Phi Beta Cons

Reader Mail re: Credit for Campaigning

I saw Mr. Leef’s post and took a look at the linked article. Although I understand the distress some may feel about giving credit for such activities, I think there are benefits to these offerings. The article quotes my colleague David Redlawsk. Redlawsk supervises the students wishing to intern for Democratic candidates while I, as my department’s token Republican, supervise those interning for Republicans. You can still complain about the value of any student getting such credit, but at least here (the University of Iowa) we have some balance.  
As to the value, both Redlawsk and I make sure that our students get a good experience. They do a lot of the grassroots grunt work, but they also do more fun activities such as volunteering at campaign events (such as the McCain-Palin visit to Cedar Rapids last week), coalition building, and community service. In addition to building stronger (Republican) student groups on campus, the students also get first hand experience in working on campaigns. Over the last several years many of my students who interned have gone on to jobs in the Bush administration, the RNC, and many other campaigns. 
It’s true, of course, the students could get the same experience without getting credit for it. I have found, however, that knowing they need to put in a minimum number of hours gives them a greater incentive to keep participating. Without such a specific reason to continue to participate, many students stop volunteering when other activities become more pressing (e.g., midterms), or they might tend to cherry pick the events in which they participate. I usually take a very hands on approach to supervising my interns, which means I regularly send them e-mails reminding them of the need to put in their hours and of events and activities in which they can participate.  
Finally, at least in my department, the credits they earn do not count toward satisfying the requirements for the Pol Sci major. They just count as elective credits. I would like to think that they might get as much benefit in terms of experience and networking for intern credits as they would from some class they sleep through just to get enough credits to graduate.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Wheels Begin to Come Off in the House

The Republican House has never been particularly functional, but Ryan has managed to hold it together admirably — until now. The Freedom Caucus took down the farm bill last week to pressure for a vote on a hawkish immigration bill, while a discharge petition is gaining ground with the support of Republican ... Read More

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Wins, America Loses

Derek Scissors of AEI has a sour take on the latest turn in U.S.–China trade talks: If there’s good news, it’s that the Trump administration has fallen silent on whether the U.S. will bend our law for China in the ZTE case, which got so much attention last week. That would be a big step backward. But even ... Read More

Jonathan Swift in a White Suit

In 1965 Tom Wolfe visited Princeton University for a panel discussion of "the style of the Sixties." The author of The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, published that year, was scheduled to appear alongside Günter Grass, Allen Ginsberg, and Paul Krassner. Grass spoke first. The German novelist's ... Read More

In Appreciation, and against (Too Much) Nostalgia

To put it a little self-pityingly: It seems that my gurus are going, and the world’s. Richard Pipes, the great historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, died on Thursday; Bernard Lewis, the great historian of the Middle East, died yesterday. We had them both for a long time. Pipes was born in 1923, Lewis way ... Read More

Comedians Are Catching On

The comedians are beginning to catch on. Over the weekend -- just one week after featuring a bevy of top-line Hollywood stars impersonating members of the Trump administration, as well as a cameo by a vengeful Stormy Daniels asking for President Trump’s resignation -- Saturday Night Live finally acknowledged ... Read More
PC Culture

The Nature of Progressive Insensitivity

Former vice president Joe Biden is back in the news yet again. For a second time, he seems surprised that poor residents of the inner city are capable of doing sophisticated jobs: We don't think ordinary people can do things like program, code. It's not rocket science, guys. So, we went and we hired some folks ... Read More

The Feminization of Everything Fails Our Boys

Let me share with you two troubling — and, I believe, closely linked — news reports. The first, from this weekend, comes courtesy of the American Enterprise Institute’s Mark Perry. In one chart, he highlights the dramatic and growing gender gap in higher education. In short, women are dominating: ... Read More