American Government

GOVT 30.02 (Identical to PBPL 52)

Leadership and Political Institutions

GOVT 30.12 (Identical to PBPL 027/ EDUC 035)

Affirmative Action in Higher Education

Is it still necessary to "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are "treated…without regard to their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin," or has affirmative action outlived its original purpose? How has college access changed since affirmative action policies were originally conceived? How well do students' experiences on campus live reflect the goals of equal opportunity? To prepare for the US Supreme Court decision expected in June 2023, this course looks at both the intent and the implementation of the policy throughout its history of legislation, executive policies, and legal action. Students will consider how institutions of higher education encouraged minority and low-income students to matriculate, why they have experienced lawsuits against the policy, and how things may change after the SCOTUS decision. Teaching methods include some traditional classroom techniques (text analysis, writing, discussion) as well as experiential education techniques (such as creating a public policy portfolio project, conversing with professionals who administer admissions programs at colleges and universities, and pitching proposals to a panel of policy experts).

The central work of the course involves creating a portfolio of venues to explore, design, publicize, and promote a comprehensive admissions policy that meets the goals of a school. 

Completing the course readings and participating in discussions will develop some of the background and skills necessary to complete the portfolio. Students will work in small groups to develop a policy campaign using techniques from writing to video to speeches. This course design attempts to raise students' awareness of the multiple communication modes for making a compelling and persuasive policy proposal. To create their portfolios, students must select a policy issue related to affirmative action, demonstrate the techniques they have used to study and develop it, and effectively persuade their audience of the policy/program's value. Student groups will meet with the professor biweekly or more frequently (as needed) to stay on track and to get help with process and resources. 



Identity, Liberalism, and Democracy


Polling and Public Policy