As part of its ongoing civic engagement programming, the Murphy Institute is pleased to present a new Civic Engagement & Leadership Development series for union members, organizers, activists, and aspiring politicians to deepen their thinking about ways to engage the democratic process and learn new skills related to effective participation in electoral, legislative, and other civic activity. This free series is a great opportunity to engage with CUNY faculty and other experts in civic engagement, politics, history mass movements, and public policymaking; broaden your network; and earn a certificate of completion.
Saturdays, Feb 20th – May 14th, 2016
24 W. 43rd St., 18th Floor, NYC
Register here by Feb. 17th, 2016
Civic Engagement & Leadership Development – Spring Semester 2016
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2016
Session 1: How We Govern Ourselves: A Historical Perspective
This session discusses America’s political system and how the Constitution distributes governing power while also guaranteeing citizens the right to seek a redress of grievances by engaging the democratic process.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2016
Session 2: Civic Engagement and the Democratic Process
This session explores ways in which game-changing social and political movements have expanded American democracy and influenced public policy.
SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 2016
Session 3: Engaging Demographic Diversity
This session examines the “creative tension” between demographic diversity and the capacity of the political system to include “all the people.” Students will discuss the notion that “demographics are destiny in politics” in light of contemporary mechanisms and practices that restrict voting rights and manipulate redistricting.
SATURDAY, MARCH 12, 2016
Session 4: Advocating Issues During Elections
Students will survey the skills, techniques, strategies, and tactics needed to effectively engage the 2016 election cycle. Students also will be asked to propose approaches that unions and civic movements could employ to: get candidates to embrace their issues; to get candidates to base their campaigns on these issues; or to mobilize around their issues independent of a candidate.
SATURDAY, MARCH 19, 2016
Session 5: Post-Election Challenges
What if your candidate wins? What if your candidate’s party gains control of the legislature or the executive branch? What if the opposite occurs: The candidate you opposed wins and/or that candidate’s party gains or retains control of the legislative branch or the executive branch? This session focuses on the post-election challenges leaders and activists face in guiding their members or constituencies through the transition from campaigning to governing, including analyzing election results, adjusting to new political dynamics, influencing the policy priorities and staff appointments of elected officials your union, organization or coalition supported.
SATURDAY, APRIL 2, 2016
Session 6: Engaging the Policymaking Process
Civic organizations and mass movements invariably focus on public policy and compelling government to respond to their concerns. This session provides a basic understanding of the rules, procedures, mechanics, pressure points, and institutional participants in the policymaking process. Special attention will be given to lobbying tactics and techniques civic movements, community-based organizations, and unions use to influence policymakers, build policy consensus, and mobilize legislative alliances. Students will use what they have learned to construct their own model for influencing policymaking.
SATURDAY, APRIL 9, 2016
Session 7: Budgets and Progressive Priorities
Public policies and programs cost money. New demands met require new appropriations. The budget process is the central institutional vehicle government uses to decide “who gets what.” This session examines how organized labor, progressive movements, and issue-based coalitions navigate their priorities through the municipal, state, and federal budget processes. Students will learn basic budget concepts as well as how to monitor the budget process.
SATURDAY, APRIL 16. 2016
Session 8: Mastering the “Mystery” and “Magic” of Leadership
It is often said that great leaders possess charisma, unique intelligence, special insight, great speaking ability, and almost magical organizing ability. In reality, leaders become effective as a result of learning how to lead. They constantly work to improve their organizing and analytical skills. This session will utilize case studies to help students explore leadership best practices, to better understand how to respond to a range of organizing challenges, and how innovative leaders and activists adapt basic organizing principles as well as utilize information technology.
SATURDAY, MAY 7, 2016
Session 9: Persuading and Involving Others
One of the most difficult challenges associated with launching and leading a civic movement is persuading people to join its ranks or support its aims. This requires projecting focused demands and an ability to make clear arguments in the languages, idioms, customs, and cultures of people from diverse backgrounds who also have a range of ideological views and political affiliations, come from different faiths, and are not only diverse in their racial and ethnic makeup but also in their levels of experience. This session gives students an opportunity to examine creative ways of attracting and involving neighbors, co-workers, and members of unions, faith-based organizations and community groups, as well as techniques for identifying and incorporating the strengths that arise from diversity.
SATURDAY, MAY 14, 2016
Session 10: Knowledge Empowers Leaders and Activists
The notion that “knowledge is power” applies to movements and leaders. Effective leaders are also knowledgeable leaders. Our communities, unions, organizations, and government bodies need thoughtful, well-informed leaders and activists. This session focuses on utilizing research and factual information in making strategic projections and in learning from the experience of others.
For questions or more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-642-2081.