You are here

Public Policy Degree Faculty

Rob DeLeo
Assistant Professor of Public Policy
Department of Global Studies

Why do you enjoy teaching public policy–related courses at a business university?

Business universities are a fantastic place to teach public policy. Public policy and business are not mutually exclusive. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find many laws or policies that do not require compliance and participation from businesses and other private sectors. From climate change to health care, disaster preparedness to social security, many of our most important social issues necessitate involvement from the private sector. What is more, the academic study of public policy and administration borrows — sometimes quite heavily — from a variety of “business”-related subfields, including economics, organizational theory, and even human resources management. As a teacher, it is incredibly rewarding to investigate the interaction between these two forces because, prior to taking my classes, many students assume the work of government has nothing to do with the work of business. Understanding how and why these two sectors interact with one another is beneficial to business and public policy majors alike, as both sets of students will spend most of their careers working with one another — although they might not realize it yet! 

Which course is your favorite to teach and why?

GLS 230 US Politics and Policy is my favorite course to teach. For one, it is a core course for our Public Policy major and provides students with a conceptual foundation that they will build from in subsequent classes. Secondly, it provides an overview of the entire policymaking process, from the identification of social issues (policy problems) to the design of laws to the implementation these new policies. I derive enormous pleasure from investigating each of these stages with my students, many of whom are otherwise unfamiliar with this policymaking cycle. By the end of the semester, each and every student will, at the very least, have a basic understanding of virtually every aspect of the policymaking cycle. In fact, the course culminates with students completing a “normative policy analysis” of a law or program of their choosing. It is incredibly rewarding watch them apply course concepts to a topic they find interesting. 

Where do you think business can have the biggest impact on public policy? Or vice-versa?

Business has a tremendous impact on public policy. Rarely, if ever, will a legislature or bureaucratic agency create a new policy or adopt a new rule without consulting and considering the interests of business. What is more, it is not uncommon for business and other nongovernmental organizations to fulfill functions that serve the broader “public good” without prodding or demands from government. In other words, to create policy without government. For example, in the area of climate change policy, many private companies have voluntarily taken steps to mitigate their greenhouse gas emission and reduce their carbon footprint. Business, in other words, can be a leader in crafting this sort of “transnational” policy.  

What skills do graduates leave with that help them make an impact in public policy–related fields?

I aspire to teach my students how to speak the language of government. By the time a student leaves my class, they will know how to navigate the policy process as both a political insider (e.g., a legislative aide or a bureaucratic) and as a political outsider (e.g., the owner of small business or a lobbyist). Regardless of their career path, students will benefit from understanding the policymaking process and the various “pressure points” within government. This sort of dynamism really distinguishes Bentley students and our public policy majors in particular (many of whom double major in Business Studies), as very few undergraduates will enter the workforce with such a robust understanding of both public and private sector work.   

What types of careers do your students typically pursue?

Our students pursue a variety of careers. Of course, many students have pursued careers in government, be it in a legislative or bureaucratic setting. However, many others have pursued careers in the private sector, including work in consulting firms.