center, will look at local government services and explore when consolidation makes sense, when it doesn’t, and what path local communities can take to improve services and avoid busting local budgets.
Tuesday, January 8, 2019 

Longer Lives, New Paths Forward
Despite the fact that a growing proportion of the population can expect to live about three decades beyond the traditional retirement age of 65, we still think about later life as a uniform period of our lives. In fact, greater longevity means later life can be as varied and changeable as our younger years, opening up new paths for our journey forward. In this session, Assistant Professor of Sociology Dawn Carr discusses the importance of cultivating meaningful scripts for the later stages of life and how we can redesign our life course to bolster the quality of our later years. An affiliate of the Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy, Carr will also examine the policy implications of this new reality.
Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Common Sense Economics
In the final Policy Pub for spring semester, Joe Calhoun, director of the Stavros Center for Economic Education, talks about the center’s educators course and companion book, “Common Sense Economics: What Everyone Should Know About Wealth and Prosperity.” As co-author of the book, Calhoun will highlight such concepts and key points as gains from trade, innovation, competitive markets, and sound institutions. While simple on the surface, the nuances of these ideas run deep into the decisions of everyday life. He will also address some of the controversial topics in public policy and dispel several myths about economics: Are trade wars good for the economy? Do corporations pay taxes? Does minimum wage help poor people?
Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

The Hots Are Getting Hotter 
As Policy Pub returns for three new sessions in fall 2019, we kick off with an examination into rising temperatures and what Tallahassee residents can expect from future weather forecasts. James Elsner, chair of the FSU Department of Geography and a nationally cited expert on climate change, storms and their impact on communities, gets the fall series rolling with “The Hots Are Getting Hotter: More Extreme Heat in Tallahassee.” Elsner will present evidence that extremely hot days and hot nights are becoming more common in Tallahassee. 
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Sea Level Rise and Human Migration
The Policy Pub fall series continues with Assistant Professor of Sociology Mathew Hauer’s presentation on climate change – not the physical science involved but its potential impacts on society, particularly how migration induced by sea level rise could reshape the U.S. population distribution. After his brief presentation, “Ripple Effect: How Sea Level Rise Will Reshape the US Population Landscape,” Dr. Hauer will facilitate a community conversation about how this could affect Florida and Tallahassee. In addition to potential impacts on our way of life, the human migration that results from higher water levels along our coasts will certainly have an effect on local and state government policies, so expect another engaging dialogue on that issue. 
Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Planning for Racial Equity
Continuing Policy Pub’s focus on how national, even global, issues affect each of us right here at home, the final session for fall 2019 features Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning April Jackson. Her presentation, “Beyond Redevelopment: Planning for Racial Equity,” will examine the limitations to mixed-income housing plans in Chicago and Seattle and explore how local actors can word towards incorporating racial equity into planning for diverse communities. She will then discuss how some of these strategies can be adapted to mixed-income housing redevelopment efforts in Tallahassee.
Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Generosity in Hurricane Michael’s Wake
In this first Policy Pub of the new year, Assistant Professor of Public Administration David Berlan discusses how the broader community generously donated time, money and other resources to help rebuild after Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida Panhandle in October 2018. Berlan’s brief presentation will cover the surprisingly extensive web of generosity, as well as lessons for continued rebuilding efforts and future disaster responses. After the talk, he will facilitate a public conversation about the importance of the community in recovering from disasters and assisting one another.
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Blue Revolution: Marine Aquaculture and the Future of Sustainable Food Systems
It is estimated that by the year 2050, Earth’s population will reach more than 9 billion people, creating serious challenges for meeting global food demand while also addressing environmental sustainability concerns. In this talk, Assistant Professor of Geography Sarah Lester will discuss the increasing role that marine aquaculture – farming of seafood in the ocean – is likely to play in addressing this wicked problem, both globally and along the Florida Gulf coast.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Perceptions or Reality? Body Cameras, Police Officers and Citizens
Increasingly, police are adopting a myriad of policies to alleviate negative community policing relations. One such policy innovation has been the introduction of body worn cameras (BWC) to hold citizens and police officers more accountable for their actions. As BWC use increases, little is known about what effect it is having on police officers and citizens. In his presentation, Assistant Professor James Wright of the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy will highlight citizens’ perceptions of BWC technology, as well as how the introduction of BWC changes reported crime rates.
Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Going Viral
Alan Rowan, Ph.D., from the college’s interdisciplinary public health program, presents on a subject of great currency: “Going Viral: What We Can Learn from Pandemics Past, Present, and…”  An epidemiologist and much-sought public health expert for more than 25 years, Rowan will talk not just about the current pandemic but about what we can learn from this health crisis and others like it in the past to shed some light on how we manage such situations in the future.
Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Intended Consequences: The Role of Fringe Movements in Civil Unrest
Audrey Heffron-Casserleigh, a professor in the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program at FSU and a senior fellow at the FSU Center for Disaster Risk Policy, will examine the mainstreaming of domestic terror groups and fringe movements such as QAnon, the Boogaloo and Sovereign Citizen, with a look at their recent role in violent counter-protesting.
Tuesday, October 20, 2020 

Campaigns in a New Environment: A Retrospective into Political Campaigns in 2020
Associate Professor of Political Science Hans Hassell, director of FSU’s new Institute of Politics (co-sponsor of this Pub session), talks about politics in a time of crisis and change and other new realities that have made this year’s national elections unlike any others.
Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Bouncing Back: What the Science of Resilience Can Teach Us
Professor of Sociology Miles Taylor will discuss how scientists define resilience, how individuals “become” resilient and the importance of resilience to our future health and wellbeing. 
Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Florida Charter Schools: Not as Good, Or as Bad as Advertised
Professor of Political Science Carol Weissert, director of the Leroy Collins Institute (LCI) will discuss the findings of a recent LCI report that analyzes the trends in racial and economic diversity, accountability, innovation, and transparency of Florida’s charter schools and the ways that oversight of charter schools can be improved and racial and economic diversity prioritized.
Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The Future of Higher Education in a Post-Pandemic World
The year 2020 brought massive changes to almost every industry, and higher education is no exception. Tim Chapin, dean of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy and professor of urban and regional planning, discusses some of the ways that higher education will be different in the years ahead, both in terms of campus life, teaching, research and community engagement and in how these changes affect the economic, cultural and social life of our city.
Tuesday, March 16, 2021