The Gephardt Institute and the Department of Political Science collaborate to offer one credit courses that teach students to leverage the political process to promote civic engagement.

These courses teach students about political rights and responsibilities. Students engage in dialogue, enact mock testimonials for seasoned community members, and learn how to be an effective player in the policy process. 

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

The course will focus on issues and skills related to running for political office at the national level. Students will explore how different roles and strategies contribute to successful campaigns of candidates. Students will 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 will work in teams of 3 or 4 in order to plan and complete the simulation exercises. They will be assigned roles such as political candidate, campaign manager, scheduler, communications director.

Just Do It! Turning Your Passion into Policy: L32 227 (Spring Semester)

The course will focus on skills related to the democratic expression of political rights and responsibilities. The course will balance background knowledge of the issues with application. Students will explore how to use coalition building and advocacy skills to relate to personal issues to public issues. Students will 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 will also learn about ethical dilemmas in policy and politics and create a plan for turning their passions into policy.

“The class really encourages students to apply what they learn to whatever their interests or passions are. We learned how to understand opposing viewpoints, weigh the ethics of different decisions, and present their opinions succinctly. These skills go beyond the politics of policy making- they can be tools for a life of civic engagement.” 
– Peter Birke, a student in 2011 and teaching assistant for 2012, now working for the Department of Small Business Services for the City of New York.