Rebuilding American Civics

While many Americans know a bit about our government foundations, processes and institutions, it is important that we have a shared understanding of these topics, so that we can have better and more constructive political conversations. Join us for a series of classes that look at rekindling our shared understanding about the principles of American civics. These classes will be taught in a conversational format, refreshing your understanding of American government and political thought, while uncovering new insights. It is often said that people should avoid talking about politics in mixed company; in our country, however, it is important that, as citizens we discuss politics but do so in a civil manner using critical thinking skills and empathy. As such, these classes will emphasize critical thinking and dialogue, learning along the way that it is okay to “agree to disagree.”

Classes will be led by Sam Scinta, President of IM Education and Lecturer in Political Science at UW-La Crosse and Viterbo University, along with special guests.

To register for this series of classes or to get more information contact Kelli Jerve at kelli@inspiredmindsedu.org or Jill Miller at jmmiller@viterbo.edu.  You may also visit Viterbo University’s D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership Webpage for more information.

Upcoming Classes:

Tuesday, September 28 6:30-8pm-The role of the President in American Government: The President of the United States is often considered the most powerful politician in the nation. Is this by design, and what does the Constitution have to say about the powers of the executive branch? In this session, we will explore the Constitutional authority of the President and its evolution over time.

Tuesday, October 5 6:30-8pm-Open civics conversation: Is there something about American politics or current events that is of interest to you? Come with a topic to discuss, or just join the moderated conversation, for a look at current events and hot topics.

Tuesday, October 12 6:30-8pm-Why free speech matters: Free speech is perhaps the most powerful liberty protected by our Constitution. But why is it so important to have free speech in our society? And what are the limits to speech? In this session, we will explore the philosophical underpinnings of free speech, in particular the writings of John Stuart Mill from “On Liberty.”

Tuesday, October 19 6:30-8pm-Our Declaration book discussion: This fall, the Viterbo community has chosen Our Declaration by Danielle Allen (who will also be appearing at Viterbo on Thursday, October 21) as its campus read. Join our conversation about this important and insightful book, as we explore the continued relevance of the Declaration of Independence to our contemporary world. “Our Declaration” recommended reading, but not required.

Tuesday, November 2 6:30-8pm-The role of the media in American government: The media is often referred to informally as the “fourth estate or branch” of our government; while it has no official responsibility under our Constitution, it serves an essential role in informing the public. Lately, however, media (which includes social media and traditional news media) has come under fire by politicians and the public. In this session, we will explore the role the media plays in our society and examine the current critiques of its role.

Tuesday, November 9 6:30-8pm-Open civics conversation: Is there something about American politics or current events that is of interest to you? Come with a topic to discuss, or just join the moderated conversation, for a look at current events and hot topics.

Tuesday, November 16 6:30-8pm-Interest groups and getting involved in American political issues: Interest groups, which range from political organizations to unions to nonprofits, are essential to our system of government, and are often a principal way that citizens get involved in political issues. And yet, their importance is not apparent to many Americans. In this session, we will explore the nature and role of interest groups in society, along with the tools they use to influence politics.

Tuesday, November 23 6:30-8pm-Open civics conversation: Is there something about American politics or current events that is of interest to you? Come with a topic to discuss, or just join the moderated conversation, for a look at current events and hot topics.