Urban Politics Field Lab: Political Representation and Accountability (Harvard University, Fall 2021)

Over 80% of people in the US live in cities. City and town governments constantly have the potential to change policies with massive impact on this enormous population's lives. Preparing for climate change, providing housing to the growing urban population, and keeping the businesses driving urban economies working are all examples of challenges facing these governments. Yet national politics gets the majority of attention -- from the media, from researchers, from voters, and even from public policy students -- instead of the less flashy work of governing and policymaking that happens in local governments. As a result, local governments are often under-equipped to understand the policy solutions available to them to address these challenges. Nor are they usually equipped to confront the often-contentious politics of public opinion and engagement required to actually implement these solutions.

This course is an experiential learning lab in which students work in teams on political challenges facing real-world local government clients. Project teams will partner with local cities and towns, or departments of larger government entities, to address policy challenges such as transportation, the impacts of climate change, affordable housing, and other current topics. The projects vary in policy area focus, but all allow students to apply skills learned in HKS classes to real-world policy settings, and in turn provide tangible benefits to partner cities and towns. Project teams will use a variety of skills, but will almost all incorporate original public opinion polling of city residents to assess the political viability of policy solutions. In advance of team project-based work, the course includes training in advanced relevant analytical skills, such as GIS mapping, data visualization, and survey measurement and design. Project work and technical skills-based learning are complemented by sessions discussing current academic research on relevant urban policy issues. Extensive field work outside of class time will be required, including multiple visits to client sites by student team members. Students who complete the course may have the opportunity to develop team projects into publishable research projects following the class or extend partnerships with client governments into PAE projects.

Course Site Syllabus

Politics & Ethics in Unstable Times (Harvard University, Spring 2021 & 2022)

A course designed to help students dedicated to public service navigate difficult professional environments that are ethically and politically complex. It focuses on three challenging areas that confront today’s public servants: (i) working within settings that present actors with multilayered conflicts of interest, (ii) balancing the difficult trade-offs that come with advancing social, economic and transitional justice, (iii) mending and rehabilitating fragile democratic institutions and practices.



Introduction to Public Policy (Boston University, Spring 2020)

A course introducing politics and policy as a part of students' everyday lives. Review of the American policymaking framework and cases in a variety of policy areas: gun control, health care, COVID-19, financial regulation, immigration reform, water policy, gay marriage, and environmental policy.


Urban Public Policy Lab (Boston University, Fall 2019)

An experiential learning course applying data to local government policy. Course work combines applied team-based projects in partnership with local governments and readings about techniques for gathering and analyzing data relevant for policy.


Political Science Scope & Methods (MIT, Fall 2018)

An undergraduate research design course introducing students to the basic methodologies behind making inferences about the political world.




Methodological workshops (available on resources page):

Webscraping in R for workshop participants in the Social Sciences Research Methods Center at William & Mary

Geographic Visualization and Analysis for the MIT Political Science Methods Workshop series for graduate students and faculty members, and as guest lecturer at Harvard University.

Research Design for Policymakers for staff in the office of Councilor Michelle Wu, City of Boston


Previous teaching:

American Public Policy for Washington Interns TA for undergraduate course at MIT in Fall 2016 & Spring 2017 taught by Charles Stewart.

Introduction to the American Political Process TA for undergraduate course at MIT in Spring 2016 taught by Devin Caughey.

Randomized Controlled Trials Short Course TA for Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) executive education program on designing, implementing, and measuring the impact of experimental interventions at MIT in 2015.

Making Public Policy TA for undergraduate course at MIT in Fall 2013 co-taught by Andrea Campbell and Judy Layzer.

Research Methods in Government TA for undergraduate methods course at the College of William & Mary in Spring 2011 taught by Ron Rapoport.