2010-11 Catalog

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Offering Description

The Legislature and the Public: Environmental and Social Justice

Fall quarter

Faculty: Lin Nelson sociology

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

Fall: CRN (Credit) Level 10063 (16) Jr - Sr  

Credits: 16(F)

Class Standing: Junior - Senior

Offered During: Day


This program explores the relationship between the Legislature (the Washington State Legislature in particular) and the public. We'll examine how citizens, community groups, non-governmental organizations and social movements engage with the legislative process. We'll read legislative, political and community literature, and we'll meet with a range of individuals (legislators, agency staff, lobbyists and activists) and organizations readying themselves for the upcoming session through research, collaboration and strategic planning.

Our central goal will be to understand how the public learns about and interacts with the legislative process. We'll examine links between the Legislature and the public agencies, as we study selected pieces of proposed and enacted legislation to learn how these grow from and respond to community-based concerns. Our focal points will be environment, public health, labor, poverty and community development, as we explore how features of public life are transformed into legislative initiatives. Case studies will include issues such as environmental monitoring and remediation, environmental justice, right-to-know, welfare rights and health care for low-income populations.

Students will deepen their knowledge and application of public documents, case analysis, field research, interviewing and public presentation. Each student (or student team) will design and complete a case study of a legislative initiative being developed for the 2011 session or an initiative being activated through a public agency. Students may take this program in coordination with the application process for the Legislative Internship 2011 program, or students may take the program based on a general interest in legislation, community involvement and social change. Our work will be shaped in tandem with emerging regional issues and in connection with organizations focusing on environment, health, working conditions, community and poverty.

Maximum Enrollment: 25

Preparatory for studies or careers in: social science, public policy, public interest research, environmental studies and community studies.

Campus Location: Olympia

Online Learning: Enhanced Online Learning

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Program Revisions

Date Revision
October 13th, 2010 Fees updated; field trip cancelled and fee removed.
October 8th, 2010 Fees updated.