Ralph Munro Seminar for Civic Education

Since 1986, the Political Science Department has a Fall seminar that brings together state policymakers, scholars and community leaders to discuss pressing public policy challenges in an open forum attended by Western students, faculty and the community at large. For more information on the seminar and the Munro Institute for Civic Education, contact Institute Director Kate Destler.

Western’s Munro Institute for Civic Education Presents:

Fall Seminar 2021: Complex Problems and Cross-Party Conversations

Each panel brings together State legislators, Washington University faculty and local government officials.

Check out this forum to discuss complex policy issues affecting us all.

How to Reduce Harm? Addiction & Drug Policy

Four speaker headshots: Manka Dingra, Andrew Barkis, Doug Chadwick, and Seema Clifasefi
Viking Multipurpose Room

Thursday, November 4, 2-3:30 pm

Moderator: Professor Kate Destler, Department of Political Science & Honors College

Senator Manka Dingra (D)

Representative Andrew Barkis (R)

Undersheriff Doug Chadwick from Whatcom County

Professor Seema Clifasefi from UW Harm Reduction Center

Listen to a Recording Here

Priced Out: A Conversation about Housing Affordability

Priced Out panel participant headshots: Rachel Fyall, Patty Kuderer, and Greg Gilday
Viking Multipurpose Room

Thursday, November 4, 4-5:30pm

Moderator: Professor Melanie Bowers, Department of Political Science & Honors College

Kurt Nabbefeld, City of Bellingham Planning and Community Development

Professor Rachel Fyall, UW Evans School of Policy and Governance

Senator Patty Kuderer (D)

Representative Greg Gilday (R)

Priced Out panelListen to a Recording Here

2020 Munro Seminar

Tuesday, October 27th

Institutional Stresses in an Era of Pandemic

Keynote Address at 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Alasdair Roberts, Professor of Public Policy and Director, School of Public Policy, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Kyle Harper, Professor of Classics & Letters, University of Oklahoma
  • Moderator: Vernon Johnson, Director, Munro Institute, Professor of Political Science

We have two distinguished scholars from different orientations who will engage in a conversation centered around “Institutional Stresses in an Era of Pandemic.” 

Alasdair Roberts in navy blue suit

Professor Roberts has written widely, about the challenges to government from the time of 9-11 to the COVID crisis. 

Kyler Harper in a light gray suit

Professor Harper is an authority on the institutional performance and stress during the Roman Empire and is currently writing a global history of infectious disease.

This keynote event will be moderated by Munro Institute director, Professor Vernon Johnson.

Wednesday, October 28th

Panel Discussion #1

“Who Is In Charge Here? Federalism, Bureaucracy And Lessons On “Managing” A Pandemic”

12:00pm - 1:30pm

  • Chris Reykdal, Superintendent, Office Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Don Kettl, University of Texas Austin
  • Leo Flor, Director, King County Department of Community and Human Services
  • Jae Moon, Yonsei University, Director, Institute of Future Government
  • Moderator: Kate Destler, WWU Associate Professor of Political Science

Beyond the immediate health concerns, Covid-19 has revealed challenges in governance and the management of public agencies, as key decision-makers often struggled to coordinate and communicate with one another and with the public at large.  At the same time, a bright side of the pandemic has been valuable lessons— both locally and globally—about how public agencies can respond to this crisis and others that may loom in our future. This panel brings together scholars and public officials at the local and state level to discuss what has worked, what has failed, and what we might do differently the next time around.

Panel Discussion #2

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Washington’s LatinX Population

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

  • Rebecca Saldana, State Senator, 37th District
  • Giovanni Severino, Lead Policy Organizer, Latino Community Fund of Washington
  • Mike Gempler, Executive Director, Washington Growers League
  • Norma Chavez, Director, Office of Agricultural and Seasonal Workforce Services
  • Moderator: Rudy Alamillo, WWU Assistant Professor of Political Science

In this panel, a group of experts from the private, public, and community organizing sectors discuss the impact of COVID-19 on Washington's Latinx population. Although Latinxs are only 13% of Washington’s total population, they represent 41% of confirmed COVID-19 cases. We talk about why the Latinx population in Washington is especially vulnerable to COVID-19, with a focus on how state and private sector responses to the pandemic affected Latinx farmworkers. We will also discuss where Latinxs stand in a post-COVID-19 Washington after bearing the brunt of the pandemic.