Courses

 

This seminar will introduce and hone the campaign management skills required to run for elected office and/or manage a political campaign. At the outset, each participant will identify a specific local or state-level elected office, make an assessment of the associated district, and draft a detailed campaign plan. Next, participants will practice the implementation of each element of their campaign plan, including best practices for resolving common challenges and crises. Most importantly, students will learn to think in terms of the tactics and strategy of campaigns and approach campaign operations with the political and managerial leadership skills of successful political professionals.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, students will understand the basics of campaigning for public office, either as a candidate or campaign manager. The component learning objectives include:

  • understand the structure, elements, and context of political campaigns
  • understand how to effectively assess and analyze the demographic and voter data of a given district
  • write a detailed, viable campaign plan based on a real-world race
  • understand how to implement a draft campaign plan, including financial, personnel, communications, and timeline considerations
  • understand how to respond to common challenges and crises
  • apply the lessons and skills learned in the course in practical exercises

This core course introduces writing styles and develops skills required for political professionals. The course includes components on press releases, speeches, talking points, policy memos, policy briefs, position papers, opinion editorials and grant applications. This is a writing intensive course.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • write an official biography
  • write an elevator speech
  • write a 5-10 minute stump speech

This core course explores the use of quantitative information and research in politics and public policy. Topics include general principles of quantitative methodology, causal reasoning, probability, statistical association, and hypothesis testing. Students will be exposed to appropriate statistical and database software and the types of data suitable for political analysis and on practical usage of these methods, including polling, voter targeting, and demographic segmentation.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate understanding of and literacy in basic statistical techniques
  • apply basic concepts of probability in order to assess the likelihood of an event
  • understand the logic of random sampling
  • formulate researchable questions related to your field of interest that lend themselves to quantitative solution techniques
  • determine what research method would provide a solution
  • select and apply the statistical test or tests that are most appropriate
  • develop a research design and identify and correct problems with the design
  • conduct research or fieldwork to gather quantitative data
  • carry out research in an ethical, socially responsible manner
  • accurately observe, record, analyze, and report data
  • evaluate the statistical and substantive significance of research results
  • evaluate the relevance of the research results to the original problem
  • organize, interpret, and present data using graphical and tabular representations

This course will teach students the elements of political research and how it informs campaign strategy and communication. The first element is the often-misunderstood realm of opposition research, which defines the nature of the competition a campaign will face. The second element is self-research, in which students will learn to inventory their own strengths and weaknesses to assess how the opposition will characterize their campaign and how the public may react. Finally, students will learn how to synthesize political research to form the factual foundation of a campaign’s strategy and the contrasts at the heart of effective campaign messaging.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will:

  • understand research sources, methods, and techniques
  • understand how to effectively assess research to inform campaign strategy
  • understand how to synthesize research materials to define campaign messaging and add substance to campaign communications
  • understand offensive and defensive research tactics and how to apply them effectively in a various practical campaign scenarios
  • be prepared to answer likely “gotcha” questions

This course looks at the ways that the military and veterans’ community have interacted with the country’s civilian leadership, especially with Congress. The course begins with an overview of different theories of civilian control of the military, explores how each model has evolved since the end of the cold war, and evaluates how well they inform the current civil-military relationship. The course then looks at the ways that the military, veterans organizations, the defense industry, and the VA all interact with Congress. The course also explores the political attitudes, aspirations, and relative successes of individual veterans, as voters, candidates, issue advocates, and elected officials.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • possess a solid understanding of the civil-military relations and what types of interactions between the military and political arenas are and are not proper
  • understand the different ways that veterans organizations, the military, and the defense industry interact with Congress
  • learn about the role military veterans have played in the political world throughout American history
  • understand how candidates’ military records have helped and hurt them on the campaign trail
  • fully comprehend distinct legal issues military candidates face
  • know how to build a veteran and military family coalition
  • understand how to effectively communicate (and bulletproof) a veteran candidate’s service record

This class develops skills for planning and executing successful strategic communications campaigns. Students will learn the fundamentals of developing and executing communicative strategies aimed at influencing—even shaping—the public sphere. Utilizing skill-based seminars, the course will delve into durable, constructive engagement strategies related to conflict negotiation and facilitation, crisis management (aversion and response), and media relations. Develops skills in various forms of communications.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • comprehend how campaign messaging and political communications work in the context of an election
  • create effective political communications using effective vocabulary, persuasion techniques, and proper timing
  • design and implement a campaign’s communications strategy integrating earned media, paid, and social media platforms to effectively connect with, influence, and mobilize constituents
  • rapidly modify political communications to respond to unforeseen events while still supporting the overall campaign messaging strategy

This class develops skills necessary to identify supporters and constituents within a given area or district, effectively mobilize them as allies, and inspire them to marshal their fellow citizens in support of an important cause. The course will combine tried-and-true organizing techniques with cutting edge digital and data-driven technologies.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • effectively identify potential allies and supporters using big data voter-targeting software
  • evaluate the potential of a grassroots movement taking hold in a given district or area
  • design an effective get-out-the-vote effort or volunteer door-knocking campaign in a given area with maximum efficiency
  • mobilize supporters to challenge or support the status quo within a given community
  • determine the most effective messaging, messenger, and delivery method for a grassroots campaign, and objectively evaluate the results

This seminar surveys the behavioral and institutional dynamics of American politics and public policy with an emphasis on the historical development of the American state, American political culture, and the role of civic engagement and political participation in politics and government.

Learning Objectives

Students will gain a working understanding of some of the most important policy issues, particularly those with which military professionals lack extensive experience, such as:

  • law enforcement/criminal justice
  • public education
  • transportation
  • medicare/Medicaid
  • gun control
  • agriculture
  • unions
  • environmental regulations
  • housing & human services
  • illegal drug policy
  • zoning and development