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Bill Coplin

Contact Information:


225 Eggers Hall

Office Hours:

By appointment only through my email

Bill Coplin

Professor, Policy Studies

Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence


  • 2024 Spring
    • PST 101 An Introduction to the Analysis of Public Policy
    • PST 416 Community Problem Solving
    • PST 270/470 Experience Credit
    • PST 100 Selected Topics - Strategies for Career Success
    • HNR 220 Seminar: Political Culture and Practice - Skills Win
  • 2023 Fall
    • PST 101 An Introduction to the Analysis of Public Policy
    • PST 416 Community Problem Solving
    • PST 270/470 Experience Credit
    • PST 100 Selected Topics - Strategies for Career Success
  • 2023 Summer
    • IDE 880 Adv Seminar/Sel Top - Intro Analysis of Public Polcy
  • 2023 Spring
    • PST 101 An Introduction to the Analysis of Public Policy
    • PST 416 Community Problem Solving
    • PST 270 Experience Credit
  • 2022 Fall
    • PST 101 An Introduction to the Analysis of Public Policy
    • PST 270 Experience Credit
    • PST 409 Intermediate Analysis of Public ­Policy
    • PST 410 Practicum in Public Policy - Education Policy
  • 2022 Summer
    • IDE 880 Adv Seminar/Sel Top - Intro Analysis of Public Polcy
  • 2022 Spring
    • PST 101 An Introduction to the Analysis of Public Policy
    • PST 416 Community Problem Solving
    • PST 270/470 Experience Credit
    • PST 409 Intermediate Analysis of Public ­Policy

Highest degree earned

Ph.D., American University, 1964


Bill Coplin has received almost all of Syracuse University's teaching awards as well as advising and public service awards since arriving on campus in 1969. He has devoted most of his recent teaching, research and service to changing undergraduate and high school education so that the fundamental skills required for career and citizenship success occupy a central place in the curriculum. More than 40,000 students have taken his course, PST 101: Introduction to the Analysis of Public Policy at Syracuse University and more than 50 high schools in the northeast since 1977. Based on the highly successful policy studies major he introduced in 1977 and managed since then, Coplin has promoted the idea that the key to skill development is experience outside the formal classroom. Policy Studies Website

He is an advocate of working with undergraduates as junior partners in curriculum development, delivering courses and conducting applied research. He wrote "10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College" (Ten Speed Press, 2003), which carries the same message. A revised edition was published in 2012. He has also developed several experiential learning courses taught by him and several members of the faculty, including, PST 410: Practicum in Public Policy.

His latest book, “The Path to Equity: Inclusion in the Kingdom of Liberal Arts” (Roman & Littlefield, 2023), provides a theoretical analysis of what needs to be done to make the college experience useful for all students instead of only those driven by the love of learning. 

His book, “The Happy Professor: How to Teach Undergraduates and Feel Good About It" (Roman & Littlefield, 2019), shows college teachers the way to bring skills and experiential learning to their students. 

His book, "Public Policy: Skills in Action: A Pragmatic Introduction" (Roman & Littlefield, 2017) is the textbook for the popular PST 101 course, which he taught for 45 years. 

Bill received a B.A. in social science from Johns Hopkins University in 1960, and an M.A (1962) and Ph.D. (1964) in international relations from American University. He has been the director and professor of the Policy Studies Program of the Maxwell School and the College of Arts and Sciences of Syracuse University since 1976. He has published more than 115 books and articles in the fields of international relations, public policy, political risk analysis, and education and citizenship. 



Areas of Expertise

Higher education, high school education, citizenship and urban education, public policy analysis, pedagogical partners with undergraduates

Selected Publications

  • Books
    • Coplin, W. D., The Path to Equity: Inclusion in the Kingdom of Liberal Arts. Rowman & Littlefield, 2023.
    • Coplin, W. D., SkillsWin! A Playbook for Career Success. Sogna Entertainment Ltd, 2013.
    • Coplin, W. D., 25 Ways to Make College Pay Off: Advice for Anxious Parents from a Professor Who's Seen It All. AMACON, 2007.
    • Coplin, W. D., Ten Things Employers Wants You to Learn in College. Ten Speed Press, 2003.
    • Coplin, W. D., How You Can Help: An Easy Guide to Doing Good Deeds in Your Everyday Life. Routledge, 2000.
    • Coplin, W. D., O'Leary, M. K. and Gould, C., Power Persuasion: A Sure-Fire System for Getting Ahead in Business. Addison-Wesley , 1985.
    • Coplin, W. D., Political Risks in Thirty-Five Countries: A Euromoney Report. Euromoney Publications, 1983.
    • Coplin, W. D., Turkey: The Problems of Transaction. Euromoney Publications, 1982.
    • Coplin, W. D., O'Leary, M. K., Quantitative Techniques in Foreign Policy Forecasting and Analysis. Praeger, 1975.
    • Coplin, W. D., Kegley, Jr, C. W., A Multi-Method Introduction to International Politics: Readings in Observation, Explanation, and Prescription. Markham Publishing Company, 1971.
    • Simulation in the Study of Politics. Coplin, W. D. (ed.) Markham Publishing Company, 1968.
    • Coplin, W. D., The Functions of International Law. Rand McNally, 1966.
    • Coplin, W. D., The Functions of International Law: An Introduction to the Role of International Law in the Contemporary World. Random House, 1966.
  • Journal Articles
    • Coplin, W. D., "Citizenship Based on Sound Principles Is Not Enough." Maxwell School Publication , 2010.
    • Coplin, W. D., Patrick, A., "Transforming High Schools: Three Forces, Three Ideas." Published Online in Education Week, 2010.
    • Coplin, W. D., "7 Ways Colleges Can Cut Costs in Their Classrooms." The Chronicle of Higher Education Section: Campus Management, 2006.
    • Coplin, W. D., Merget , A. and Bourdeaux, C., "The Professional Researcher as Change Agent in the Government-Performance Movement." Public Administration Review , 2002.
    • Coplin, W. D., "Forecast: The 1984 Risk Index for International Business." Planning Review, 1984.
    • Coplin, W. D., O'Leary, M. K., "Systematic Political Analysis for Planners." Planning Review, 1983.
    • Coplin, W. D., "Forecasting Risk in the International Marketplace." Security Management, 1983.
  • Book Chapters
    • Coplin, W. D., "Seven Steps: Ways to reduce instructional costs and improve undergraduate and graduate education." In Course Corrections; Experts off solutions to the college cost crisis. Lumina Foundation for Education, 2005.
    • Coplin, W. D., "Public Affairs: Student Teams and Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Teams." In Using Student Teams in the Classroom: A Faculty Guide. Stein , R. F., Hurd , S. (eds.) Anker Publishing Company, 2000.
    • Coplin, W. D., Clinchy, E., "Higher Education Against the Public Good: How Future Generations Are Conditioned to Serve Only Themselves." In Reforming American Education From the Bottom to the Top. New York: Teachers College Press, 1999.
    • Coplin, W. D., "Citizenship Courses As Life-Changing Experiences." In Education for Citizenship. Cammarano, G., Cammarano, J. (eds.) Rowman-Littlefield, 1997.
    • Coplin, W. D., "Political Risk Analysis for Global Investing." In Global Investing: A Handbook for Sophisticated Investors. Levine , S. N. (ed.) Harper Business, 1992.
    • Coplin, W. D., "The Frost and Sullivan Method: Applying the 'Prince'." In Assessing Corporate Political Risk. Raddock, D. M. (ed.) Rowman and Littlefield, 1986.
    • Coplin, W. D., "Uses of Political Risk Information." In Global Risk Assessments: Issues, Concepts and Applications, Book 2. Rogers, J. (ed.) Global Risk Assessments, Inc, 1986.
  • Instructional Materials
    • Coplin, W. D., "Public Policy Skills in Action: A Pragmatic Introduction." In A revised version of the Maxwell Manual for Good Citizenship: Policy Skills in Action. Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.
    • Coplin, W. D., The Skills Win Database, provided to school libraries to help college and high school students develop skills need to succeed in careers, college and citizenship. Sogna Press, 2014.
    • Coplin, W. D., Craig, J. and Patrick, A., "Skills for Career, College and Citizenship: Five Steps to Improve High School Education." In ,” Impact on Instructional Improvement, the Journal of the New York States Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. , 2011.
    • Coplin, W. D., "Preparing Professionals: A Theme to Improve Undergraduate Education." Journal of Student Employment, 2009.
    • Coplin, W. D., "Liberating Workforce Competitiveness." LINK; Linking the Career Education Community, 2008.
    • Coplin, W. D., The Maxwell Manual for Good Citizenship: Public Policy Skills in Action. , 2007.
    • Coplin, W. D., Rosch, D., "Student Organizations: Realizing the Potential." Programming, 2007.
  • Magazine/Trade Publications
    • Coplin, W. D., "What has happened to our Citizens-in-Training." USA Today Magazine, 2010.
    • Coplin, W. D., "Internships: Bulldozing Roadblocks to Effective Career Services, Career Convergence." Web Magazine for National Career Developmental Association, 2006.
    • Coplin, W. D., "Engaging First-Year Students through a Skills Perspective." E-Source, 2004.
    • Coplin, W. D., "Business Leaders Can Shape the High School Curriculum to Prepare Tomorrow’s Workforce." Chamber News a Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce Publication, 2004.
    • Coplin, W. D., "Lost in the Life of the Mind." The Chronicle Review: The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2004.
    • Coplin, W. D., "It’s the Skills That Count: Helping Your College Student Acquire the Skills Employers Want." Our Children: The National PTA Magazine , 2004.
    • Coplin, W. D., "Curriculum Revolution or Fluff?." School Leader: New Jersey School Board Association, 2004.
  • Newsletter
    • Coplin, W. D., Political Risk Letter. , 1979.
  • Newspaper Articles
    • Coplin, W. D., "Excessive testing must end." Times Union , 2015.
    • Coplin, W. D., "The Internship Divide." USA Today, 2005.
    • Coplin, W. D., "Let’s not forget real world implications." USA Today, 2005.
    • Coplin, W. D., "A College Degree and a Dollar Will Get You Four Quarters." Syracuse Post Standard, 2005.
    • Coplin, W. D., "Education Reform Should Keep the Workplace in Mind." USA Today, 2004.
    • Coplin, W. D., "Businesses need to dive into education." The Post Standard (Syracuse), 2004.
    • Coplin, W. D., "Teach skills students need in the workforce." The Post-Standard, 2004.
  • Protocol/Standard
    • Coplin, W. D., O'Leary, M. K., Towards Improvement of Service Reporting. United States Government Printing Office , 1975.
  • Technical Reports
    • Coplin, W. D., Dwyer, C., Does Your Government Measure Up: Basic Tools for Local Officials and Citizens. Benchmark Program of the Maxwell School, Syracuse University, 2000.
    • Coplin, W. D., "project to forecast the likelihood of a multi-year tax cut using responses of chief executives to a questionnaire." for Chief Executive Magazine, 1981.
    • Coplin, W. D., Country Forecast. Political Risk Services, a division of IBC (USA), , 1979.
    • Coplin, W. D., Political Risk Yearbook. Political Risk Services, 1979.
    • Coplin, W. D., World Country Report Service. Frost & Sullivan, Inc., Political Risk Services, 1979.
    • Coplin, W. D., External Research Bureau of the Department of State. , 1974.

Presentations and Events

Symposium on Work Colleges (June, 2009)

National Council for Social Studies (1986)

Second Minerals Economic Symposium of the Canadian Institute of Mining, "Political risk presentations" (November, 1982)

Asia Pacific Institutional Investor Conference, "Political risk presentations" (October, 1982)

International Credit Executive Congress, "Political risk presentations" (September, 1982)

Honors and Accolades

Judith Greenberg Seinfeld Award for Teaching Excellence (2017)

Civic Leadership Award, Onondaga Citizens League 25 Years Award Ceremony (2003)

President’s Award, Boys and Girl’s Club of Syracuse (2002)

Outstanding Faculty Advisor of the Year., The College of Arts and Sciences (2000 - 2001)

Chancellor's Award in Public Service: Faculty and Staff Inspiration Award (2000)