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.

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 will 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 will also look 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 will apply their skills and grant up to $50,000 in funding to local non-profits.