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Advocacy and Political Management

Theory of Political Management

Introduction to theory, practice and development of political management.Political developments 1945-present, and impact on development of political management as a field and profession. Public policy roles of political managers. Political strategy for the political manager.

Research Methods for Political Managers

Use of quantitative information in politics. Topics include research design, statistical association and causal reasoning, types of variables, hypothesis testing and confidence, and introduction to regression analysis. How to be informed user of quantitative data for political management and policymaking questions.
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Political Communications Model

Basic political communications model, including such topics as communications strategy, political research (targeted audiences, polling and candidate research) and message discipline. Elements of communications relevant to politics: Internet usage (websites, social networking, and mobile technologies), plus press releases, issue briefs, direct mail letters, fact sheets, talking points, Congressional testimony, public addresses and television and radio commercials. Connection between strategic focus and each communications effort.
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Communications Strategy

Formulation of political communications strategies as foundation from which to design and develop political advocacy communications. Strategic elements necessary to create, introduce and maintain an effective political profile in issue advocacy campaigns, candidate elections, and legislative advocacy campaigns. Application of important principles in research, advertising and marketing to the political landscape.
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Professional Responsibilities for Political Managers

Professional responsibilities of political managers. Laws and regulations that determine political activity (conflict of interest, disclosure, lobbying registration, campaign finance, fraud, etc.) and political philosophy, the central ideas, principles, and purposes of democracy. Introduction to political leadership as ethics in action, bringing together theory and practical application, starting with concrete situations and reasoning back to Constitutional and philosophical principles.

Political Leadership

Theory and practice of leadership in the political arena. Develop self-assessment of leadership skills and potential. Communications practices for exercising political leadership.
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Survey research uses in campaigns. Major objectives of surveys, designing and drawing samples, constructing and pretesting questionnaires, modes of interviewing, financial implications, practical problems in selecting and monitoring polling organizations, and interpretation of survey data. (Course description)

Qualitative Research

Uses and usefulness of focus groups and small-sample interviews; procedures involved in these techniques; implications of psychological and sociological theory; relationship of qualitative and quantitative research. (syllabus)

Public Opinion Dynamics

Processes by which citizens make decisions about political issues and consider the range of methods for influencing those decisions. Public opinion polling, voter behavior studies, communications, media studies, and attitudinal change. (Course description)

Managing Online Campaigns

This course will cover all aspects of building and managing a web campaign in either the electoral or advocacy arenas and overseeing outreach in multiple online communities. Class topics will include both the technical (building a backend system, designing a budget, blogging, etc.) and practical (working with web vendors, online fundraising, get-out-the-vote activities, issues management). The course will address a series of situations or scenarios that pose short-term challenges (such as those faced by campaigns) and long-term challenges (such as those faced by advocacy groups and trade associations). Studio (Course description)


Analysis and techniques of effective speech writing and speech presentation for public officials and candidates; emphasis on speech writing for campaigns and public policy forums.
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Political Management and Media
Organization, practices, and norms of the major media; media coverage of public officials, political campaigns, legislative battles, interest groups, and issues of public policy. Formulation of strategies for getting favorable news coverage for the issue or candidate and for ending a media crisis. Studio (Syllaby)

Videography and Political Marketing

In this advanced course students will learn how to conduct political marketing and messaging online, including search engine marketing and optimization, paid online advertising, web video, blogger outreach. Coursework will include (a) technical projects, such as designing online banner ads and creating videos for release on the web; (b) practical projects, such as building a search engine marketing plan and conducting blogger outreach; and (c) analytic projects, including using web metrics to measure return on investment, cost-per-click, reach, and persuasion. Students will learn how to develop cohesive online marketing plans, conduct research and measure success in online marketing and messaging. Studio.
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Targeting, Microtargeting and Analytics

A technical, hands-on course on using technology for microtargeting and analytics. Starting with a detailed review of traditional targeting techniques, this course will move on to consider the theory, mathematics, and behavioral science behind microtargeting. Topics include data collection and analysis, survey development, database construction, practical sources and uses of data in mobilization, messaging, and fundraising, and privacy and security. Studio Fee: $200. Prerequisite: Research Methods. (syllabus)

Raising and spending of money in political campaigns, referenda contests, issue politics, and lobbying efforts. Budgeting, control of expenditures, accounting procedures, and general strategies for fundraising. (syllabus )

Women and Leadership
Recent experience of women in American political life. Challenges, institutional and interpersonal opportunities and barriers for women. Knowledge, strategies, and skills needed for modern political leadership. Impact of politically active women on public policy; gender gap in voting behavior and public opinion;media portrayal of women candidates and public officials. Self-examination of political aspirations, attitudes, behaviors, and skills that will contribute to public leadership role. (syllabus)

Law of the Political Process
Legal and constitutional framework for political process, including ballot access, voter registration, and state laws governing recognition of political parties and political organizations; federal and state laws regulating campaign finance; laws and regulations covering political broadcasting and cablecasting; laws and regulations covering lobbying registration and ethics in public service. (syllabus)

Managing Political Organizations
In this dynamic and interactive class, students will develop a framework for managing and learn how to handle the most common and troubling problems managers face in the political arena. Topics include: managing the candidate, hiring and supervising your team, working with consultants, overseeing the budget and solving sticky situations (syllabys).

Issues Management
Management of public policy issues, rise of referenda and citizen initiatives, proliferation of issue-oriented campaigns directed at the grassroots. How individuals and interest groups participate in the issue advocacy process and the evolving role of political and campaign managers in issue campaigns.

How lobbying and organized advocacy fit into the American political process and development and implementation of advocacy strategies. Lobbying by business, labor, public interest groups, and other nonprofit organizations; lobbying within and among various branches of government. (syllabus)

Lobbying Budget Process
Politics of the budget process, using case studies from recent federal budget cycles. Formal and informal mechanisms of budgeting, the lobbying strategies employed by private and public organizations seeking to influence budgetary decision making, and negotiations within and between executive agencies. (syllabus)

Use of micro-targeting and database layering technology to identify potential advocates plus a study of motivational techniques to mobilize volunteers for political campaigns, lobbying efforts, and community advocacy. Techniques used by grassroots organizers to help corporations, unions, civic and nonprofit organizations, and special interest groups achieve strategic goals. (syllabus)

International Lobbying
Examination of current state of international lobbying and analysis of strategic models. (syllabus)

Strategic Management of Issues
Case studies of advocacy efforts in major current policy questions. Development of strategy, message, integrating research and technology for advocacy campaigns. (syllabus )

Corporate Public Affairs
Exploration of major functional areas in corporate public affairs, with focus on political and policy dynamics.

Crisis Management
Management of crisis situations and "defining moments" in electoral, legislative, and public policy campaigns. Through the use of simulation exercises and recent case studies, the course explores both the theoretical and practical aspects of crisis management. (syllabus)

Campaign Strategy
Orientation to the basic systems that must be managed to produce electoral victory. Importance of the campaign plan and campaign budget as foundation for management of campaigns. Focus on development of campaign plan. (syllabus)

Campaign Organization and Execution
Choices facing the campaign manager in staffing a campaign and executing the campaign plan: candidate assessment, fundraising, geographic and demographic targeting, field organization, canvassing, phonebanks and get-out-the-vote, press operations, financial control, and relations with the party and interest groups.

Campaign Advertising
Strategies and techniques for the use of the various media in political campaigns, with an emphasis on the use of television. Impact and potential uses of various media; development of campaign messages; and production, timing, and placement of television advertising. Students design print ads and brochures and produce a 30-second television spot. Studio fee: $250. (syllabus)

Presidential Campaigns
Current trends and innovation in presidential campaign strategy: use of new technology, campaign organization, fundraising, primaries and caucuses, delegation selection rules, party conventions, national and state party organizations, and the general election.

International Political Consulting
How consultants help with professionalization of elections and modern campaign techniques around the world. Techniques and practices for the international consulting business.

State Government and Politics
Intersection of legislating and campaigning at the state and local levels. Methods and techniques for advocacy in state capitals. (syllabus)

Challenges of seeking public office or managing a political campaign. Based on a specific local office which they would like to run for and then design a detailed campaign plan.Develop the strategic sense of campaigning for office and leadership skills necessary for dealing with the many roadblocks in a campaign.

Running for Office
Electoral politics from the perspective of the candidate, strategic and personal factors involved in the decision to run, consequences of victory or defeat.



Useful Topics in Political Management:

  • Principled Political Leadership

  • Women and Political Leadership

  • Film and Politics

  • Campaigning for Public Office

  • Lobbying State and Local Government

  • Comparative International Campaigns

  • Leadership in Public Office

  • Opposition Research

  • Entrepreneurship in Politics

  • The Elements of Influence (syllabus)

Independent Study
Students who are in good academic standing may register for from one to three credit hours of independent study during a semester. Up to six credit hours of independent study can be counted toward the 36 hours required for the Master’s degree. Students desiring to register for the independent study option will draft, submit and receive approval for a prospectus (3-5 pp) describing the proposed project by the first day of classes in a given semester. Students considering enrolling in PMGT 6290 should consult with Professor Christopher Arterton who manages the Independent Study option. 

Online Political Strategy
Focusing on the strategic elements of online campaigning, students will be asked to initially review how people organized, rallied, communicated, and coerced before or without the Internet. Examples may include how religion was used to change social behavior, how propaganda was distributed during WW2, or how an Ikea instruction manual or traffic signals convey information without words. Building upon this strategic foundation, students will apply modern online technologies and tactics to develop an online communications plan, by way of a Response to a ‘Request for a Proposal’ (RFP), for a fictitious coalition group seeking to dramatically change the current political landscape. (syllabus)

Advanced Problems and Strategy
Capstone seminar that integrates research skills and political techniques required to define political objectives and develop the appropriate strategies to accomplish such objectives. Students must have completed 24 credit hours to enroll in this course. (syllabus)

Master's degree candidates must apply to the program committee for thesis approval and have completed 24 credit hours with a 3.3 GPA.

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