You came to Georgetown because you were interested in a career in public policy. And as you’re nearing graduation, you still aren’t quite sure what holding a job in the Executive Branch, on Capitol Hill, or in the non-profit space is actually like, how to get one, and whether you’d even enjoy it. This course will provide a deep dive into better understanding the political ecosystem that drives our nation. The course will give specific and detailed exploration for those wanting to work in government, the non-profit space, or in any of the many other jobs related to influencing public policy. We’ll talk to people who perform key unseen roles and who sit in the jobs similar to the ones you might want to hold. You’ll assess whether your own values and skills line up with these career paths. At the end of course – if you’re still interested in the career path, and even if you’re not — you’ll get a far better picture of how our political system really operates and the jobs that drive it. And through taking the course, you will gain a better understanding of yourself, your skills, your values and what type of job might provide you the most fulfillment.
For students who have an interest in pursuing public policy careers, this course would help them understand the architecture of potential jobs and what those jobs entail. A hard look at what the job is really like – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Georgetown – because of its reputation and tradition, its geography, and its student body – attracts many students who want to engage in a career of public service and public policy. While some may take courses to get educated in political theory, comparative political systems, methodologies and data, their education would be greatly enhanced by a practical seminar that unpacks what various jobs in the political ecosystem actually do. Even if students have no interest in pursuing a job in the public policy space, this course helps one navigate the policy arena to better understand why our system works the way it does and to question whether the architecture needs reform.
Each class would be accompanied by readings and/or guest panelists. Those panelists will include: hiring officers on Capitol Hill and the Executive Branch, staffers who have worked in a lot of different capacities, cross-ideological conversations around the think tank, non-profit, and lobbying space.
- LEARNING GOALS
The primary goal of the course is to engage students on a journey of personal reflection about what types of work best aligns with their own values and sense of fulfillment.
As a result of taking this course, students will:
- Gain a better understanding of how the political system operates on public policy, especially through the roles and responsibilities that make the system function.
- Engage in critical conversations with field-based practitioners around issues of public policy and related career paths, roles, and responsibilities.
- Evaluate their own strengths against the strengths of the jobs, borrowing from Anne-Marie Segal’s “personal value proposition” worksheets and other methods.
- Develop a vision of what kind of career fulfillment they are seeking and how to have agency in pursuit of it.
III. LEARNING OUTCOMES
At the completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Define public policy, understand its scope and why it matters to our lives.
- Articulate an array of roles and responsibilities in public policy careers and the various skills needed to perform them successfully.
- Students who are interested in various public policy jobs are going to be better positioned to advocate for them.
- Engage in informed conversations with people working in the public policy system.
- But most importantly, students will be able to align their own values with the skills needed to perform the various jobs and ask themselves hard questions about whether this is what they want to do
Faiz Shakir served as campaign manager for Bernie Sanders. He managed a campaign that had 1100 people at its peak, raised close to $200 million dollars, generated significant movement on progressive policy discourse in this country, and finished 2nd in the Democratic primary.
Prior to working for Bernie Sanders, Shakir was the National Political Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) from January 2017 – March 2019. As National Political Director, he oversaw the ACLU’s National Political Advocacy Department, which houses the organization’s Washington Legislative Office and State Advocacy and Policy departments. In his role, Shakir developed and implemented strategies to advance the organization’s priorities at the federal and state levels.
Before joining the ACLU, Shakir worked as one of the most senior advisers to former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. He directed policy and communications work for Senator Reid while also coordinating with Democratic members and staffs, key interest groups, and press to organize issue campaigns. Prior to that, Shakir served as Senior Adviser and Director of Digital Media for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Shakir, a graduate of Harvard University and Georgetown University Law Center, also spent seven years at the Center for American Progress, helping the organization establish its identity as the leading progressive think tank in the nation. At CAP, Faiz served as a Vice President for Communications and was a founding member and editor-in-chief of ThinkProgress.org, one of the top political news websites in the United States. He also advised CAP’s senior leadership on policy matters ranging from economic and domestic policy to national security and civil rights. He led a major campaign to take on Islamophobia which featured the production of a report titled “Fear, Inc.”