Political Science Education and the Profession

Tools of the Trade: Persuasive Communications for Feminist Practice

Aidan Smith Tulane University
This paper details the development of an undergraduate communications course designed to provide students with tools to actively address gender equity issues on campus and in their community. Over the course of a semester, undergraduate students learn the strategies and tactics behind successful advocacy campaigns, including website design, coalition building, social media constituency development, op-ed writing and persuasive public speaking. By the end of the semester, students have identified a policy they wish to change in their community, the entity with the capability to make the change, and how they must go about appealing to that group within the confines of their bylaws and/or policies. The culminating project is a classroom simulation of a real-world scenario where the students appeal to stakeholders and decision-makers, with each student assigned the role of advocate or skeptic. Following their oral presentation, students receive immediate feedback on both their reasoning and delivery skills.