University of Maryland College Park
African American Studies Department
AASP 101: Public Policy and the Black Community
Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00-3:15pm
Tydings Hall 0101
Professor: Gniesha Y. Dinwiddie, Ph.D.
Office: 2169 LeFrak Hall Room 2169Q
Direct Telephone: 301-405-8938
Office Hours: Tuesdays 9am-10:50am or by appointment
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to public policy issues confronting
African American communities by examining the role of social policy formation.
course will help students develop an understanding of public policy and the political
process that have implications for government action.
As we survey both current and
past policies, the class will consider the roles played by political access, economic power,
political economy and institutional racism and the impact of racism and discrimination on
the shaping and limitations of policy making.
Throughout the course we will explore the
intersections of race, class, gender, citizenship and national community.
policy concerns include: civil rights, voting rights, education, employment, gender
inequality criminal justice, poverty, healthcare, environmental racism, and economic
Students must be prepared for intensive study, a variety of reading and
writing assignments and active class participation.
At the end of the course, students will
be able to:
1) Define public policy and explain how policy is made on federal, state and local
2) Identify key policies, court cases, events, organizations, and leaders of importance
in the African American community and throughout history.
3) Understand the variety of decision-making and problem solving skills involved in
4) Evaluate the effects on and consequences of certain policies for African
Americans using interdisciplinary methods.
5) Write a short policy brief outlining the statement of the problem, the policy
history, pros/cons of the legislation and potential solutions.