UNC Public Policy Capstone and Clinic
The UNC Public Policy Clinic and Capstone Programs offer students the opportunity to integrate and apply their academic knowledge and skills in a real-world policy environment. In these courses, student teams take on consulting projects from community or government organizations that seek policy research or analysis.
The Capstone program is the culminating experience of the Public Policy undergraduate major, intended for senior public policy majors. Students work in small teams to produce actionable, client-centered, public policy analysis for a government agency or non-profit organization. Over the course of a semester, student teams meet with their client, develop a work plan, research relevant policy issues, collect relevant data, identify and analyze policy options, and produce a final professional-level report that includes specific recommendations for action.
Examples of recent past projects:
- North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association: students identified policy issues likely to arise for North Carolina counties and cities seeking to adopt and implement a template ordinance for solar installations.
- Beaufort County, NC: students identified local assets and best practice examples in support of a regional river-based ecotourism initiative for Beaufort County and its adjacent jurisdictions.
- Carrboro, NC (Creative Carrboro Steering Committee): students identified Carrboro’s creative assets, solicited and reviewed community input, and provided a report to the Steering Committee on strategies for arts-based economic development.
In the Clinic, an outgrowth of the Capstone Program, students from a range of majors in the College of Arts and Sciences work in small consulting teams with faculty assistance. Over the course of a semester, student teams partner with community organizations in order to identify and propose solutions to policy problems. The Clinic adds a real-world component to the students’ academic studies. Students are encouraged to apply their theoretical and analytical knowledge to assess each organization’s individual needs. Research techniques of asset mapping, needs assessment, program evaluation, and strategic planning consulting are all possible applied learning examples. Organizations interested in participating in the program as community partners should contact Dr. Daisha M. Merritt.