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W&M Program in Public Policy

Founded in 1987, the Public Policy Program is among the College's most interdisciplinary and collaborative programs, designed to address what the National Commission on the Public Service identified as the "quiet crises" in government -- the need "to attract, develop, and retain professionals of the highest caliber." To respond to this challenge, in 1991 the Jefferson Program enrolled its first class of graduate students. Since that time, over 120 students have graduated from the Program with a Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) degree. Of these students, 20 graduated with a joint degree in public policy and another specialty area, such as business (M.P.P./M.B.A.), law (M.P.P./J.D.), marine science (M.P.P./M.S.), or operations research (M.P.P./M.S. - Computational Operations Research).

The Program draws heavily from the Departments of Economics and Government and the School of Law, as well as other professional schools (Business, Education, and Marine Science) and several other departments (History, Philosophy, Sociology). The Program's health policy course has been taught by two faculty members, Leonard Schifrin and Jennifer Mellor. Professor Schifrin, Chancellor Professor of Economics, has conducted research in health and medical policy, testified on the health care industry, and consulted on various health policy issues. Professor Mellor, an Assistant Professor in Economics and a former Scholar in the Health Policy Research Program at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, currently teaches the Program's health policy course, which, among other things, examines changes in the provision of health care occurring with the growth of managed care. Last year, Professor Mellor was awarded a grant from the National Institute on Aging to examine the factors associated with the decision of elderly individuals to obtain privately-financed insurance for long-term care.

Faculty, students, and staff of the Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy and its research arm, the Center for Public Policy Research, conduct numerous evaluation studies related to health services and the delivery of health care. Research has focused on broad national health policies and the delivery of health care services within the Commonwealth and its localities. The Program has investigated both public and private sector issues in the delivery of those services and has developed recommendations to improve their availability and quality.

The Center also has the capability to evaluate science and technology programs. For example, Center faculty have evaluated the NASA Langley Research Center's Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR). This research examined and evaluated several outcomes and patterns of SBIR awards and awardees, including commercialization, financing issues, and the degree of customer satisfaction. Center faculty and staff have also worked with Sandia National Laboratories in developing performance measures for the U.S. Department of Energy and reviewing cost-benefit studies.

Select Projects Completed by the Thomas Jefferson Program Program in Public


2010 Division of Parks and Recreation, James City County, VA The Economic Impact of Parks and Recreational Facilities in James City County
Air Combat Command, United States Air Force Use of Federal Land for Renewable Energy Development and National Defense
Virginia's Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) The Policy Effectiveness of Tax Preferences in Virginia
Williamsburg Community Health Foundation and Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools Design, Fielding and Analysis of School-Based Surveys on Health Behaviors
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Best Practices in Evaluating the Impact of Agriculture Projects in Developing Countries
Virginia's Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) Prosecution of Medicaid Fraud in Virginia
2009 World Bank  An Analysis of the European Union's Emission Trading System
Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis  A Profile of Immigrants in Virginia's Economy
Rita Welsh Adult Literacy Program (RWALP) (a non-profit organization housed at W&M) What is the Economic Impact of Adult Literacy Programs of the Type Offered at RWALP:  Focus on Employment, Income, Poverty, and Health Outcomes
Virginia's Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) What are the Economic Impacts of Requiring the Virginia Treasury to Place Treasury-Managed Funds with In-State versus Out-of-State Financial Institutions    
Urban Institute Foreclosures, Minorities, and Immigrants in Prince William County, Virginia     
Williamsburg City Education Review Committee (WCERC) What are Plausible Models for Moving the School Students (K-12) from the Combined Williamsburg-James City County School Division to an Independent City of Williamsburg Approach (powerpoint presentation)
Office of Economic Development at the College of William & Mary A Benefit-Cost Analysis of the Provision of a Year-Round Free Clinic in Petersburg, Virginia (powerpoint presentation)
Alliance for the Family (AFF) (a non-profit organization) The Impact of Character Education in Latin America
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Program Analysis and Evaluation Analyzing the Transportation Security Administration "9-11 Fees"