Four classes are involved in the the Semester in Washington DC Program: one class the fall before going to Washington, and three while you are in DC.
STDC 241: Study in Washington, DC (1) This is a one-semester-hour course taken during the fall semester immediately preceding the internship experience. The course is designed to introduce students to the city, prepare students for job searches, assist participants in securing appropriate internships for the upcoming semester.
STDC 344: Internship in Washington, DC (8) An internship experience, normally consisting of a four-day work week in a professional setting in the student's major field of concentration. Credit toward a departmental major is granted at the discretion of each department.
STDC 343: Integrating Faith and Public Life in Washington, DC (3) The institutions and people that affect the making of national policy are the focus of this course. Combining selected readings and site visits, the course will investigate the workings of Congress, the executive branch, and the judiciary, as well as think tanks, lobbying groups, and other organizations in the Washington, DC area. The role of religion will be the central issue: how religious individuals and institutions of many faith traditions seek to impact the climate and content of policymaking. May be credited as an elective, or as a departmental credit when accepted by the department concerned.
STDC 342: Special Topics in Public Life (3) This course will change each spring, with the topic selected by the Calvin College faculty member accompanying the group for the semester and teaching this class.
2018 Spring Semester: Institutions and Interests -- For the first time in history, the 2016 elections brought to the presidency a person with no prior experience in elected office or national service, who promised to significantly change the direction and culture of Washington D.C. and the country. Spring 2018 will mark one year in office for the Trump presidency, and a primary focus of the course will be on how the three branches of government – executive, legislative, and judicial -- have changed during that year. A second focus will be on whether and how there have been broader cultural changes within the city, both in the policy-making arena as well as in terms of the city as a place to work and live. The course will be taught by Calvin College Political Science Professor Doug Koopman.
2019 Spring Semester: Policy as Practical Theology (3) -- Every law is a kind of "nudge," a guardrail that, by default, channels citizens toward some version of “the good life.” Every policy articulates (and enacts) a way to live based on some implicit vision of flourishing. This perspective can make every policy a kind of practical theology; every law a kind of liturgy for social life. STDC 342 will utilize behavioral economics as a framework for policy and law, evaluating behavioral economics in light of its philosophical assumptions about human nature, freedom, choice, the common good, and how to “nudge” people toward their own best interests. Prime Minister David Cameron’s “Nudge Unit” at 10 Downing Street will be looked at as a case study.