Civic Engagement in Action: Citizen and Policy Advocacy

GVPT Professor and CDCE Director Stella Rouse


Course Description

This course engages students in experiential learning of the Maryland legislature. The course will involve an exploration of the lawmaking process (i.e. policy analysis), combined with policy advocacy. Policy advocacy refers to the activities involved in advancing one’s preferred policy responses to social problems.

Citizen engagement in the political and policy process is crucial to the health of a democracy. In recent years there has been a decline in both civic education (particularly in high schools) and in the priority placed by citizens on civic engagement. In an era where there are concerns about the strength of our democracy and the durability of government institutions, it is particularly important that students learn about and engage with the policymaking process, especially at the state level where the most consequential laws are enacted.

At the end of the course, students are expected to understand how to:

  • Analyze and be able to explain the policymaking process in general and in the state of Maryland, specifically.
  • Demonstrate substantive expertise in at least one policy topic.
  • Communicate your knowledge and expertise in various oral and written formats—across multiple settings and to diverse audiences.
  • Explain circumstances that enhance or detract the probability of bills advancing through the legislative process.
  • Understand the main players involved in policy advocacy process (e.g. citizens, lawmakers, advocacy organizations) and what makes some more successful and effective than others.
  • Explain how better to motivate citizens to engaged in the policy making process and how these motivations can be durable.

Topics Include:

  • Policy research
  • The legislative process
  • Intergovernmental relations
  • Federalism
  • Policy advocacy
  • Policymaking
  • Messaging
  • Legislative leadership
Architecture Details