Public Policy in the United Kingdom with Dr. Angela Pool-Funai

Jun 25, 2018

3 min

Studying abroad provides the opportunity to take education out of the classroom and into the world. Students are able to learn from different cultures, find new interests, serve, improve language skills, make lifelong friends and become more prepared to help solve future global challenges.

Southern Utah University’s Office of Learning Abroad gives students the chance to expand their horizons with hundreds of trips to destinations around the world. This year, students will be studying in Peru, Germany, Swaziland and Japan, just to name a few. 

Dr. Angela Pool-Funai, the Director of the Master of Public Administration Program and Assistant Professor of Public Administration at Southern Utah University, recently led a study abroad trip focused on Public Policy in the United Kingdom. 

“Stemming from the professional project and capstone work of recent MPA graduate Deena Marchal, the goal of this year’s study abroad trip was to examine the changing role of public policy throughout the UK, with particular attention to higher education and regional government, in light of the Brexit decision,” said Pool-Funai. “She researched optimal places to visit and did background work on the current public policy issues.”

The group started in Belfast, Northern Ireland, then ventured to Edinburgh, Scotland; Cardiff, Wales; and London, England. At each stop, they toured local universities and visited various government entities to learn about administrative functions in all four countries of the United Kingdom. 

“We had a fortuitous opportunity in Northern Ireland, when the newly-elected Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, happened upon our tour and joined us for a group photo. We also sat in on public hearings at the National Assembly of Wales, as well as the House of Commons and House of Lords in London.”

The group was graciously received with guest lectures and tours at Queen’s University Belfast, Edinburgh Napier University, University of Edinburgh, University of South Wales, and Oxford University.

Breaking away from the daily routine, students have the opportunity to grow academically, mentally, emotionally, socially and professionally.

“Students learned about the far-reaching significance of the impending Brexit decision, ranging from tensions concerning the border between the Republic of Ireland (a European Union member country) and Northern Ireland (UK) to the tuition structure of many UK universities, which currently offer greatly discounted fees to students from fellow EU countries,” shared Pool-Funai. “Leaving the EU will have tremendous administrative ramifications throughout the UK public and private sectors.”

The entire trip offered students from each MPA track (higher education administration, state and local government, and criminal justice) the chance to not only delve deeper into their concentration area, but also to see how the various aspects of public administration work in concert with one another.

“One of the most eye-opening aspects of the trip involved the election processes designed to accommodate multiple political parties throughout the UK, in contrast to the United States’ overarching two-party system,” Pool-Funai explained. “Voters typically have two votes to cast: one for a particular candidate and one for a political party. Elected officials are then divvied up proportionally, based on both categories of ballots.”

Dr. Pool-Funai serves on the board of the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service and the American Society for Public Administration - Utah Council. She is also a member of the American Political Science Association and National Society for Experiential Education. She is familiar with the media and available for an interview. Simply visit her profile.

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