Nearly 90,000 state and local governments manage the day-to-day needs of U.S. residents and communities. How do these governments operate, and what skills do new employees need? This course combines 12 classroom sessions and a hands-on project with an incoming administration to prepare students to enter and/or collaborate with state and local governments. Using case studies and simulations, students will better understand how state and local governments work, and how new mayors and governors move from campaigning to governing.
During the last 2 weeks of the semester, students will work on projects for a newly elected governor or mayor. Students will also have the opportunity to apply to embed in the office of the governor or mayor during January Term (Thursday, January 2, 2020 through Friday, January 17, 2020) as a full-time Graduate Fellow.
The January Transition placement is not a required part of this course, and participants may apply for a January placement without taking this module. Students must be open to the needs of their administration and will report to a senior staff member. With access to sensitive information, students must commit to confidentiality and may only share generalizable lessons learned. Students may be placed in a political office whose party affiliation is different from their own. As such, students must commit to non-partisanship during their field experience.
There are no academic or professional prerequisites for this course. Students at all Harvard graduate schools may enroll, though only HKS students are eligible to receive stipends to cover travel and expenses during their field placements. Note: Field placements are not guaranteed for all enrollees. Students accepted into the course will submit a separate application for the January Term experience.