Engaging in the Legislative Process

Overview

  • Time Frame: 3 hours. Longer time for more participants.
  • Suggested number of participants: 6-18
  • Materials needed: PowerPoint, AV for sound, and participants will need access to a laptop or other digital device
  • Room Setup: tables of 4-6
Download the Curriculum

The legislative process is meant to facilitate public conversations about issues. But it’s pretty confusing. This workshop will help you better understand the legislative process and develop strategies for getting involved. Learn about your legislators and discover tools to help you follow the action. Think through how to do more than write a letter to your elected officials. The workshop focuses on the Minnesota legislative process and is led by a former state legislator.

  • What is the value of a community and network for leadership?
  • Who is in your network? How are you connected to them? Why do you value these relationships?
  • What skills/competencies/perspectives are you interested in developing, and who can help you do so?
  • How do you keep connected and be of help to people in your community and network?
Facilitator Outcomes Participants will be able to:
  1. Introduce the perspective that a vibrant network and community is essential for developing as a leader, having impact, and making progress in one’s career. Clarify the idea that being generous in these relationships is important for transformational work.
Describe why relationships matter for leadership, careers, and impact and express understanding that generosity in relationships is helpful in this work.
  1. Describe the process of drawing one’s network and give participants the opportunity to practice.
Visualize their own key relationships and networks and recognize important connections, missing links, and useful patterns.
  1. Provide an overview of thinking through mentoring relationships starting from the perspective of skills/capacity development and have students work through a structure process from this perspective. Facilitate conversation about this process.
Articulate skills/capacities they would like to develop and identify potential people who could be mentors for developing these skills/capacities.
  1. Facilitate conversation about strategies for following up on connections and maintaining relationships. Have students write a thank you note.
Discuss ways to keep vibrant network connections and use the tool of writing a thank you note.
  1. Build a community in the room and demonstrate the idea that everyone has something to give through sharing activity.
Recognize that they have many things to offer others in their networks and community and practice doing so.
  1. Debrief workshop and ask students to commit to an action to work on their community/network/mentoring relationships.
Propose an action step or two to improve network relationships.
 

Workshop Materials

 

    Sample Agenda

    1:30 – 2:00 Introductions & Icebreakers

    2:00 – 2:30 Connecting the Dots of Your Cultural Background

    • Values Exercise
    • Salsa, Soul & Spirit Exercise
    2:30– 2:40 Break
    2:40-3:00 Presentation
    3:00-3:50 Case Study: Why Diversity Can Lead to Better Ideas
    4:10-4:30 Reflection & Integration

    Ask students to share what actions steps they will be taking.

    Pre-Workshop Email
    We recommend sending out the pre-workshop email one-week before and a short follow-up two days before the workshop. This workshop does not require any pre-work before the workshop, but you could include a link to a TED Talk to help prime students for the workshop experience.

    Here’s an example:

    Dear Workshop Participants:

    We’re looking forward to seeing you Monday at 1:30 p.m. for the Engaging with the Legislature workshop! Please confirm your attendance. We’ve run out of space, and if you are unable to make it, we would love to make space for someone on the waitlist.

    Here’s a description of the workshop:

    The legislative process is meant to facilitate public conversations about issues. But it’s pretty confusing. This workshop will help you better understand the legislative process and develop strategies for getting involved. Learn about your legislators and discover tools to help you follow the action. Think through how to do more than write a letter to your elected officials. The workshop focuses on the Minnesota legislative process and is led by a former state legislator.

    We will be meeting in Room R 350 of the Learning and Environmental Sciences Building which is located at 1954 Buford Ave. on the St. Paul campus. Please bring your laptops (if you have one), or other digital device where you can search on the web.

    All my best,
    Kristi

     

    1. Post-workshop handouts
    2. Post-workshop email
      Dear Engaging in the Legislative Process attendees,

      Thanks for taking the time to learn more about our political and policy processes. Every time I interact with Boreas students, I am left feeling more hopeful about the kind of future we can create together.

      Here are some resources for you as you consider getting more involved in civic life.

      The Minnesota Legislature page. This page is a very helpful resource for tracking what is happening at the legislature.

      This page from the Minnesota House of Representative Public Information Office has all sorts of handy information about Minnesota history and government process. They also have a page for youth that I think is really handy for adults. It has a lot of information about various government processes is fairly easy to understand formats.

      Another way to get involved in civic life is through boards and commissions. Learn more about state boards and commissions and how to apply. In addition to state boards and commissions, your city also has opportunities. I got my start as a member of the New Brighton Park, Recreation, and Environment Commission. Here are opportunities in Minneapolis, and here is Saint Paul. Just this week, I spoke to the Minneapolis Food Council, and I ran into a former Boreas student who is now a member of that council.

      Almanac, a local public affairs and politics show made by Twin Cities PBS, is a great way to keep up on local civic activity. In addition to the big local newspapers and Minnesota Public Radio, Minnpost.com is another great news source.

      If you are interested in getting involved in an organization that works on science advocacy, the Union of Concerned Scientists is a good place to look.

      Here is the article about the United States’ epistemic Crisis by David Roberts that I mentioned in the workshop.

      Finally, you may find the book Escape from the Ivory Tower, by Nancy Baron, to be useful. It is a mix of how to communicate science better and how to engage with and testify at legislatures and congress.

      Thanks again for taking the time to learn more about our civic life. I hope you find ways to share your gifts and leadership in a society that needs you to do so.

    3. Survey example

    References

    Bennett, M. J. (2004). Becoming interculturally competent. Toward multiculturalism: A reader in multicultural education, 2, 62-77.

    Deardorff, D. K. (2010). A comparative analysis and global perspective of regional studies on intercultural competence.

    Giles, S. (2016). The most important leadership competencies, according to leaders around the world. Harvard Business Review. Online.

    Hammer, M. R., Bennett, M. J., & Wiseman, R. (2003). Measuring intercultural sensitivity: The intercultural development inventory. International journal of intercultural relations, 27(4), 421-443.

    Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G. J., & Minkov, M. (1991). Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind (Vol. 2). London: McGraw-Hill.

    House, R. J., Hanges, P. J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., & Gupta, V. (Eds.). (2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies. Sage publications.

    Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., De Luque, M. S., & House, R. J. (2006). In the eye of the beholder: Cross cultural lessons in leadership from Project GLOBE. The academy of management perspectives, 20(1), 67-90.

    Cultural Dimensions Videos
    Short two-minute videos on different cultural dimensions:

    The Danger of a Single Story-TED Talk
    Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
    Geert Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Website
    Compare the cultural dimensions of different countries by using this interactive site.
    Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)
    View research and sample reports on the IDI.
    Intercultural Knowledge and Competence Value Rubric
    Developed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, through a process that examined many existing campus rubrics and related documents for each learning outcome and incorporated additional feedback from faculty.

    Attending Boreas workshops has allowed me to learn and implement several valuable leadership tools in an increasingly connected world and how to present myself in a professional manner on paper, online, and in person.

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    Melaney Dunne

    Master's Student Conservation Biology