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Open Classroom: Your guide to Election 2016

Throughout the fall semester, the Myra Kraft Open Classroom series will explore the choices facing the American electorate in the 2016 presidential election.

Open Classroom is a semesterlong seminar series that is free and open to the Northeastern community and the public. The first class of the fall semester is Wednesday night.

“The goal is to foster discussion—not focus primarily on speeches—and really wrap our heads around what’s been happening here in this election,” says Christopher Bosso, professor of public policy at Northeastern. Bosso is running the Open Classroom series this semester with Michael Dukakis, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee.

The series will examine the U.S. presidential race from many different angles. Here are five things to watch for—and reasons to attend:

The candidates and their parties
How did we get here? That question will be the dominant theme of the first Open Classroom event on Wednesday, Sept. 7. Dukakis will moderate, as political science professors William Mayer (Northeastern) and Rachel Cobb (Suffolk University) examine the paths both the Republican and Democratic parties took to nominate their candidates.

The issues
In the weeks that follow, each class will focus on a specific topic, including the economy and jobs (Sept. 14); globalization and migration (Sept. 21); security and terrorism (Oct. 5); social issues (Oct. 19); and America’s place in the world (Oct. 26). The Sept. 21 event will be co-sponsored by the university’s civility series—Conflict. Civility. Respect. Peace. Northeastern Reflects—with Northeastern faculty members bringing their expertise on issues such as immigration, identity, and nationalism. On Oct. 12, the series will partner with the School of Journalism to focus on presidential election coverage by both traditional and new media.

What students want
Bosso says the topics discussed throughout the fall semester at Open Classroom will be very relevant to younger voters, but the Wednesday, Sept. 28, event has been specifically designed to engage students and focus on issues of particular interest to their demographic. First, Boston Globe reporter Evan Horowitz will present on a topic titled, “What data tells us about millennials and Generation Z.” Then, leaders from various student organizations will highlight and foster discussion on election issues they care most about.

And the next president is…
The day after the election, Wednesday, Nov. 9, Northeastern faculty will offer early analysis of what just happened the night before. The following week, on Wednesday, Nov. 16, they will offer deeper reflection upon the 2016 election.

Obama’s presidency
The final three classes of the series (Nov. 30, Dec. 7, and Dec. 14) will focus on President Barack Obama’s legacy. The first of the three classes will cover Obama’s domestic policy, from the economy to race and justice; the second will focus on his foreign policy; and the series will close with a look at “The America He Leaves Behind.”

All the events will be held on Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m., in 20 West Village F.

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