Open MINDS Institute

Open MINDS Institute
BEYOND THE HEADLINES: Is American Democracy in Danger?

Begins Feb. 13 and runs for 5 weeks until March 13, 2018

Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
February 13

Begins Feb. 13 and runs for 5 weeks until March 13, 2018

$290 | $275 Member Price
$250 each if you enroll in two or more courses.

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Instructed by Gayle Alberda, PhD

Gayle Alberda

Today’s political discourse includes pundits, journalists, and elected officials weighing in on whether President Trump is hurting American democracy. Is American democracy in peril? This course will take participants on a journey to decide for themselves if American democracy is in jeopardy. Participants will learn and discuss how political leaders have used their position of power to defy American democratic ideals. The course will focus on four main areas: the integrity of the ballot, transparency in government, the role of the free press, and the purpose of other democratic institutions, such as the courts.

Using these four features of American democracy, we will evaluate in what ways American democracy is vulnerable. Participants are encouraged to share their experiences, engage in civil discussions about the course content, keep an open mind, read some course materials, and critically assess the topics at hand. On occasion, experts will join the class to provide additional grounding and framework on the topic. By the end of the course participants will walk away with a better understanding of how American democracy functions, the challenges it faces, and ways to help democracy thrive.

Dr. Gayle Alberda Biography
Dr. Gayle Alberda received her PhD in Political Science from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Her MPA and BS degrees are both from Central Michigan University. She is an assistant professor of politics and public administration and is also the deputy director of OVF.

Before her career in academia, Dr. Alberda worked in the political arena. Her work experience in the political field includes lobbying and working for the party where she held various statewide and regional positions, including deputy political director for the Great Lakes Region. She has also and worked on numerous campaigns including state house, city council, governor, president, and U.S. senate races in multiple states.

Dr. Alberda often serves as a political analyst for the media. She comments on local, state, and national politics and elections for local, regional, national, and international print and broadcast media. She has appeared in The New York Times and the Washington Post, and on Al Jazeera America, Bloomberg, Voice of America, Associated Press Radio and many others.

Dr. Alberda’s research examines how the governance of elections influences political participation. Her work appears in a recently released edited book titled Why Don’t Americans Vote? PS: Political Science & Politics and in The Review of Regional Studies. She is currently working on a book titled Voting Early, but Not Locally, where she examines the impact of early voting in local elections. Her dissertation received the Robert K. Merton Award for addressing the relationship between social theory and public policy by assessing the influence of early voting policies on municipal elections.

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