Bill Coplin received his B.A. in social sciences from Johns Hopkins University in 1960, and his M.A. (1962) and Ph.D. (1964) in international relations from American University. He has been the Director and Professor of the Public Affairs Program of the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and College of Arts and Sciences since 1976.
His first full time position as a professor started at Wayne State University in 1964 until 1969. He has continued to teach at Syracuse University from 1969 until today. He published so much in his years at Wayne State that he was promoted to Associate Professor in 1967 and given tenure in 1968. He continued to publish academic research at a high volume and became a full professor at SU in 1975 at the age of 36.
Realizing that he did not want to play the traditional academic game of publishing and producing Ph.D. students when he was at Wayne State, he revised his priorities to make teaching first, service second and non-academic research third by the time he became a full professor. The material on this site is about Coplin after 1975.
He has published more than 116 books and articles in the fields of international relations, public policy, political risk analysis, social science education, citizenship and “doing good.” He co-founded and served as a senior consultant to the PRS Group LLC from 1979 to 2001, which forecasts political and economic conditions in 100 countries. Since 2000, his efforts have been aimed at reforming high school and college education through his writings, teaching, educational materials and writing for the general public.
Teaching and Advising Awards
In 1993 he received the Chancellor’s Citation for Distinguished Service by Syracuse University. He was appointed one of the first three Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence at Syracuse University in 1995. He has received several other awards for excellence in teaching and advising from faculty, students and alumni.
Policy Studies Major at Syracuse University
He launched the Policy Studies Major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 1978. The tagline of the major is “undergraduates building professional skills through community service and research.” The major requires more than six credit hours of community-based coursework. According to client estimates, his students provide more than $100,000 of research services and more than $60,000 in direct services to the clients of nonprofit agencies each year. Policy Studies majors win a disproportionate number of scholarship awards within and outside the University. Policy Studies majors get high paying jobs in consulting and business and in do good organizations like Teach for America and the Peace Corps as well as the best graduate programs and law schools. More than 50% report they have jobs in April of their senior year and almost all have jobs or educational plans by September. The major is one of the oldest and largest undergraduate policy majors in the United States and is different from similarly named majors at other University for its twin emphasis on skills and community-based experience. More than 96 unsolicited testimonials appear on the Policy Studies website.