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Events, alumni networking, courses, and internships for Penn students on campus and in D.C.

Course Details

All students will take three courses for four credits. The orientation course will meet intensively for the first week of the semester followed by periodic meetings for the remainder of the term. The remaining two courses will meet once a week for the rest of the semester. There is a full week break at approximately the 12th week of the program, after completion of the ten week internship period. This falls on Thanksgiving in the fall and in late March/early April in the spring. Note that semester start and end dates and breaks do not correspond with the Penn calendar.

 

Fall 2017 Courses

PSCI 330-301: PIW Semester Core Seminar: Conducting Public Policy Research in Washington (two credits)

This is the first course of the Penn in Washington semester program and serves as an introduction to Washington, with a particular focus on policymaking institutions and the intricate web of organizations and individuals that contribute to the policymaking process. A combination of lectures, tours, and meetings with senior policymakers will prepare students for their internships and also provide sufficient background to create a comprehensive map of the policymaking world. In the second part of this two credit course, students will choose one policy arena to explore deeply. A proposal, final paper, and group presentation will be prepared which draw on the content from the first part of the course to develop a sophisticated understanding of policymaking in a particular policy arena.

Faculty: Dr. Deirdre Martinez, Executive Director, Penn in Washington

 

PSCI 398-302: The U.S. Presidency: Limits on Chief Executive Power

What are the limits on presidential power? How much can a President accomplish when faced with an uncooperative Congress, and how has this changed over time? What are the limits on the exercise of presidential power in the foreign policy space, and what exactly can Congress do to curtail the powers of the Commander in Chief? Guest speakers will include representatives from the State Department's Legal Advisor's Office, the NSS, DOD, and the CIA.

Faculty: Miguel Rodriguez, Partner, Bryan Cave and former White House Director of Legislative Affairs

 

PSCI 398-303: Today’s Diplomacy: How Does it Really Work?

This seminar will look at diplomacy as the central instrument of foreign policy. It will examine the role of diplomacy and the responsibilities of the State Department and other actors, explore the resources and techniques available to them, and review the way diplomats have used these tools in recent history. We will take a practical approach, talking about international relations and how foreign policy is actually formed today. The course will be broken up into three units: the players in diplomacy, the tools used in foreign policy, and recent case studies. The intent of this class is to enable you to able to begin working in politics or international affairs with the necessary foundational information on how foreign policy is created and implemented.

Faculty: Abigail Denburg, Analyst, International Government Affairs, Boeing

 

 

Spring 2018 Courses

PSCI 330-301: PIW Semester Core Seminar: Conducting Public Policy Research in Washington (two credits)

This is the core course of the Penn in Washington semester program and serves as an introduction to Washington, with a particular focus on policymaking institutions and the intricate web of organizations and individuals that contribute to the policymaking process. At the end of this course, students should be able to: identify the various actors involved in the policymaking process and understand how they interact across institutions to influence policymaking, evaluate competing solutions to a policy problem and identify obstacles to policy adoption, conduct research which capitalizes on the full range of resources available in Washington, deliver a compelling oral argument, and conduct effective informational interviews.

Faculty: Dr. Deirdre Martinez, Executive Director Penn in Washington

 

PSCI 398-301: U.S. Foreign Policy in the Contemporary Era: Defining and Understanding America’s Role in the Modern World

The 2017 President election has prompted much of the country to re-examine America’s role in the world.  Journalists, pundits, academics, and policy makers themselves are questioning what should be America’s role and upon what values and ideology that policy is or should be based.  In many respects, there are profound changes occurring within America’s foreign policy apparatus as significant staffing, organizational and policy changes are being proposed and implemented. This course will examine those changes in almost real-time.  We will analyze current events against a historical backdrop, looking in particular for where policies, politics, and norms have changed, appeared to changed, or simply continued. Rather than rely on a set syllabus of pre-determined course materials and topics, instead, we will determine the topic for each class the week prior, based on current developments in the news.  We will be guided by three major aspects of contemporary U.S. foreign policy: national security; international development; and identity/nationalism.  The course is designed to be flexible about covering timely topics and therefore, there is no set division among these three topics.

Faculty: Joshua Blumenfeld, Managing Director, Malaria No More and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Senate Affairs

 

PSCI 398-302: The Communicator’s Dilemma

This course examines the rapidly changing media landscape in the era of President Donald Trump. It will explore his use of social media as a bully pulpit, the role of the media in trying to provide fact checking in real time and how the media balances the competing claims of speed and depth. It will also look at efforts to de-legitimize the media and how that has affected coverage.  And it will explore how the media handles the new volume of news in a time of diminished resources. The course will lean hard on guest speakers to give it topicality, urgency and a sense of personal connection, with a heavy emphasis on the changed political environment of a new administration and Congress. We will assess different coverage models from old and new media for effectiveness and impact. We also will hear from political professionals about how they try to break through the clutter of an unrelenting news cycle. Students will be asked to read The New York Times, and at times other publications as they relate to assignments. This course will try to offer some experiential learning by the interaction with the guests, and possible trips to large news bureaus in Washington.

Faculty: Michael Tackett, Deputy Political Editor, New York Times