DPI 892: Strategic Communications for Policy Change: Practical Strategies for Influencing a Better World

This is a communications course focused on the practical skills necessary to influence policy.   This is because policy experts –from government officials to civil servants to lobbyists to think tank scholars to NGO leaders and advocates –must be skilled at more than policy development. They have the power to be accelerants on the fire of change, and this course will teach you how to exercise that power., effective leaders must be skilled communicators and translators of technical information to non-technical public audiences that ultimately decide the fate of policy reforms.  This class will introduce students to the field of Policy and Advocacy Communications, and will cover a wide range of strategies and tactics that have demonstrably moved policy in areas as diverse as anti-poverty reforms, health, education, climate change, and social justice –in the United States and around the world.  The emphasis in this class is on communications-driven policy solutions to specific important problems in people’s lives, individually and collectively.  We will learn strategies for increasing public awareness, but will keep our eyes on the prize: impact as measured by policy change.  Students will learn through doing, which means active participation in interactive discussions and exercises, as well as the preparation of a professional-quality communications plan supporting a policy reform important to you. You will emerge empowered with skills related to communications planning, messaging, storytelling, media relations, persuasive abilities, and creative approaches for promoting social change policies in seemingly mundane forums like meetings and symposia. This class will take place in the context of an ever-evolving communications landscape that now includes “fake news” and increasingly unvetted, but democratic news platforms.

Note: Students may not take both DPI-892 and DPI-893M for credit.

Requirement: Cannot also take DPI-893M for credit.


Andy Burness







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  • [Course titles in brackets] indicate that the course is not scheduled to be taught during the 2019-2020 academic year, but may be offered in an alternate year.
  • An asterisk (*) before a course number indicates that a student must obtain the instructor's permission in order to enroll in the course.

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