Policy Fellows Sample Curriculum

A Year in the Policy Fellows program

Please note: The following is a sample, composite curriculum showing some of the topics, speakers, activities, and meeting locations from past years. This is NOT a schedule for the upcoming year.

September: Opening Day and Orientation
Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Minneapolis

  • Fellows’ introductions
  • Program overview, goals, and expectations
  • Understanding current domestic and foreign policy challenges
    • Vin Weber, partner, Mercury Public Affairs; former co-director, Policy Fellows program
  • Alumni panel: Making the most of your Policy Fellows experience

October: Leadership Mindfulness
Bush Foundation, St. Paul

  • Workshop: Leading Intelligently: Emotional social, and conversational intelligence through mindfulness
  • Workshop: Group collaboration and problem solving
  • Fellows begin developing ideas for group project topics

November: Intercultural Competency and Conflict Fluency
Cookie Cart, Minneapolis

  • Workshop: Conflict fluency and intercultural competency
  • Guest speakers on managing the pace of change and preserving yourself in challenging situations
    • Gary Cunningham, MEDA
    • Sondra Samuels, Northside Achievement Zone
  • Fellows caucus to explore and select ideas for group projects

December: Adaptive Leadership in a Complex World
McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota

  • Workshop: Understanding adaptive leadership, polarities, and paradoxes
  • Guest speakers on managing real-time polarities
  • Fellows continue working in small groups on policy projects at each session throughout the year

January: Leadership for the Common Good: Conversations at the State Capitol
Minnesota State Capitol, St. Paul

  • The legislative and executive branches
    • Lt. Governor Tina Smith
    • House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin
  • The role of lobbying at the Capitol
    • Bill Blazar, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
    • Annette Meeks, Freedom Foundation of Minnesota
    • Julie Ring, Association of Minnesota Counties
  • Simulation activity: Transportation funding
    • Coached by former House Speaker Steve Sviggum and former Senator Kathy Saltzman
  • Addressing diversity at the Capitol
    • Pahoua Yang Hoffman, Citizens League

 February: Study Trip to Washington, DC

Day 1: Travel day
Day 2: Stimson Center: Conversations with Mark Hugo Lopez, General John Abizaid and more; Meetings with White House staff at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building
Day 3: Visits and briefings: State Department and Capitol Hill
Day 4: Council on Foreign Relations; Lunch at National Press Club; Meetings with journalists at Bloomberg News

March: Stakeholders and Coalitions
University Research and Outreach Center, Minneapolis

  • Workshop: Coalitions, organizing, and advocacy: Achieving social change
  • Guest speakers: Building coalitions and working with unlikely allies
    • Richard Carlbom, Former campaign manager, Minnesotans United for All Families
    • Amy Koch, former State Senate Majority leader
    • Former U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger

April: Making Change in Complex Systems
Minnesota League of Cities, St. Paul

  • Understanding how to make change in systems
    • MayKao Hang, Wilder Foundation
  • Guest speakers: Making innovation work
    • Kate Knuth, U of M Institute on the Environment
    • David A. Wilson, Accenture

May: Communication, Persuasion, and Influence
Open Book, Minneapolis

  • Public relations and corporate communications in challenging times
    • Paula Prahl, Global Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Värde
    • Richard Davis, Former CEO, U.S. Bancorp
  • Panel discussion: Minnesota’s media landscape
    • Esme Murphy, Reporter and Anchor, WCCO
    • Rene Sanchez, Editor and Senior Vice President, Star Tribune
    • Laura McCallum, Deputy News Director, Minnesota Public Radio News

June: Final Group Project Presentations
McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota

Fellows work together throughout the year to complete small-group projects on topics of their choosing. In June, groups present on their process and outcomes to their "fellow Fellows" and guests.

Recent Policy Fellows projects have included:

  • Encouraging employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities
  • Strategies for increasing diversity in local government
  • Police body cameras: A public conversation about data privacy
  • Addressing radicalization of Somali youth in Minnesota
  • Community outreach for the Mother Baby Program at HCMC
  • Increasing the presence of people of color deeply involved in policymaking at the State Capitol
  • Protecting Minnesota farmers: Tractor safety and rollover protection
Center for the Study of Politics and Governance

Humphrey School of Public Affairs
130 Humphrey School
301 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455