In a project-based practicum course, students participate in a weekly seminar and work on a project under the supervision of their professor.
Course Description. Through this practicum, students will learn the Constitutional and statutory underpinnings for the U.S. military personnel system and veterans affairs system. Students will also be exposed to background materials which explain the illustration of these systems. Students in this practicum will also gain experience and expertise in policy analysis, including legal analysis, policy and programming analysis, cost analysis, and political analysis. For most weeks of the course, we will conduct a "deep dive" into one substantive issue or framework issue for the community. The objective of this course is to train students to prepare policy analyses and/or draft legislation focused on veterans and military personnel policy, with the course objective being a written policy analysis or legal analysis, delivered to the seminar with an oral briefing.
Project Work. Students will work with the professor to develop or support a policy analysis paper, draft legislative proposal, or research contribution that relates to contemporary research on veterans and military personnel issues. Students will select a project within the scope of veterans and military personnel policy (such as by writing a detailed analysis of that issue/bill, complete with detailed recommendations tied to their analysis of the issue). An illustrative example might be veterans’ access to care issues, which a student could analyze in the context of available VA population data and expenditures data, producing a recommendation for greater use of public-private partnerships and purchased care, accompanied by draft legislation that would amend Title 38, U.S. Code, to enable this recommendation. Another example (from a past class) could be a quantitative and qualitative analysis of military appeals court rulings on the issue of "unlawful command influence" and implications for policymakers and commanders seeking to address sexual assault in the ranks. Students will work directly for Prof. Carter, who directs a research program on personnel and resources at the RAND Corporation, and will also have the opportunity to engage with other policy analysis organizations, veterans service organizations, legislative offices, and advocacy groups throughout this course.