- Future Students
- Current Students
- The CLA Community
Despite COVID restrictions, participants in the Presidential Student Legislative Advocates (PSLA) continue to value the experience they are gaining from the program. Students participated in a wide variety of activities, including weekly sessions with speakers from the state legislative venue, a general election prediction contest, and a virtual lobbying day with the Beaver Caucus. For various reasons, six of the 50 students enrolled in the program withdrew in the early weeks of the quarter.
As we move toward the Winter quarter, we are striving to increase the number of interactive elements and will be offering a diversity of speakers on subjects that reflect a survey we conducted at the end of the fall term.
Over the fall quarter we also developed, and are implementing, two new ventures -- one to engage policy practitioners in course activities in disciplines across the university and another to develop a network of mutual support and collegiality for OSU undergraduate alumni who are active in public policy, government, and communications arenas.
Number of students who applied (summer 2020)....................... 67
Number of students who were accepted and enrolled................ 50 (75% acceptance rate)
Number of students who withdrew*........................................... 6 (12%)
Number of students who successfully completed**................... 44 (100%)
Highest score.......................................................................... 123%
Lowest score............................................................................ 82%
Average score......................................................................... 102%
Number of students with scores over 100%............................... 28 (63% of participants)
*Of the 6 students who withdrew, 3 had been nominated, 2 were direct applicants, and 1 was a student who had participated in last year’s program. For next year’s program we will be moving the application and recruitment process from the summer to the spring quarter, with the intent that this will increase the diversity of candidates for the program while also minimizing the potential schedule conflicts and constraints for students as they plan for the fall quarter.
**”Successful completion” required a 70% score based on participation in PSLA activities. The program involved well over a dozen extra-credit opportunities, such as sessions on resume writing, opportunities for getting involved in campaigns, internships, etc. (See Appendix.)
All but one of the students who successfully completed the fall quarter have enrolled for the winter quarter -- two additional students who participated in the PSLA last year but could not engage in the fall quarter due to schedule conflicts will join the program winter quarter.
2020-21 Program: PSLA Majors
Note: Because some students are double majors, the total number of students is greater than the enrollment in the program.
Self-Identified Ethnic/Racial Composition of PSLA Participants Fall 2020
Upon completion of the fall term, we surveyed participants seeking their feedback regarding activities conducted during the fall term and recommendations for content during the winter term. [Of the 44 students who completed the quarter, 35 (80%) participated in the survey which was administered during finals week.]
The General Election Prediction Contest
Many students commented favorably about the election prediction contest which involved forecasting the results of 16 elements in a dozen state legislative and statewide races, and state and national voter turnout. Four teams tied for first place with 12 correct predictions. The winners included two student teams, the team from OSU’s Government Relations Office, and the Public Policy Faculty team. (All teams beat Archie the dog whose predictions were based on a random number generator.)
What Students Liked
Many students enjoyed the session with President Alexander. [“I enjoyed working with my classmates and having the chance to use our class time to ask the President of OSU questions, which is not something that every student has the opportunity to do.”]
Other noteworthy speakers included Rep. Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis), OSU Professor Dr. Christopher Stout, an extra-credit information session with Public Policy Graduate Director Brent Steel and alumna Alethia Miller on the master’s in public policy, and a presentation by Legislative Counsel attorney Dan Gilbert. (See Appendix, p. 5, for a complete listing of fall PSLA activities.)
Suggestions for Improvement
In short, students are looking for more diversity in the speakers and increased interaction among the program participants.
Winter Quarter Forecast
The survey also included a review of possible topics for the winter quarter. The top five topics, by order of preference, include: Social Justice, Climate Change/Environmental Policy, Public Health, the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, and “What’s it like to work in the Governor’s Office?” As a result of the survey we are organizing either regular sessions or extra-credit topics on these topics with an eye to the diversity of the individuals who will be making presentations.
We are also including more collaborative activities involving break-out rooms. Two additions based on the survey include a “show and tell” session in which students will be discussing their IDPs and a team-based scavenger hunt on the legislative website. We will continue to implement other engaging activities for the winter quarter.
Confirmed Winter Quarter Activities
Legislative Scavenger Hunt -- Gaining familiarity and dexterity with the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS)
“Show & Tell: My Independent Development Plan (IDP)” and OSU’s Legislative Priorities for the 2021 session with Katie Fast & Claire McMorris
“What it’s like to work in the Governor’s Office with Mary Moller, Deputy Director Department of Consumer and Business Services, Former Executive Appointments Assistant to Governor Kate Brown
President Alexander: A Federal Perspective
The Environmental Agenda for the 2021 Session: Morgan Gratz-Weiser (Oregon Environmental Council), Amelia Porterfield (The Nature Conservancy), and Dylan Kruse (Sustainable Northwest)
The Business Agenda for the 2021 Session: Sandi McDonough (Oregon Business and Industry)
Social Justice: Chip Lazenby, Attorney; Former Legal Counsel to Governor Kitzhaber
State Treasurer Tobias Read
We continue to work with legislative offices in seeking internship opportunities for PSLA and other interested OSU students during the 2021 legislative session. In November we worked with ASOSU and ASCC to sponsor and organize an internship forum which included presentations by staff in congressional and state legislative offices, career services, and students who have participated in internships. Thirty-five students from OSU and OSU-Cascades participated in the forum.
Individual Development Plans – The PSLA “Adoption Program”
During the first weeks of the Winter quarter students will develop their own Individual Development Plans (IDPs) which will involve a three-part Adoption Program.
Throughout the session we will work with students to explore opportunities for Zoom shadowing and other opportunities to connect directly with those who are participating in Oregon’s legislative process.
Policy Practitioners in the Classroom
In a new venture, the PSLA is reaching out to faculty across disciplines to arrange for policy practitioners to speak to classes. Examples include industry and conservation representatives discussing forestry issues in a senior level capstone class in the College of Forestry, and a GIS specialist with the Association of Oregon Counties talking with a GIS class in the College of Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences. We will continue to cultivate these opportunities through the winter and spring quarters.
PSLA Alumni Network
Over the fall, a small group of PSLA and OSU alumni have been meeting to construct a network of mutual support and collegiality for undergraduate alumni who are active in the public policy, government and communications arenas. They have established a LinkedIn site with 65 members who are sharing information about jobs and other developments of interest. The group is coordinating with the OSU Alumni Association, has surveyed its members regarding interests and activities, and is planning zoom events early in 2021.
For more information
PSLA Activities: Fall Quarter 2020
Wednesday, September 23: Introduction and Orientation
Wednesday, September 30: A Conversation with OSU President Alexander
Wednesday, October 7: The Oregon Legislative Process
Wednesday, October 14: General Election Prediction Contest
Wednesday, October 21: OSU’s Presence in Salem
Wednesday, October 28: What is LFO?
Wednesday, November 4: Election Results
Wednesday, November 18: Rep. Dan Rayfield
Wednesday, December 2: What makes a good advocate?
Extra Credit Opportunities