More information

More info about the Advocacy for Policy Change initiative.

Read or download Advocacy for Policy Change: Brandeis students work to reform Massachusetts law (September 2010) [PDF], excerpts from the work of students in the Spring 2010 "Advocacy for Policy Change" course (LGLS 161b).

Announcement: Spring 2011 course featuring hands-on advocacy work


Work on issues before the Mass. legislature in “Advocacy for Policy Change” (LGLS 161b)

October 22, 2010

About “Advocacy for Policy Change” (LGLS 161b)

The course, taught by Prof. Melissa Stimell with teaching assistant Cynthia Tschampl, Ph.D. candidate at the Heller School, combines an investigation of the ethical dilemmas that arise in the process of lawmaking with hands-on advocacy work with entities seeking to reform laws or to propose new ones.

Students choose existing laws they feel could be credibly challenged on ethical or moral grounds, or proposed laws being promoted to redress perceived wrongs. Working in small teams, students research the issues and design and implement advocacy projects designed to address the range of issues surrounding a particular law.

The issues students explore will be different each year; in 2009-10, choices included foreclosure reform, legislation to reduce the stigma of criminal records (CORI), immigrants' rights, and bills targeting the poor on issues of welfare and health care.

Students work with a member of the legislature – a legislature mentor – and/or a member of an advocacy organization – an advocacy mentor – who help them understand the lawmaking process, connect with colleagues, and set realistic goals. Guest presenters include leaders of advocacy and non-profit organizations along with elected officials, including Massachusetts State Representative Jay Kaufman ’68, MA ’73 of Lexington.

The course concludes with "Present and Defend," a major event for the Brandeis community at which the issues are presented and debated by the students. Students also have the opportunity to compete for funding to continue their projects beyond the scope of the course.

There are no prerequisites. This course is open to all undergraduates, but requires a registration code. Interested students should email the Legal Studies Program administrator at nfeldman@brandeis.edu for the registration code before early registration. Priority is given to juniors and seniors and those students majoring or minoring in Politics, Legal Studies and Social Justice and Social Policy. This course can satisfy the internship requirement for Legal Studies and SJSP.

Advocacy for Policy Change (LGLS 161b) meets during Block H, Tuesdays and Fridays, 10:40 AM–12:00 PM.

Links for More Info

Reminders

  • Early registration for Spring 2011 begins November 1st and runs through November 8th!
  • This course is open to all undergraduates, with no prerequisites, but requires a registration code.
  • Interested students should email the Legal Studies Program administrator at nfeldman@brandeis.edu for the registration code before early registration.
  • Priority is given to juniors and seniors and those students majoring or minoring in Politics, Legal Studies and Social Justice and Social Policy.
  • This course can satisfy the internship requirement for Legal Studies and SJSP.
  • Advocacy for Policy Change (LGLS 161b) meets during Block H, Tuesdays and Fridays, 10:40 AM–12:00 PM.

 

Advocacy for Policy Change is supported by generous multi-year commitments from Center board member Norbert Weissberg and his wife, former board member Judith Schneider.