William D. Coplin


Bill Coplin received his B.A. in Social Sciences from Johns Hopkins University in 1960, and his M.A. (1962) and Ph.D. (1964) in International Relations from American University. He has been the Director and Professor of the Public Affairs Program of the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and College of Arts and Sciences since 1976. He has published more than 110 books and articles in the fields of international relations, public policy, political risk analysis, social science education, citizenship and “doing good.” He co-founded and served as a senior consultant to the PRS Group LLC from 1979 to 2001, which forecasts political and economic conditions in 100 countries. Since 2000, his efforts have primarily focused on reforming high school and college.

Reforming College and High School Education

Throughout his career, he has written extensively on the need to reform both high school and college education to better meet the needs of the majority of students who see education as a path to better employment opportunities. He has consulted with more than 40 high schools throughout New York State on curriculum. With his publication of Ten Things Employers Want You to Learn in College in August 2003, he has received numerous interviews and written extensively on how to bring about those reforms. He has written articles on education in USA Today, the Albany Times Union and for Knight-Ridder syndication, newsletters of several different professional organizations including the National Parents Teachers Association, the National Collegiate Athletic Association News, the National Association of School Boards and educational websites of Newsweek Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. In 2004, he was appointed the Advisor for Professional Skills to College Parents of America. In 2005, he was appointed a consultant to the Office of Workforce Development of the New York State Office of Children & Family Services to help agency staff members bring professional skills to youth in their facilities. A seven member panel of national experts selected his paper, “Seven ways to reduce instructional costs and improve undergraduate and graduate education” for publication by the Lumina Foundation for Higher Education and an article based on it appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education. His latest book, 25 Ways to Make College Pay Off : Advice for Anxious Parents from a Professor Who's Seen It All, was published in July 2007. He has worked off and on with the Syracuse City School District and is currently a member of the Advisory Committee for the Institute of Technology @ Syracuse Central, a new high school to combine career preparation and academic learning for students in the Syracuse City School District.

Teaching and Advising Awards

In 1993 he received the Chancellor's Citation for Distinguished Service by Syracuse University. He was appointed one of the first three Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence at Syracuse University in 1995. He has received several other awards for excellence in teaching and advising from faculty, students and alumni, including the 2000-2001 College of Arts and Sciences Award for Outstanding Faculty Advisor.

High School Curriculum and Training Activities in Citizenship Education

He designed and implemented curriculum to develop career and citizenship skills among college and high school students. His Public Affairs 101: Introduction to the Analysis of Public Policy served as the base for his contribution to guidelines for the Regents 12th grade course "participation in government" required of all graduating high school students in New York State. The course has been taken by more than 6,000 students at Syracuse University over the past 30 years. More than 10,000 high school seniors at 65 high schools have taken the course over the past 20 years through Syracuse University’s Project Advance Program. He, with two colleagues, received an award from the Public Employees Roundtable for the best one-year curriculum for increasing the public awareness of the range and quality of services provided by public servants. He serves as the curriculum consultant to the High School for Leadership and Public Service in New York City, which was founded by the NYC Board of Education in 1993 in partnership with the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.

Policy Studies Program at Syracuse University

He is an advocate and practitioner of building public service into the college curriculum through internships and projects. The Policy Studies major, which he has designed and managed since 1978, requires at least six credit hours of coursework implementing community projects. According to client estimates, his students provide more than $100,000 of research services and more than $60,000 in direct services to the clients of nonprofit agencies each year. Policy Studies majors win a disproportionate number of scholarship awards within and outside the University.

Public Service Activities to Agencies Serving Youth

As a direct by-product of the use of public service in the curriculum, he created the University Reach Program in 1988. The program has received more than $275,000 in grants from the Mott Foundation, Nationwide Insurance, UPS and the Kellogg Foundation to support undergraduates working with inner-city youth in a variety of projects. Since 1999, he has offered a course where undergraduates offer a range of programs to youth at a housing project located near the University and other locations throughout the City of Syracuse. He became a Board Member of the Syracuse Boys and Girls Clubs to better connect the work of SU undergraduates to the largest provider of youth programs in Syracuse. He received the 2001 President’s Award, the highest award offered by the Boys and Girls Club, for his efforts in the Continuous Improvement System for evaluating programs. He received the Civic Leadership Award at the Onondaga Citizens League 25 Years Award Ceremony.