Public Affairs Courses
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.
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.
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.
This course provides an introduction to the range of ideas about the common good and democracy in the United States. Understanding the varied traditions within American political life illuminates why particular questions and issues consistently prove to be sites of conflict. The course also explores how these different traditions have been institutionalized in government practices, public attitudes and political participation.
Explores choices made by campaigns in staffing and managing a campaign and devising and executing a strategic campaign plan. Course topics include fundraising, field organizing, voter targeting, volunteer recruitment, polling and focus group methodologies, media messaging, and get-out-the-vote strategies.
Nonprofits and Public Policy explores the role of nonprofit organizations in the formation and implementation of public policy in the United States. Topics include an introductory review of public policy process, lobbying and advocacy, building organizational capacity to participate in public policy, government regulation of nonprofit organizations, developing advocacy campaigns, public policy analysis, ballot initiatives, ethics in public interest lobbying, grantmaking for public policy and challenges to nonprofit advocacy.
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.
This course is designed to give students a practical understanding of how the media and political worlds interact on a day-to-day basis. Through projects based on real-world scenarios and discussion, students will develop a sense of what is required of a media strategist as well as research-driven concepts in political psychology that determine the success or failure of media strategies.
San Francisco’s political history is characterized and shaped by economic boom and decline. This course will examine the politics of economic development in San Francisco, with a particular focus on housing and the social consequences of economic growth in order to explore the broader dynamics of political conflict in the city, including the history of political organizing around neighborhood and district issues, and the difficult choices faced by those in public agencies or elected office.
Explores the principles of, and skills required in, effective governmental relations and advocacy. Particular focus on lobbying, coalition building, messaging, American federalism and the practice of intergovernmental governmental between branches and layers of governmental institutions.
This course combines theories of political mobilizing with applications from grassroots organizing. Examines mobilization in the context of electoral and extra-institutional campaigns, and combines conceptual and theoretical notions of effective mobilization with practical skills in power mapping, organization-building, and leadership development.
This course is designed to help students learn the skills of collaboration, project planning and issue advocacy campaign execution. In this project-based course students work as a team to create an online presence for a selected policy issue and design a coordinated message strategy to create public awareness and advance the public policy agenda.
An introduction to policymaking in American cities, focusing on the central public policy challenges facing urban areas in the United States from a global perspective. Explores relationships between private economy and public policies in American cities; causes of urban decline and uneven development; and urban redevelopment and human capital policies. Includes development politics, land use, housing, transportation, and the political and institutional settings for policy making. Introduces concepts, theories, and techniques of policy, planning, and administration.
This class will focus on the fundamental determinants of American elections and the margins upon which political professionals focus to influence election outcomes. Topics include public opinion, campaign messaging, and media effects. The course is taught by a number of high profile professionals with substantial media, political, and scholarly experience at the highest levels of politics.
This participatory seminar course provides a theoretical grounding for public affairs professionals. The course is designed to integrate internship experiences with study, thought, discussion and reflection on personal, public, and professional ethics, leadership, and deliberative democracy. The seminar will include presentations by guest speakers drawn from the political and academic communities.
Masters degree candidates will propose, design, and implement a substantial and professional-caliber project designed to integrate concepts, skills, and methods learned in their coursework into a written paper. Topics should be designed in conjunction with the internship experience and provide evidence to that the degree candidate has mastered the skills and knowledge learned in the coursework and can apply them to the analysis of a practical political situation.
The written permission of the instructor and dean is required. Offered every semester.