Engaged students make engaged citizens capable of critically analyzing political institutions, which will shape our future. The classroom should serve as a nurturing environment, which challenges students to engage their own belief systems and those of others with whom they may disagree with thoughtful, respectful scrutiny. Extracurricular programming reinforces this culture of learning and can be a way of recruiting new students to political science classrooms or maintaining majors’ passion for the discipline. Once developed, these skills of critical thinking, diplomacy, and debate will serve them well as they process information in the larger political world as communicated by the media, governments, and candidates.

The following are descriptions of courses I teach currently or have taught at previous institutions.

Women Leading Change: Case Studies on Women in Organizations

This course engages students in considering the real world dilemmas of women working in organizations and bringing about social change in those and other organizations. The course analyzes different theories and explanations of why so few leaders are women and how women can become leaders and lead as well. Case studies are used to examine the intricacies of organizations, the roles of women in various organizations, as well as the impact of organizations on policy (public, social, scientific, educational), government, and leadership in a global world. The course outcomes are an enhanced critical understanding of the dilemmas that are encountered by women leading change; the ability to evaluate and compose case studies at the intersection of leadership and gender; and the demonstration of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Women’s Legislative Leadership

This 3 credit course is an examination of gender in American legislatures. We will analyze both the processes and personnel of legislatures at the federal and state level of the United States in order to better evaluate the policy outcomes of these institutions. Students will be placed in a service role with one of the above sites for the length of the semester. Having students placed at several sites in the legislative process enables a more thorough analysis of how gender is interwoven into policymaking. Students will have a range of perspectives on the process as a consequence of their own placement and the experiences of their peers. Key questions of the course are: How are legislatures gendered? What is the experience of women legislators/lobbyists/constituents as a consequence? How does the gendered nature of legislatures affect public policy? What role do women’s caucuses play in the status of women in legislatures and in the formation of women-centered public policy? Why has the gender identity of the majority of elected officials – men – remained unexamined as a factor in political contests and policy formation?

Case Studies in Leadership

This 1-credit course will utilize a variety of cases which highlight a real-life example of a challenge in leadership. Fields covered will include business, politics, non-profit work, and social movements. In most class periods, you will be asked to “inhabit” the case and take up the dilemma of its protagonist. I may assign class members roles to prepare and play in the class discussion spontaneously or in advance. None of the cases have right answers, although we may have an epilogue that tells what actually happened (the historical outcome). You are asked to wrestle with the problem as if it were your own and bring your experience and classroom learning from Tulane University and elsewhere to bear on the questions.

American Government

This is an introductory course to American government. A range of topics will be discussed which should inform you of the basic origins, branches, and practical workings of the United States government. We will also place ourselves within this system in an attempt to understand how these systems affect us personally in our own lives. We will analyze both the processes and personnel at the federal and state level of the United States in order to better evaluate the policy outcomes of these institutions. Key questions include: How were American political institutions created and by whom? How do these origins affect our experience of government today? How do the processes and personnel of American government shape political outcomes? The ideas confronted in this course will give you a context to understand elections, political debate, and your own political participation throughout your life. It may also probe you to consider what is important to you politically and hopefully inspire you to participate more actively than you might have otherwise. One positive outcome of the course would be that you pursue in the future some of these topics more specifically in advanced political science courses.

Public Policy

This course covers the policy making process for domestic policy in the United States. We will study the following questions: Why do some problems reach the political agenda and others do not? Who are the important actors in the policy process and what roles do they play? What are the values at stake with policy debates? What explains why certain solutions are offered and others are rejected? How do we know if a policy has been successful? Upon completion of this course, students will have demonstrated substantive knowledge and analytical competence in the understanding of how policy is made in the United States.

Women and American Politics

This is a course in Women and American politics. A range of topics will be discussed which should inform you of the role of women in American politics from the Founding to the present including women’s participation as citizens, voters, activists, and elites. Further, we will explore the suffrage movement and the modern women’s movement; women’s activities within the political parties; and the experiences of women candidates and officeholders. We will also place ourselves within the current American political system in an attempt to understand how these systems affect each of us personally in our own lives.

Congressional Politics

This course will examine the United States Congress as an institution, site for citizen participation and instrument of public policy. The first third of the course will illustrate the foundations and processes of Congress. The second will include readings and discussions that highlight Congress as a site for political participation through elections, lobbying, and media critique. In this section, we will also learn about Congress as it interacts with the other two branches of U.S. government, the Courts and the Executive. Finally, in the third section, we will examine several pieces of legislation and public policy using Congress and its processes as a lens.