Campaign Semester Courses
Students participating in Campaign Semester will register for the following three courses:
Politics 295 Seminar on Political Campaigns
The course, which will take place during the last five weeks of the semester and meet four times a week, requires students to explore theoretical and applied concepts pertaining to United States political campaigns. More specifically, students will examine the role of money, media, candidates, interest groups, leadership, gender, race, and political parties in terms of who wins and loses elections. Learning will take place through assigned readings, professor lectures, guest lectures from campaign experts and candidates, and peer dialogues. Student learning will be assessed by their contribution to the classroom experience (discussion, dialogue), discussion of assigned readings, and examinations. Enrollment limited to students participating in the Campaign Semester Program. 4 units.
Politics 296 Campaign Fieldwork Internship
Students will participate in the daily activities of a campaign for President or U.S. Senate in a key "battleground" state for 10 weeks. Students will gain experience in campaign politics and gain an understanding of how a national presidential campaign or a statewide U.S. Senate campaign is operated. Students will learn about political strategy, voter contact and turnout, messaging and polling, communications, volunteer recruitment and team-building, fundraising, and other key aspects of campaigns. The internship will involve working full-time (a minimum of 40 hours a week) from the first day of class until Election Day. Campaigns involve long, hard days. The staff that students will work with will typically be working at least 12-16 hour days. Although students are required to work at least 8 hours a day, they are likely to work more.
As part of the Campaign Fieldwork Internship, students will be required to read two books about political campaigns. Students will be required to keep a daily log of their activities and maintain an internship journal that will be handed in at the end of the I 0-week internship. The journal will describe their activities (including the projects they work on, campaign meetings and events, relationship of the campaign to the media, and of constituency groups), the internal dynamicsand work of the campaign, the different roles and tasks of staff and volunteers in the campaigns, the way the media reports on the campaign, the students' reflections on these matters, and, at the end, a summary of the campaign strategy and outcome. Students will be required to email the supervising Occidental faculty member at least once a week about their activities and reflections. The students will be supervised in the field by a campaign staff member.
Students will participate, through teleconferencing, in a two-hour course meeting with other students and faculty three times during the semester. Students, who will be working in different parts of the country, will stay in touch with each other, as well as with the faculty, through Moodie, a web-based course management system. The system allows faculty members to post readings, facilitate discussions, and give and receive assignments. Students in various parts of the county will thus form a virtual classroom and on-line learning community. Some students may wish to document their experiences on the campaign trail, observe events, and interview staff and volunteers, by making videos. If so, these should be posted to the faculty and other students via the internet. Enrollment limited to students participating in the Campaign Semester Program. 8 units.
Politics 297 Independent Study: Political Campaign Analysis
This course entails production of a 25-page research essay addressing a major question pertaining to campaigns in American politics. Each student will work with Professor Dreier or Professor Freer to craft a high-quality research paper that enters the academic debate on their selected topic, incorporates extensive secondary data and existing research, and presents original analysis based on the student's campaign fieldwork. Enrollment limited to students participating in the Campaign Semester Program. 4 units.
During the summer, the faculty will assign students several books and articles to help them prepare for their Campaign Semester experience in the fall.
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