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Professional Education Courses

23 Jan

Public Opinion and Public Policy

January 23, 2018

Public opinion research (POR) and public consultation have become increasingly important in government decision-making and in the public sphere. This seminar will explore the meaning of public opinion, how it is measured, and how governments and other clients such as the non-governmental organizations and the media use public opinion research. The course will examine recent developments in research techniques and the opportunities and challenges inherent in the current public opinion research environment.

Participants will emerge from this course with a critical understanding of public opinion and an ability to assess and ask the right questions about public opinion research and public consultation results that they will encounter in their professional settings and in media reports.  As well, they will develop a better knowledge of research techniques and strategies.

Prospective participants for this seminar include those who work in and close to the public policy community including those in the public service, non-governmental organizations, political parties, and the media, and those working in public affairs and government relations in the private sector.


Introduction to public opinion-what is public opinion?
How to measure public opinion
o    Surveys
o    Focus groups
o    Public consultation
o    Developments in POR today – what are the new technologies? Can we measure accurately? Is there a polling crisis? What to look for?
Use of public opinion research by the broader public sector
o    Ways that POR is used by governments
o    NGO and private sector polling
o    Media polling

Instructor Donna Dasko, Ph.D.

This workshop was last offered Spring 2017.

26 Aug

Government Relations and Achieving Policy Change from Outside Government

August 26, 2015

This session accomplishes three primary objectives. First, it imparts practical advice on how to help non-governmental organizations (corporations, non-profits, broader public sector, etc.) achieve their public policy objectives. Second, it strives to help participants develop concrete skills (strategy and communications) necessary to influence government and achieve public policy objectives. Third, it seeks to introduce the theory of collective action and interest group activity.

This workshop was last offered on December 1, 2016.


Josh Hjartarson

26 Aug

Change Management

August 26, 2015

Canada’s public sector faces an increasingly challenging operating environment. Budgets are strained while policy frameworks and service delivery models are being scrutinized and redesigned. This course offers strategies for effectively leading and implementing change programs in the public sector. The course will help public sector professionals understand and lead change initiatives in their organizations. Topics include: barriers to change, people management, communication strategies, and the importance of feedback mechanisms, common pitfalls, and innovative approaches to embedding change.

This workshop was last offered on October 12, 2017.


Sunil Johal

08 Oct

Introduction to Program Evaluation

October 8, 2000

This course introduces participants to the fundamentals of program evaluation, which is essential to the successful implementation of policy. Program evaluation is increasingly important to federal, provincial and municipal governments across Canada as they search for increased efficiency and effectiveness in their actions. Non-profit agencies and other third sector actors are also under constant scrutiny to demonstrate meaningful outcomes. Program evaluation techniques are being used to assess outcomes over a range of government and not-for-profit initiatives – from social programs, to economic development programs, to environmental programs, to labour market programs and more.

This workshop will be offered on April 17th, 2018. Register here.


William Forward

08 Oct

Policy Implementation

October 8, 2000

This course introduces participants to thinking in a critical, integrated way about how to deliver on public policy objectives in a dynamic political and stakeholder environment. Specifically, it examines key considerations in developing an implementation strategy for a policy initiative. Policy failure can be caused by many factors, ranging from poor problem definition, inadequate framing and analysis of policy options and inappropriate choice or mix of implementing instruments, to inadequate understanding of the delivery chain, weak risk assessment and lack of clarity around assigned accountabilities. The ability to successfully execute policy requires an integrated consideration of these types of factors. In this workshop, participants will build their capacity to successfully implement policy.

This workshop will be next offered in Spring 2018 (TBD).



Janet Mason