Washington Center

Spring Semester 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court

Credits: 
4
Instructor: 
Day and Time: 
Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Quarter Dates: 
January 10 - March 14, 2019
Semester Dates: 
January 10 - April 18, 2019
Campus: 
UCDC
Category: 
Core Seminar
Description: 

Gay marriage. The death penalty. Abortion. Health care. Cell phone privacy. The U.S. Supreme Court has heard cases on all of these topics in recent years, and its decisions ultimately touch the lives of all Americans. In this class we will study the Supreme Court's place in the U.S. legal system. Topics we will cover include: how a case gets to the court, the justices, the role of lawyers before the court, the purpose of oral argument, the court building and its symbolism, and media coverage of the court. At least once during the semester students will attend an oral argument, and cases currently before the court will be used as a reference point for class discussion. This class is geared not only toward anyone who is interested in the law or government service but also toward anyone interested in working on or being informed about the biggest issues of the day.

 

Draft Syllabus

 

Course ID: 
UCDC191I01W-S19

Lobbying, Money and Influence in Washington DC

Credits: 
4
Instructor: 
Term or Semester: 
Day and Time: 
Thursday, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Semester Dates: 
January 10 - April 18, 2019
Campus: 
UCDC
Category: 
Semester Elective
Description: 

This course will be an intense examination of lobbying in Washington with particular attention given to the role of money and campaign finance in the operation of what has become a highly sophisticated and poorly under-stood network of advocacy and influence. It will provide a basic understanding of three different but interrelated knowledge sets: the Congress, political money and lobbying by interest groups. Student should understand that while the lectures are focused on those individual subject areas and that the semester is divided into three separate sections for that purpose, the readings later in the term will often relate to earlier lectures. This is done with the intent of “connecting the dots” among all these somewhat diverse topical areas. 

 

Draft Syllabus

Course ID: 
UCDCSEM3S18

International Development

Credits: 
4
Instructor: 
Day and Time: 
Thursdays, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Quarter Dates: 
January 10 - March 14, 2019
Semester Dates: 
January 10 - April 18, 2019
Campus: 
UCDC
Category: 
Core Seminar
Description: 

This is an introductory course to the international development field. The focus is on some of the key questions, challenges and achievements in this field. Materials from the course (readings, documentaries, discussions of current events) will enhance your understanding of the dominant approaches to poverty alleviation, the role of inter/national development actors, organizations and institutions, the promises of post-2015 Development Goals including the empowerment of women and youth. You will be exposed to the theoretical foundations of the field and will be required to make sense of these by following current events and drawing on your internship experiences in the nation’s Capital as well as your interactions with various experts, policy makers and development practitioners. The ultimate goal of the course is to enhance your understanding of the various causes and consequences of development problems and encourage you to develop individual perspective on effective strategies for change.

 

Draft Syllabus

Course ID: 
UCDC191E02W-S19

Washington Media

Credits: 
4
Instructor: 
Day and Time: 
Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Quarter Dates: 
January 9 - March 13, 2019
Semester Dates: 
January 9 - April 17, 2019
Campus: 
UCDC
Category: 
Core Seminar
Description: 

What is the difference between “fake news’ ’and journalism? Does objectivity exist? Why does President Trump call the news media the “enemy of the people.? This seminar explores the rapidly evolving relationship between the news media, governing and politics. Washington is the perfect backdrop for such a course, with the opportunity to visit iconic institutions, such as the National Press Club and the Newseum, and the chance to witness the work of journalists and public officials at the top of their profession. The class features lectures, discussions, field visits and guest speakers. Students will complete a major research project on a newsworthy topic which will be written in journalistic form in addition to shorter writing and speaking assignments. The course is aimed particularly at students interning at news organizations, political press offices, speechwriting groups, public relations firms or anyone with a passion for writing or politics.

 

Draft Syllabus

Course ID: 
UCDC191F01W-S19

General Research

Credits: 
4
Instructor: 
Day and Time: 
Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Quarter Dates: 
January 9 - March 13, 2019
Semester Dates: 
January 9 - April 17, 2019
Campus: 
UCDC
Category: 
Core Seminar
Description: 
Gathering knowledge and learning the truth about the world around us is a fundamental part of human development and progress. While most of us take knowledge and truth for granted, the processes by which we understand our political, social, cultural, physical, biological environment has become particularly salient in the last year – and notably in the last several months – as we’ve been confronted with an ever-increasing post-fact and post-truth world.
 
Stephen Colbert coined the term “truthiness” to describe the tendency of people to “go with their gut” rather than facts and evidence in evaluating the world around them. We are all affected by biases that obstruct critical thinking; these biases influence how we hear and understand new information, whether we question assumptions, and how we disentangle opinion from fact.
 
Challenging these biases is essential to making rational, evidence-based argument and decisions. A primary concern underlying public discourse and policy making about issues such as climate change, organic food, fertilizers, Zika virus, school testing, Brexit, poverty, hunger, gun control, and so many other contemporary issues including the presidential election, is the availability – and the validity and reliability – of evidence to support arguments on one side or another.
 
This seminar is designed to develop skills required to be a critical observer of and contributor to our world through the use of evidence-based arguments. We will spend the next 11 weeks using critical thinking and argumentation skills to examine a research question related to the work of students’ internship organizations.
 
Course ID: 
UCDC191A01W-S19

The American Presidency and Executive Power

Instructor: 
Day and Time: 
Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Quarter Dates: 
January 8 - March 12, 2019
Semester Dates: 
January 8 - April 16, 2019
Campus: 
UCDC
Category: 
Core Seminar
Description: 

This course will put the current presidency in historical and theoretical context, drawing on a variety of readings and approaches. At its core, this class is about the problem of executive power in democratic government. We will study and reflect not only on the details of what the presidency is in theory and practice, we will also consider how it (and other parts of the system) might be changed to overcome the problems of governance that have plagued the U.S. The goal is to understand the work of the presidency and some of the different perspectives by which we might analyze presidents and their administrations.

 

Draft Syllabus

Course ID: 
UCDC191C01W-S19

Youth, Social Media and Development

Credits: 
4
Instructor: 
Term or Semester: 
Day and Time: 
Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Semester Dates: 
January 8 - April 16, 2019
Campus: 
UCDC
Category: 
Semester Elective
Description: 

Digital technologies and online social networks play an increasingly important role in the political, social and economic development of all societies. In the Global North and South, it is largely the young generation of men and women (24 years old and under) who experiment with and embrace these technologies in creative, innovative and unanticipated ways. This course focuses on the creative energies of youth and the enabling powers of digital/ networked technologies to solve some of the enduring development challenges. We will explore how a) youth’s access to information technologies helps reduce poverty, inequality and deprivation; b) youth benefit from and use digital technologies to develop marketable skills, create and sustain income-generating activities and end cycles of unemployment; and how technologies can/do empower young citizens to end corruption, denounce human rights violations and contribute to ending gender-based violence. These will be among the key questions that students will be encouraged to think about, examine and reflect on critically while discussing both the contributions and limitations of digital technologies in the field of youth and international development.

 

Draft Syllabus

Course ID: 
UCDCSEM6S18

Political Advocacy and Public Opinion in a Digital Age

Credits: 
4
Instructor: 
Term or Semester: 
Day and Time: 
Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Semester Dates: 
January 8 - April 16, 2019
Campus: 
UCDC
Category: 
Semester Elective
Description: 

This course is for the bold and the brave, for the student who wants to examine effective communication methods that influence public opinion and public policy in today’s political environment and experientially test those methods. Students will leave this class smarter on how Congress works in a digital age and on theories of political representation, advocacy, legislative behavior, and the American voter. Additionally, students will learn strategies and tips from guest speakers and experts on Capitol Hill as well as those attempting to influence Capitol Hill; the applied component of the course will inevitably build public speaking and leadership skills aimed at influencing public policy. 

 

Draft Syllabus

Course ID: 
UCDCSEM7S18

American Political Journalism

Credits: 
4
Instructor: 
Term or Semester: 
Day and Time: 
Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Semester Dates: 
January 8 - April 16, 2019
Campus: 
UCDC
Category: 
Semester Elective
Description: 

This class will explore the relationships among politics, news media and government. It will do so by focusing on particular news events in which the role of the media became an integral part of the story. Some of the sessions may change based on guest speakers’ schedules; topics of discussion and readings may also change based on breaking news events.

 

Draft Syllabus

Course ID: 
UCDCSEM4S18

International Policy

Credits: 
4
Instructor: 
Day and Time: 
Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Quarter Dates: 
January 8 - March 12, 2019
Semester Dates: 
January 8 - April 16, 2019
Campus: 
UCDC
Category: 
Core Seminar
Description: 

This seminar is designed to help you to engage critically and think systematically about crucial questions of international and global affairs. Through discussion of current events, student-directed research projects, and course readings, we will engage with a wide range of issues and problems that are international or global in scale. In so doing we will seek to identify and understand the nature and behavior of major actors in the international political arena of the 21st century. This is a research seminar with an applied approach that focuses on understanding and resolving pressing problems of foreign policy and international affairs.

 

Draft Syllabus 

Course ID: 
UCDC191E01W-S19

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