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Courses at SIW

The courses listed below are offered throughout the year at Stanford in Washington; not all are offered every quarter. Courses are subject to change each quarter according to the academic interests of students.

This class is designed to provide an overview of the history of economic and social development, the evolution of thinking on the subject, and current debates regarding the best policy approaches to foster development objectives. To emphasize the constantly evolving nature of the policy debate on development, the text is supplemented by articles from a wide variety of sources, and some additional readings will likely by assigned from contemporary newspaper, blog and magazine articles. Grades will depend on weekly pre-class reading comments and questions, four short assignments, and class participation.
Who keeps watch of the federal government and its activities as they grow more complex at home and abroad? This seminar will look at oversight, or the lack of it, by the Executive Branch itself, by Congress, the Courts, outside groups, and the media, with some emphasis on the latter. We will establish the Constitutional basis for oversight through various readings, and we will look at some major scandals and issues from the past.
This tutorial has three primary goals: 1) introduce today’s major education policy issues; 2) investigate the ways education policy questions are addressed at the federal level, and by implication, the state and local levels; and 3) develop skills to develop and recommend appropriate policy options and solutions. You will become familiar with major education policy questions and over the course of the quarter, analyze these issues, consider policy options, and provide written and oral support for possible solutions.
This class is designed to offer students a chance to explore how criminal justice policies and laws come into being, are executed, and end up changing. Through a different topic focus each week, students will grasp the actors that affect criminal justice policy (across all branches of government) and will learn the true recourse of the law in the United States (it’s more surprising than you might think). Through an end-of-term paper, students will argue for and against a specific policy of their choosing.
This course analyzes the major civil rights laws that Congress has enacted since the 1960s, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Fair Housing Act, the Public Accommodations Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The course provides an in-depth study of the statutory language of each of these laws, examines how courts have interpreted the statutes, and explores the policy arguments in favor and against such laws. The course also reviews the history context surrounding the enactment of these statutes, including an examination of the civil rights movement as a political and social force.
How is foreign policy made and implemented in the United States? This course features policy analyses, notable guest speakers, and discussion to allow students to investigate the answers to these questions. Sample weekly topics include “Dealing with proliferation of WMD in a dangerous world,” “Climate and energy: new security challenges,” and “U.S. Security in a Trumpian world and beyond.” By the end of the course, students will also understand how the process produces outcomes and decisions on contemporary foreign policy challenges.
How are Brexit, Trump, Merkel and Macron reshaping the key relationship between the US and Europe? At a time of rising international threats from Russia, China, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as the challenges of populism, Euro-Skepticism, and Islamist terrorism, this course explores the Trans-Atlantic alliance that has been the central axis of US and European relations. By the end of the course, students will have engaged in substantive readings and class discussion in order to investigate these topics.
This course will examine the tenures of past United States Presidents, comparing and contrasting styles, policies, histories, contexts, and outcomes. The course will consist of readings, class discussions, and a 20-page paper due at the end of the term. Sample weekly topics include “TR and the Making of the Modern Presidency” and “Woodrow Wilson and the Growth of Federal Power.”
Why is banking special? This course will examine the United States’ financial system, taking in-depth looks at the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank, Wall Street, and more. It will investigate the US financial crisis, the history of banking regulation, and current structures of regulators in the industry. Learning will rely on in-class debate and discussion, as well as written papers.
Divided Government. Executive Orders. Court Challenges. Congressional Oversight. Presidential Tweets. Regulatory Rollback. Campaign Finance. Foreign Agents. Are the rules of policymaking changing? Does anything get done anymore? (Hint, yes, more than the headlines suggest and on a bipartisan basis.) In this class, students will learn advocacy and strategy tools needed to participate effectively in the legislative and regulatory policymaking process. We will filter out the noise, and examine the practical aspects and complex intricacies of policy development at the federal level, using current and rapidly evolving topics as examples, while also drawing on historical precedents.
This course focuses on women’s, maternal and children’s health policy. The course presents the policymaking process in the USA and at global health organizations, such as the United Nations, organizations (NGOs). The policy course uses a public, social, economic and legal framework to examine women’s, maternal and children’s health policy issues in the context of theoretical, research and evidence-based knowledge.
The course is designed to provide insights into the workings of the legislative and executive branches of government and to prepare participants to land jobs and excel in policy and political positions in Washington, DC. We will focus on developing and honing the analytical, writing and oral skills necessary to operate at a high level in high-pressure policymaking and advocacy environments in the nation’s capital. Each of our meetings will include a review of active political and policy debates in the House and Senate as well as critical regulatory rule-makings and reviews of Executive branch agency actions.
The current political moment is generating dramatic shifts in international law and policy. This course will provide a general introduction to the basic concepts and mechanisms of international law and then delve into several high-profile current issues. Students will be assigned three writing exercises that will be advocacy oriented and tied to the subject matter of the week’s class. Reading and active participation are also key components of the course.