Coastal Carolina University has established the Institute for Leadership and Public Policy (ILPP), a new resource that will have far-reaching significance for the university and the region.
Administered through the Department of Politics and Geography in CCU’s Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts, the ILPP will focus on three primary activities: (1) polling, (2) policy analysis and (3) leadership opportunities for students. In conjunction with CCU’s emphasis on experiential learning, the new institute is designed to involve students in all aspects of its activities.
The polling component of the initiative will focus primarily on issues relating to governance and policy questions, providing scholars with an outlet for investigating important questions of public concern. Polls conducted by ILPP will focus mainly on topics that are relevant to the state of South Carolina or the Southern region of the U.S.
An inaugural study, conducted by CCU professor Adam Chamberlain with student assistance, surveyed county council members throughout South Carolina on their opinions about state governance issues. Surveys are also planned that collect data from city managers and mayors throughout the Southern states. ILPP will also conduct polls on behalf of external clients.
In addition to the valuable data that the polling projects will produce and the exposure CCU will receive in their dissemination, university officials believe the program’s major advantage is the depth of student involvement. “Students are learning how to write surveys and polls, how to administer them and collect data, and how to analyze survey results,” says Holley Tankersley, chair of CCU’s Department of Politics and Geography.
ILPP will also produce reliable, nonpartisan policy research and analysis. Policy analysis projects will be conducted through university courses or as independent research. For example, a group of students in CCU’s social policy class (POLI 459) has produced a paper that analyzes the national standards for school nutrition as they are implemented in South Carolina.
“Providing precise and jargon-free information about the public policy challenges we face will help our citizens make informed decisions and enable our political leaders to better address the concerns of the citizenry,” says Dan Ennis, dean of the Edwards College. “The initiatives conducted through ILPP will foster collaborations between the community, region and state.”
ILPP’s student leadership component will involve students in CCU’s Jackson Scholars program, which is focused on developing leaders with a strong ethical foundation. Opportunities will also be given to other students across campus interested in building their leadership skills by taking part in civic engagement activities and pursuing independent research and internships that increase their community involvement.
“These initiatives and their associated courses will introduce students to the practice and purpose or public service, leadership and good citizenship,” says Ennis.
More information about ILPP is available at coastal.edu/humanities/ILPP.