Government Course Descriptions

Course Names

Government 129 What Do Universities Do?: Public Policy & Leadership in Higher Education
Government 114 Philanthropy, Voluntarism, and Not-for-Profits: Law, Public Policy & Leadership
Government 178 International Law


Government 129 What Do Universities Do?: Public Policy & Leadership in Higher Education



What do universities do? Higher education is a provocative topic today. As access has steadily increased, so have expectations for what universities and colleges can and must accomplish. Though rife with seemingly irreconcilable concerns and responsibilities, higher education is also inextricably linked to economic and social opportunities. The stakes are high. In this course, participants will explore the myriad leadership and policy concerns facing higher education. With the aid of diverse readings, guest speakers, and the experience of President Emerita Pamela Gann, students will synthesize their understanding in a research project regarding a particular policy concern at a specific institution.


  • To understand shifting historical and contemporary concerns in higher education.
  • To identify and evaluate the discrepant purposes, functions, values, and responsibilities colleges and universities endeavor to fulfill.
  • To explore the intentional and unintentional social implications of higher education.
  • To understand the central issues in the economics of higher education.
  • To explore issues pertaining to students’ academic experiences and engagement.
  • To evaluate the opportunities and challenges of globalization in higher education.
  • To gain insight into the leader’s challenges in dealing with the myriad and often conflicting purposes of higher education.

This course is writing intensive, requiring several written reflections on the readings, an audit of how you spend your time, and analysis of how students’ engagement in their residential educational experience. You will also work in a team to identify and investigate an important topic at a particular institution of higher education, to learn to: turn interest in a topic into a research question, conduct a review of the literature, design research tools, analyzing data, and organize a paper that addresses the research question and makes sense of the results to develop recommendations for improvement in educational policy or practice. Your will also present your project orally in class. Through these requirements, you should enhance your research, analytical writing, and presentational skills.

This course is also designed to develop your leadership skills through: working in teams, participating in seminar discussions about approaches to leadership in the context of the topics studied, and interacting with guest speakers.


  1. Purposes of American colleges and universities
  2. Shifting access to and outcomes of higher education
  3. The social implications of higher education
  4. Finances & productivity
  5. Reactions
  6. Students’ academic experiences & engagement
  7. Globalization
  8. The future of higher education

Government 114 Philanthropy, Voluntarism, and Not-for-Profits: Law, Public Policy & Leadership


You will likely work or volunteer for, lead, or govern a not-for-profit organization. Including churches, universities, museums, and even the Salvation Army and the Gates Foundation, the size, strength, and breadth of the not-for-profit sector is uniquely American. Why and how do diverse individuals come together to fulfill both their individual needs and those of their communities through such organizations? Who gives and volunteers and why? This course will broadly address key topics of the not-for-profit sector, including: leadership, governance, accountability, and the appropriate public policy and legal framework for determining ideal allocations of social problem-solving among government, for-profit, and not-for-profit sectors, and the laws defining the boundaries between permissible and impermissible action by not-for-profits.


  • To understand the history, definition, and key characteristics of the not-for-profit sector
  • To understand the economic, political, and social justifications that support the existence of the not-for-profit sector, and thus, why we allocate some portion of social problem-solving outside of government to the not-for-profit sector
  • To identify and evaluate alternative allocations of responsibility for solving particular social problems – voluntary, not-for-profit, for-profit, joint public/private, publicly encouraged/subsidized, and publicly coerced—along with examples, reasons, and theories of particular forms of organization
  • To understand the legal framework that regulates the creation and forms of not-for-profit organizations; their governance and forms of accountability; and the tax policies that facilitate and encourage the development of the not-for-profit sector, including their tax-exemption, and the income tax deductibility of charitable gifts
  • To gain insights into: who gives and volunteers in the United States; what motivates donors and volunteers to give time and money; what is the comparative praiseworthiness of their motives; and what is their effectiveness in solving social problems
  • To examine: the organizational frameworks for foundations, including private, community, and corporate foundations; their influence on the development of public policy; and the issues associated with their governance, accountability and the appropriateness of their influence on public policy in a democratic society
  • To examine the legal boundaries between permissible and impermissible actions by not-for-profit organizations
  • To gain insights into the role of not-for-profit organizations (and their legal limitations) in politics and campaign financing, lobbying, and the development of public policy
  • To examine the role of not-for-profit organizations on the development of international law and international organizations
  • To learn how to apply a framework for determining the accountability and effectiveness of not-for-profit organizations in achieving social impact commensurate with the tax benefits they and their donors are receiving
  • To learn how to apply a public policy framework to examine public judgments about the desirability of allocating social problem-solving among government, private for-profit organization, and private not-for-profit organizations
  • To gain insight into leadership and governance challenges in the not-for-profit sector


  1. Introduction and Overview of the Not-for-Profit Sector
  2. Governance and Responsibility of Boards of Trustees
  3. Who Gives and Why
  4. Taxation and the Not-For-Profit Sector
  5. Attaining Wider Impact: Lobbying, Political Campaigns, Advocacy, and Education by the Not-For-Profit Sector
  6. Attaining Wider Impact: Nongovernmental Organizations and Global Activities; Developing Social Movements
  7. Fuzzy Boundaries, Hybridization, Competition And Collaboration Across The Government, For-Profit And Not-For-Profits Sectors
  8. Donor Strategies and Social Impact Measurement

Government 178 International Law


International law is the law of nations, but it can also be the law applied to individuals, relationships, and transactions that cross national boundaries. It addresses norms concerning the use of force and the conduct of war, while also covering such discrete areas as international trade and investment, human rights, environmental protection, ocean resources and maritime issues, and international crimes. This course provides a broad introduction to international law, including the sources of international law; the relevant actors, including states, international organizations, individuals, and non-governmental organizations; dispute resolution and enforcement of international law; and its specific application to discrete topics.

The citizens of the United States and other nations are impacted by transactions and activities outside of and across their national borders. They are increasingly affected by the norms and activities of international and regional organizations (e.g., the UN, WTO, NAFTA, and EU), and by the obligations of international agreements. Many international activities take place frequently in structured ways (such as cross-border trade in goods), but they may also take place in a more complex context such as economic sanctions against Iran. Collective force may be used in Libya causing regime change, while collective force may not occur with respect to Darfur, Rwanda, and Syria. These international organizations, international agreements, international norms, and international action and inaction may impact U.S. foreign policy and the range of realistic and legal options available to address U.S. strategic interests.

International law is a legal system that affects all of these activities. This course is designed to introduce the student to a framework for understanding international law, including what it means for anyone today – legislator, policy-maker, human rights advocate, environmentalist – who has an interest in politics and international relations. It will provide a foundation for more specialized courses.

Public international law is its own legal system, with unique ways of making rules and enforcing them. It is largely decentralized, for there is no single legislature, executive, or judiciary responsible for making the law, executing it, interpreting it, and enforcing it. Public international law has been viewed sometimes as something apart from domestic law and something that cannot be relied upon because there are no accountability or enforcement mechanisms. Therefore, this course is also designed to inform the student of its distinctiveness from domestic law and whether it is enforced in domestic legal systems or international tribunals, and to help the student evaluate the efficacy of international law.