Learning About Rural Policy Analysis

Rural matters! Rural represents about a third of the economy and population in Canada. Rural is important and deserves particular policy to address these diverse places and peoples. As such rural needs specialized policy training. So no surprise, developing a graduate diploma in rural policy analysis is an important project for the Rural Policy Learning Commons at Brandon University.

This project has significant support among RPLC partners as well as benefiting from subject areas discussed at the International Comparative Rural Policy Studies (ICRPS) program.

From a Canadian perspective, Drs. Bill Ashton and Gary McNeely have taken on this graduate diploma project. Our main research question is: What subject areas could constitute a graduate certificate in rural policy analysis, for an increasingly globalized? Our recent Case Study analyzed possible subject areas from over 800 courses from 22 Canadian Master of Public Policy (MPP) and Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs and over 280 learning outcomes from the 2015 ICRPS Summer Institute. Overlaps between them include policy development and implementation, research methods, analytic tools, and governmental relations. We also found the MPP/MPA programs uniformly lacked a concentrated study of rural and regional issues. Rural scholars and policy specialists are pointing to the most relevant subject areas to the Canadian context and identifying key teaching pedagogies to deliver a diploma.

Bill Ashton, RDI Director, Rural Development Institute ashtonw@brandonu.ca
June 2016

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