Bill Coplin

Professor and Chair, Policy Studies

Bill Coplin

Contact Information

102 Maxwell Hall
(315) 443-2348
Office Hours:
By Appointment Only Through My Email
Curriculum Vitae
Bill Coplin Curriculum Vitae

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


Ph.D., American University, 1964


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

Personal Website



PST 101: Introduction to the Analysis of Public Policy
PST 409: Intermediate Analysis of Public Policy
PST 416: Community Problem-Solving


Bill Coplin has received almost all Syracuse University teaching awards as well advising the public service awards since arriving on campus in 1969.  After a distinguished  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, Bill 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 undergraduate as junior partners in curriculum development, delivering courses and conducting applied research. He published 10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College in 2003 which carries the same message. A revised edition was published in 2012. He has also developed several experiential learning course taught by him and several members of the faculty, including, PAF 410: Practicum in Public Policy: SU Policies.

His book, Public Policy: Skills in Action: A Pragmatic Introduction (Roman & Littlefield, (Roman & Littlefield,2017) is the textbook for his popular PST 101 course. 

His latest book. The Happy Professor: How to Teach Undergraduates and Feel Good About It (Roman & Littlefield, 2019).

Bill received his BA in Social Science 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 115 books and articles in the fields of international relations, public policy, political risk analysis, and education and citizenship.