2010-11 Catalog

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Offering Description

Individual Study: Legislative Internship

Winter and Spring quarters

Faculty: Lin Nelson sociology

Fields of Study: community studies, environmental studies, government, law and public policy, political science and sociology

Winter: CRN (Credit) Level 20369 (16) Jr - Sr; 20370 (16) Jr - Sr  Signature Required Students must have applied to and been accepted into the Legislative Internship Program.  

Spring: Enrollment Closed  CRN (Credit) Level 30396 (1-16) Jr - Sr; 30397 (1-16) Jr - Sr; 30398 (16) Jr - Sr; 30399 (16) Jr - Sr  

Credits: 16(W); 16(S)

Variable Credit Options: 8- or 16-credit options available in Spring.

Class Standing: Junior - Senior

Offered During: Day

Prerequisites: One year of college-level social science, public policy or interdisciplinary study.


This program will explore the broad conditions that shape legislation. We will examine models, evidence and debates about the sources, causal connections and impacts of evolving systems of law, regulation, governance and a broad array of community response. Each student will be learning through work as an intern with a legislator and her or his staff. This will involve intensive staff-apprenticeship activities, especially legislative research and draft development, bill-tracking and constituent correspondence.

Students apply to become interns for the 2011 Washington State Legislative session in the fall of 2010. Information sessions on the Internship Program will be held spring quarter and in early October. The Academic Advising Office will inform students about the process, with applications due mid-to-late October. Applications are available online through www.leg.wa.gov/internships. Students who submit a complete application will be interviewed and informed of acceptance by late November. Each student accepted into the Internship Program will develop an internship learning contract, profiling legislative responsibilities and linkages to academic development.

Each student intern will translate her or his activities in the Legislature into analytic and reflective writing about the challenges, learning and implications of the work; students will be making presentations about their learning and participate in various workshops. Each intern will keep a journal, submitted to the faculty sponsor on a regular basis, and a portfolio of all materials related to the legislative work.

Students will learn through a range of approaches - internship responsibilities in a regular work-week, guest presentations, seminars, visits and collaborations with regional officials and activists. Drawing broadly from the social sciences, we will discuss relevant concepts and issues. We will explore relationships between elected officials, legislative staff, registered lobbyists, non-governmental organizations, citizen activists and district constituents. Interns will participate in mock hearings, a floor debate on current legislative issues and a session on budget development.

The 2010-11 session will involve student-interns for both winter and spring quarters. Each quarter will comprise a different 16-credit contract. In the spring quarter, students can develop an 8-credit Legislative Internship Contract, augmented by another 8-credit project or program. Or, they may sustain a full 16-credit internship for spring quarter, involving specific post-session research and writing. Student performance for the two-quarter internship is evaluated by the faculty sponsor, field supervisors and legislative office staff. Student participation involves discussion in workshops, public speaking, analysis and writing, and the array of legislative responsibilities.

Maximum Enrollment: 25

May be offered again in: 2011-12

Preparatory for studies or careers in: community studies, government, law, political science,  public interest advocacy, public policy, social issues, and sociology.

Campus Location: Olympia

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