Political Scientist Speaks at UH on 'The Right Questions'

Notre Dame’s Sue Collins Says Public Policy Requires Good Data, but also Political Judgment

Sue Collins, a political scientist at the University of Notre Dame, will discuss how people who don’t hold elective office – both academics and engaged citizens outside of academic life – can influence public policy during a talk hosted by the University of Houston’s Hobby Center for Public Policy.

“We often discuss public policy in terms of outcomes, usually measured,” said Jim Granato, director of the Hobby Center. “But what Professor Collins does is inform the audience that value judgments are an equal partner. It is fitting that this balance be brought into the open for any public policy debate.”

Shaping policy starts with asking the right questions, Collins said.

“I contend that just and effective public policy requires asking the right questions, obtaining the hard facts, and making the tough choices,” she said. “I argue that policy-makers thus need the aid of a rigorous social science, which will provide them with the best possible data, but also that the tough choices of political life require more than just a grasp of the ‘facts.’ ”

“The Right Questions. Hard Facts. Tough Choices: Public Policy, Social Science, and Political Judgment,” is the inaugural presentation in the Hobby Center’s Richard Gelwick Speaker Series. It begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, in the Hilton University of Houston (Entrance 1 off Calhoun Road). Parking is available in the hotel garage.

Collins, formerly the Ross M. Lence Distinguished Teaching chair at UH and founding director of the Phronesis program in the UH Honors College, is the author of “Aristotle and the Rediscovery of Citizenship” and other books. Her most recent is a translation of Aristotle’s “Nicomachean Ethics,” co-written with Robert Bartlett.

WHAT:                            “The Right Questions. Hard Facts. Tough Choices: Public Policy, Social Science and

                                         Political Judgment,” talk by Notre Dame Political Scientist Sue Collins.            

WHEN:                             5 p.m. Tuesday, April 21

WHERE:                           UH Hilton

MEDIA CONTACT:           Jeannie Kever, 713-743-0778, m-713-504-3769. jekever@uh.edu