Oregon State University



The increasingly rapid pace of change in technology, financial institutions, land use, urban and rural demographics, natural resource dependencies, media, engineering, global interactions, immigration, and political movements in the last 25-50 years has posed numerous policy challenges across social, ecological, and economic fronts. The challenges are wicked, and thus often unmet. No dimension of human life has been unaffected: family, community, business, religion, education, recreation, international relations—all are on notice to adapt or die. 


The OSU Policy Analysis Laboratory (OPAL) prepares students to think deeply, creatively, and far outside mainstream policy approaches, in order to address complex and interconnected challenges. Our focus is on developing the capacity of OPAL scholars to identify unanticipated opportunities to leverage policy change. Through OPAL experiential classes and projects, students will address real-world policy challenges with diverse faculty and clients. Here they will bring to life abstract concepts and hidden processes, see first-hand how people react to innovation, recognize the influence of media and politics, and collaboratively design innovative policy options equal to the wicked problems of our times.Our goal is to prepare students for a lifetime of rapid change in the public policy world.

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