Friday, December 02, 2016
Pedagogy and the Election
With my last post this election cycle, I wanted to do two things: first, to say thank you to Howard for the invitation and to my fellow contributors for their insights; and, second, to describe one important step that my colleagues at the University of Washington have taken in response to the presidential election and the questions it has raised.
My colleagues have designed a new course, entitled “Executive Power and Its Limits.” This course explores the boundaries of the presidency and the regulatory state. As designed by two of our administrative law experts, Sanne Knudsen and Kathryn Watts, the course is part overview, with discussions of the President’s relationship with the three branches of government, and part case study, with days devoted to a range of substantive areas, including immigration, health care, and the environment. Each of these areas of study will draw on expertise here at the law school, with most class sessions run not by Sanne or Kathryn, but rather by others on the faculty. One of the most innovative and important aspects of this course involves the way the students will be assessed. Rather take a final exam, each must draft one of the following: a regulatory comment in an ongoing rulemaking; a citizen petition for rulemaking; or an amicus brief in a pending case. The students decide on their own what position to take in their projects and whether, ultimately, to file the documents they have composed.
The creation of this class makes me proud to be a member of this faculty, and it helps me better to understand the wide range of roles that we can play as professors and members of the legal community. My colleagues’ response to the election has been to design a forward thinking, practically empowering, substantively rich, and ideologically neutral course that will benefit the students—and by extension, the wider community—enormously. It’s a course that, in my mind, should be taught every year, and one that is particularly important during times of presidential transition. I hope others are also finding ways to commit creativity and energy to figure out how best to respond to what we are, in all likelihood, now facing: an extended period of significant legal change.
Better (a hundred years) late than never.
Will the course address how progressives have been attempting to destroy limits on executive power for over a century?
Posted by: biff | Dec 3, 2016 10:48:09 PM
I should have mentioned: student demand for this course almost immediately exceeded seat capacity.
Posted by: Lisa Manheim | Dec 2, 2016 3:08:27 PM