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Contact information

The Archer Center
"Where Texas meets the world."
The University of Texas System
1901 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW,
Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20006

202.955.9091 Phone
202.955.9039 Fax


Course Descriptions

Policy Making Process
Dr. Julie Donnelly - Download the course syllabus
Mondays, 5:45-8:45pm

This course will focus on the role of Congress and the President in the policy-making process.  Through a variety of sources (academic texts, newspaper and journal articles, websites, blogs, advocacy papers) we will look at (and hopefully reconcile) the textbook and “real world” versions of how policy is made in Washington , D.C.  

This course is divided into three phases where we will use a variety of techniques (in-class presentations and discussions, legislative simulation, guest speakers) to gain a better understanding of the policy-making process.  In Phase One we will study how legislative structures and the political environment affect the policy-making progress. In Phase Two we will look at three case studies: the Iraq War , Health Care Reform and the Auto Industry Bailout to help broaden our understanding of the complexity of the policy-making process.  In Phase Three we will conduct a student analysis and legislative simulation of H.R. 2454: American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.

Beyond Congress and the White House - Download the course syllabus
Dr. Joel Swerdlow
Wednesdays 5:45-8:45pm

This course will help you better understand power in our nation’s capital, especially what lies beyond Congress and the White House. We will study Washington, D.C. in a way that is only possible right here, using the National Mall and nearby locations such as Arlington Cemetery and the National Archives as a textbook. Each week, we will visit different places as we examine complex issues such as the use of DDT to combat malaria, the relationship between democracy and war, and the future of the Internet. This class will be conducted like a graduate seminar, emphasizing discussion and other forms of participation.  To the degree possible, our work will relate to your internships and to headline-making events such as the 2006 Congressional elections. Core readings are by James Madison and Walt Whitman.

Advocacy in Applied Settings - Download the course syllabus
Dr. John Daly
3 weekends throughout the semester

This course is an introduction to the issues individuals face when placed in the role of being advocates for an issue, idea, or even for themselves. The goal of the course is for class participants to grasp concepts they will see and experience during their internship in Washington D.C. We intentionally schedule half of this class for the beginning of the semester. You will not only learn about advocacy, but hopefully many of your questions and concerns about the internship process will be answered during the course. Readings are Machiavelli’s The Prince, and Hardball by Chris Matthews.

Archer Center Washington Internship - Download the course syllabus
Dr. Joel Swerdlow
Daily, minimum of 32 hours per week

Students secure full time internships in Washington, D.C. organizations ranging from the Supreme Court to the United Nations Information Centre. Participation in the internship for at least 32 hours per week is required throughout the duration of the semester in Washington. Students will be evaluated regularly via supervisor surveys, and will be required to submit a final report on their experience. Additionally, students will be encouraged to bring their internship experiences into their other classes for discussion and contribution.

Professor Biographies

John A. Daly (Ph.D. Purdue) focuses on practical ways of bolstering the communication skills of individuals. He has examined topics such as shyness, personality difference in communication, communication difficulties people experience in their personal and professional relationships, and issues involved in assessing communication competency.  Dr. Daly’s course specifically designed for Archer Fellows focuses on the practical application of political communication and persuasion in the workplace and Washington, D.C. environment.

Julie S. Donnelly (Ph.D. Wisconsin) Prior to moving to Washington, DC in 2005, Dr. Donnelly spent almost 20 years at Wellesley College as a member of the faculty and then served in a variety of administrative positions, including Class Dean.  She earned her doctorate in Political Science, specializing in legislative studies. She has taught courses on American Government, the U.S. Congress, the Presidency, and legislative-executive relations.  She was awarded the Pinanski Prize for excellence in teaching and is excited to return to the classroom.

Joel Swerdlow (Ph.D. Cornell), who currently teaches at Johns Hopkins University, is an author, journalist, and researcher. He was a senior writer and assistant editor for ten years at National Geographic Magazine, and the lead writer for its 1998-1999 Millennium series. His work – for popular, academic and scientific publications – has been translated into more than three-dozen languages and is included in two collections, Best of the Washington Post and From the Field: Writing From National Geographic Magazine.  He has written for Rolling Stone and the Harvard Business Review and is a National Magazine Award Finalist. His nine books include a novel, and To Heal a Nation: The Story of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which became an NBC movie.  Swerdlow covered the Watergate conspiracy trial and the White House for National Public Radio.