Engaging Students in New Jersey's Public Policy Issues
Steve Adubato sits down with Benjamin Dworkin, Ph.D., Director of Rowan Institute for Public Policy & Citizenship, Rowan University, to break down New Jersey public policies and student engagement in public policy.
"We are pleased to welcome Doctor Ben Dworkin, Director of Rowan Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship. Good to see you my friend. Good to see you Steve. Thanks so much. It's been a long time. Let folks know what this institute is all about. The Rowan Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship is based at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. It's about 18 months old right now. I'm the founding director. And it's designed to inform, engage, and train Rowan students, Rowan faculty, and the public in all aspects of applied politics and public policy. And our general view is that everybody needs to know enough politics to be dangerous, to be engaged, to be informed. These are what... this is the bread and butter of how people, how any citizen, can make a difference. And we try and make sure people understand the process, have experience in the process, particularly our students. You know, I'm curious. You and I have had so many on air and off air conversations over the years, and I often like to say, "We don't do politics. We do more policy." Can you separate the two? Sure. You can separate the two in terms of talking about it. How about the reality of making public policy? Good... Quite political? [laughter] It's all political. Because... All? It is. But this is why. Because anybody can come up with a good policy. But unless you have the votes, and you know this as well as anybody, unless you have the votes to pass that policy... In New Jersey, 21 and 41? In New Jersey, 21. And... 21, 41, and 1? Exactly. The most... 21 in the Senate, 41 in the Assembly, and 1, the governor? The governor. Whoever that is at the time? Exactly. And those are the most important numbers. Whatever it is we are debating in terms of public policy here in New Jersey. The reports... they're out there. There are any number of think tanks. They'll put themselves... they'll be out there. People will read them. But until you can find the votes, it doesn't mean much. It's interesting. You mentioned think tank, which is the name of our sister series as well. What's so interesting is that when people use the word "think tank" in academia, they are... it's some ivory tower stuff in some people's... Right. ...minds. And it's distant. And it's not connected to people's lives. A, that's not what our series is, b, that's not who you want to be? No. It's... absolutely not. We really want our students to become engaged. So one of the things we do, right? We put together a giant internship guide with over a hundred odd internship opportunities. What kind of places? Anything from state legislators..."