Brenda K. Bushouse
Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy
Thompson 302 and 115 Gordon Hall
My research interests include public policy with particular focus on the role of 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations in policy processesand an empirical focus on early childhood education and care.
My research has a lasting focus on the realm of activity that is neither market nor state. My early work and more recent work (Policy Studies Journal 2011) focused on the provision of toll good in society (goods that are consumed jointly but individuals can be excluded from consuming). These goods and services are delivered in mixed economies of for-profit, nonprofit, and public enterprises. Research questions in this area focus on policy related to governance structures of these enterprises and ulitmately their impacts on service delivery. My research focuses on the most vulnerable in our society: children. The focus began with my dissertation on the mixed economy for child care, continued with my book Universal Preschool: Policy Change, Stability, and the Pew Charitable Trusts (SUNY Press 2009), comparative research on early childhood policy in New Zealand, and continues with a project examining the impact of the 2008 recession on state early childhood education budgets. Throughout my scholarly career I have extended my nonprofit research to include strategies to connect the academy to communities (Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 2010, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 2012). I incorporate community engagement into my courses through service-learning projects with nonprofit organizations (see publications in the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning and the Journal of Public Affairs Education). Currently I chair the Five College Public Policy Initiative Mellon Policy and Social Innovation Bridging Project. This three-year grant builds pathways from the liberal arts to professional education through innovative pedgogies (case method, simulations, team-based learning) and mentoring between undergraduate and professional masters students. The goal of this grant is to expose liberal arts college students with social change aspirations to the professional pathways for achieving their visions. My scholarly work and teaching combine to focus attention on the role of nonstate actors to advance social change through policy and mission-driven activity.