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Civic Engagement: The Iowa Caucuses
Unformatted Document Text:  The students were responsible for arranging their own internships, as I knew that it would be easy to find such opportunities. I did provide contact information for all of the campaigns that our Iowa Caucus Project had received, and the information was available at that website as well. In addition, I invited representatives from all of the campaigns, both political parties and a couple of groups with active caucus efforts to the second class of the semester. I made it clear that there were likely to only be a handful of students who did not already have internships. There were only 20 students in the class, which was the limit we had set. Twelve of the 20 had been involved in previous campaigns, and all were interested enough in politics, elections and the caucuses to sign up for a six credit experience, so many already knew for whom they wanted to work. 9 But I told the campaigns that if they brought any material to give the students, we would pass such material out in other classes. And they also knew that even if they only picked up one or two interns from the class, this would be an intern committed to 15 to 20 hours per week for the duration of the campaign. So the turnout for that class was quite good, especially on the Democratic side that, for a variety of factors beyond the scope of this paper, was a more intense and extensive campaign than was the Republican contest. All six of the major Democratic candidates sent representatives (Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Biden, Richardson and Dodd). On the Republican side, only one candidate (Giuliani) was represented, though the Republican Party of Iowa also sent someone. And one group, Iowans for Sensible Priorities, also was represented. The 20 students in the class ended up working in a variety of internships. Initially, 18 of the 20 were working for campaigns. Eleven of these were on the Democratic side (4 for Obama, 4 for Richardson, 2 for Biden and 1 for Edwards), while seven were on the Republican side (2 for Romney, 2 for Paul, 1 for Brownbeck, 1 for Thompson and 1 for Giuliani). When Senator Brownbeck dropped out of the race, that student moved over to an internship with the Republican Party of Iowa. As already noted, one student did his internship with Drake’s Iowa Caucus Project, and the other student worked for an on-line media organization, IowaPolitics.com, helping with their campaign coverage. The goals of mixing these full-time internships with a traditional class on the nomination process were, first, to enhance the class experience by bringing the practical side of campaigns into the discussion more easily; second, to enhance the internship experience by using the class to provide a broader perspective on the campaign; and third, to provide an opportunity for enhanced civic engagement for the students helping to prepare them for a lifetime of “engaged global citizenship.” I want to turn now to how well the experience met these goals. Results The students clearly felt the internship experience enhanced the class. In the class evaluation survey, 71% (12 of the 17 who responded) of the students said that the internship aided in their understanding of the material covered in class. Students, in the 9 In fact, quite a few of the students – I do not have an exact number – had started working for the candidate of their choice over the summer (or even in the spring!), long before this class began.

Authors: Sanders, Arthur.
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The students were responsible for arranging their own internships, as I knew that
it would be easy to find such opportunities. I did provide contact information for all of
the campaigns that our Iowa Caucus Project had received, and the information was
available at that website as well. In addition, I invited representatives from all of the
campaigns, both political parties and a couple of groups with active caucus efforts to the
second class of the semester. I made it clear that there were likely to only be a handful of
students who did not already have internships. There were only 20 students in the class,
which was the limit we had set. Twelve of the 20 had been involved in previous
campaigns, and all were interested enough in politics, elections and the caucuses to sign
up for a six credit experience, so many already knew for whom they wanted to work.
But I told the campaigns that if they brought any material to give the students, we would
pass such material out in other classes. And they also knew that even if they only picked
up one or two interns from the class, this would be an intern committed to 15 to 20 hours
per week for the duration of the campaign. So the turnout for that class was quite good,
especially on the Democratic side that, for a variety of factors beyond the scope of this
paper, was a more intense and extensive campaign than was the Republican contest. All
six of the major Democratic candidates sent representatives (Clinton, Obama, Edwards,
Biden, Richardson and Dodd). On the Republican side, only one candidate (Giuliani)
was represented, though the Republican Party of Iowa also sent someone. And one
group, Iowans for Sensible Priorities, also was represented.
The 20 students in the class ended up working in a variety of internships.
Initially, 18 of the 20 were working for campaigns. Eleven of these were on the
Democratic side (4 for Obama, 4 for Richardson, 2 for Biden and 1 for Edwards), while
seven were on the Republican side (2 for Romney, 2 for Paul, 1 for Brownbeck, 1 for
Thompson and 1 for Giuliani). When Senator Brownbeck dropped out of the race, that
student moved over to an internship with the Republican Party of Iowa. As already
noted, one student did his internship with Drake’s Iowa Caucus Project, and the other
student worked for an on-line media organization, IowaPolitics.com, helping with their
campaign coverage. The goals of mixing these full-time internships with a traditional
class on the nomination process were, first, to enhance the class experience by bringing
the practical side of campaigns into the discussion more easily; second, to enhance the
internship experience by using the class to provide a broader perspective on the
campaign; and third, to provide an opportunity for enhanced civic engagement for the
students helping to prepare them for a lifetime of “engaged global citizenship.” I want to
turn now to how well the experience met these goals.
Results
The students clearly felt the internship experience enhanced the class. In the class
evaluation survey, 71% (12 of the 17 who responded) of the students said that the
internship aided in their understanding of the material covered in class. Students, in the
9
In fact, quite a few of the students – I do not have an exact number – had started
working for the candidate of their choice over the summer (or even in the spring!), long
before this class began.


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