We've had some important decisions to make about our structure. We are a novel hybrid organization within SCRA. We have valuable committee status and a valued body of working members who want a close involvement with our policy work. We also have a large group of folks who desire a deeper policy involvement in the form of updates on committee activities and information on internal and external policy opportunities. It is the job of the Committee to provide resources and serve the interests of the larger policy community. We were previously calling this latter group the policy interest group; however, this is not appropriate according to the definition in the SCRA bylaws (interest groups are not affiliated with a committee). So, we needed a new name to accurately describe our structure. Since we serve a community within SCRA, community members seemed most appropriate. So, we welcome our "interest group" to membership in the first SCRA community! This real-world community organizing structure has proved very successful and we hope it will provide a valuable model for other SCRA committees.
As part of establishing policy for our community, we a proposed a change to the name of the Social Policy Committee. This was approved by the EC at the midwinter meeting and we are now officially the Public Policy Committee. The rational for this comes from the definition of public policy within SCRA and in the larger policy community. Public policy can be understood as a deliberate course of action that affects the people as a whole, now and in the future. (Cordray & Morphy, 2007). As you can see, this definition is broad and while the term public policy does have traditional undertones of a government-level intervention, our definition does not distinguish between governmental and non-governmental policies. The Policy Committee feels that a more inclusive definition may be more representative of the types of policy activities in which SCRA members participate. Therefore, we prefer a name reflecting interventions at all levels of governing bodies and local organizations (such as SCRA). Public policy can also originate from the constituent base or decision-makers (grassroots organizing or interactions with institutions). Considering the interconnectedness implicit in all social systems, it is misleading to compartmentalize policy as strictly top-down or bottom-up, and thus we prefer a more general notion of public policy.
We have only scratched the surface of the exciting developments and opportunities becoming available in public policy through the hard work of our Committee & Community members. Please stay tuned to one of these communication channels for up-to-date policy information.
Nicole Porter, Chair
Steve Howe, Co-Chair
Judah Viola, Chair-Elect/Brief Coordinator
Steve Pokorny, Chair-Emeritus
Leonard Jason, Committee Advisor/ First SCRA Distinguished Policy Award Recipient
Aaron Boulton, Student Representative
Blair Coleman, Government Relations Liaison
Nancy Bothne, Curriculum Coordinator
Jennifer Mortenson, General Counsel Liaison
Darrin Aase, Policy Outreach Consultant
Claudia Feldhaus, Policies and Procedures Coordinator
Steve Rogers, Public Policy Intern