The Gephardt Institute partners with academic departments to offer applied civic engagement courses that integrate academic and experiential learning to equip students for effective civic leadership.

Just Do It! Running for Political Office: L32 227 (Fall Semester)

The course focuses on issues and skills related to running for political office at the national level. Students explore how different roles and strategies contribute to successful campaigns of candidates. Students research issues facing candidates running for political office, prepare for and participate in simulated exercises that may face a candidate and campaign staff, and learn about the importance of understanding and appealing to divergent points of view. Students work in teams of three or four in order to plan and complete the simulation exercises. They are assigned roles such as political candidate, campaign manager, scheduler, communications director.

Just Do It! Skills That Turn Passion Into Policy: L32 227 (Spring Semester)

The course focuses on skills related to the democratic expression of political rights and responsibilities. The course balances background knowledge of the issues with application. Students explore how to use coalition building and advocacy skills to relate personal issues to public issues. Students research a current Missouri bill, create a strategic plan for its passage or failure, and prepare to give testimony on such bill in a mock House of Representatives committee hearing. Students also learn about ethical dilemmas in policy and politics and create a plan for turning their passions into policy.

Philanthropy Lab: L40 SOC 3920 (Spring Semester)

This course is designed to give students a theoretical and practical understanding of philanthropy today. First, the course lay out the sociological and historical roots of philanthropy in the United States, including where philanthropic dollars come from, how they are used, and the inherent tension between capitalism and philanthropy. The role of government in funding nonprofits and new philanthropic tools, such as donor-advised funds, will also be reviewed. The course also looks at philanthropy’s role in addressing social issues, including new approaches that go beyond simply giving money, such as the growing interest in and need for advocacy among institutional givers. Additionally, students apply their skills and grant up to $50,000 in funding to local non-profits.