Spring 2021 Courses for Undergraduates

Academic Programs
Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Sarah French
301 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Spring 2021 Courses | Online-Only Courses

Want to learn more about the worlds of public policy, civic engagement, and public affairs as an undergrad? Check out our undergraduate course offerings below! Full course information can be found at ClassInfo.

Spring 2021 Courses

PA 1401 – Public Affairs: Organizing for the Public Good (3 cr.)

Schedule: Mondays and Wednesdays, 8:15–9:30 a.m. (Remote)                                             
Instructor: Dennis Donovan, National Organizer, Public Achievement

Hands-on introduction for students wanting to develop skills, confidence, and knowledge to make change as citizen professionals. It acquaints students with hopeful examples of successful citizen organizers and organizations working to tackle tough public problems, from racism to teen pregnancy, failing schools to environmental degradation. Students will gain practical skills such as thinking politically, building public relationships, understanding diverse self-interests, mapping power, and knowing about the culture, history and social networks needed to make change.


PA 3001 – Changing the World: Contemporary Public Policy (3 cr.)

Schedule: Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:00–2:15 p.m. (Remote)
Instructor: Brian Harrison (Ph.D., Northwestern University) has taught at numerous universities and is a specialist in American politics, political communication, public opinion, political behavior and attitude change, and LGBT politics. Prior to graduate school, Brian was a White House appointee to the Department of Homeland Security.

Foundation for understanding the what, who, where, and how of public policy making. These components are explored from different perspectives while delving into questions such as: What is public policy good for? Who decides policy priorities? What effect does public policy actually have in solving public problems? How can we improve public policy making? After successfully completing this course, students will understand the process, structure, and context of policymaking; identify who, how, and what influences the policy process; and apply knowledge of public policy and the policymaking process to a specific policy issue.

PA 3003 – Nonprofit and Public Financial Management (3 cr.)

Schedule: Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:45–11:00 a.m. (Remote)
Instructor: Nishank Varshney is currently a student in the Ph.D. in Public Affairs program.

Concepts/tools for project/budget planning. Program analysis. Interpreting financial reports. Identifying/resolving organizational performance issues. Case studies, real-world exercises.

PA 4101 – Nonprofit Management and Governance (3 cr.)

Schedule: Mondays, 5:30-8:15 p.m. (Remote)
Instructor: Kabo Yang, strategic services consultant, Propel Nonprofits. Previously executive director of the MN Women’s Consortium, Yang has served on nonprofit boards and other community organizations for the past decade.

This course explores the theories, concepts, and some real-world examples of how to manage nonprofit organizations. Students will study governance systems, strategic management practices, the effects of different funding environments, and management of multiple constituencies.

Online-Only Courses

PA 3972 – Elections and the Law (2 cr.)

Instructor: Judd Choate, Director, Division of Elections, Colorado Department of State

A thorough examination of election laws at the federal, state, and local level and how they guide the conduct of elections by officials and voters alike. Theories and basic structure of the American legal system. Experience with basic tools and skills for using the law to understand and analyze issues facing election administrators across the nation. Use of election-related and non-election related materials to prepare election administrators for interacting with counsel, legislators and the courts in carrying out their responsibilities

PA 3973 – Strategic Management of Election Administration (2 cr.)

Instructor: Larry Jacobs, Humphrey School faculty member

Strategic management for election administrators in the political environment. This course covers the distinct phases and hurdles of the policy process and skills, tools, and challenges for election officials to enact new policy. This course also covers the role of the lawmaking process in budgeting and organizational planning.

PA 3975 – Election Design (2 cr.)

Instructor: Whitney Quesenbery, Executive Director, Center for Civic Design

An innovative course on design principles and how they are used in election administration. Through small, weekly assignments, students learn and practice new skills in plain language, design, and usability with real election materials.

PA 3976 – Voter Participation (1 cr.), 2nd half

Instructor: Astrid Ochoa, Executive Director of Future of California Elections

This course investigates the patterns and history of voter participation and practical steps to increase voter turnout.

PA 3984 – Elections Security (2 cr.), 1st half

Instructor: Matt Masterson, Senior Cybersecurity Advisor, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

This course examines tools and best practices that help protect election technology, guard against influence efforts, and assure public confidence in election outcomes. This class uses the Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election as a case study to identify the vulnerabilities of US elections (especially state voter registration databases) as well as catalogue new protections. Readings and discussion will focus on best practices and technology options available to the public (social media) and elections professionals (cybersecurity) in guarding against future influence efforts and assuring public confidence in election outcomes.