How The Institute Is Different

The John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy has a “Praxis” orientation that enhances its ability to translate policy to multiple constituencies and stakeholders. “Linking People to Policy” remains at the core of The Institute’s work, communicating policy messages to diverse audiences and increasing the level of engagement and the number of participants and voices in the policy making process.

The Institute's focus is on developing real-world solutions to practical issues, as opposed to abstract, theoretical issues and policy post-mortems. The Institute differs from traditional higher education "think tanks" in our approach and the work we do:

  • Our work is driven solely by the needs of the decision-makers themselves, not by the internal academic or political agenda of the College.
  • Our work is applied and practical, not abstract and theoretical. Rather than examining what happened, we focus on what can happen.  We are a pragmatic “think and do” tank.
  • We turn lessons learned into more informed policy perspectives for decision makers.
  • We focus on long-term partnerships rather than short-term consulting engagements
  • We bring a holistic approach to policy development integrated across six policy-based centers


Meet the Executive Director


» Barbara George Johnson, MPH, JD