Public Affairs & Civic Engagement Courses of Interest to SF State Students of All Majors

Author: Bridget McCracken
November 27, 2023

Turn your Passion into a Career! Start with Spring 2024 Classes! Explore our course open to all majors! Offered in a variety of modalities at the main and downtown campuses! 

  • Passionate about addressing housing affordability concerns? Explore the root causes and potential solutions in our social justice courses. 

  • Eager to tackle income inequality head-on? Join us to delve into the intricacies and discover ways to make a difference. 

  • Troubled by persistent social inequities? Gain insights into the underlying issues and explore strategies for positive change. 

  • Curious about understanding the why behind these issues? Enroll in our courses to unravel the complexities of social justice challenges. 

  • Want to be empowered to influence policies and systems positively? Discover how you can play a role in driving meaningful change through education. 

san francisco hill with houses

Changing Cities (USP 200) in-person​ course on M/W from 12:30 PM to 1:45 PM  Course Attributes:  D1: Social Sciences; Social Justice

Are you interested in struggles for social justice? Do you want to learn how to design policies to improve living conditions? Are you curious about how cities relate to culture, globalization, and sustainability? USP/SOC200 introduces you to urban studies. This includes three walking tours in San Francisco to illustrate the issues that will be covered in the course. Active participation is required. What fascinates you about cities? Explore the dynamic nature of cities and the forces that shape them. Uncover the secrets to creating sustainable, vibrant urban spaces. Taught by Professor Pietro Calegoro.

Dynamics of the American City (USP 400) hybrid​ course on T from 2:00 PM to 3:15 PM. In-person meeting dates: 1/30, 2/13, 2/27, 3/12, 4/2, 4/16 & 4/30. The rest of the course is online asynchronous. Course Attributes:  D1: UD-D: Social Sciences; Social Justice

Delve into the unique dynamics that define American cities, from politics to culture, and gain a comprehensive understanding of urban life. Reflections from a past student, "This course contributed to my understanding of Urban Studies and Planning because it gave the concepts of how and why cities function and what can be done to better them.” Taught by Dr. Ayse Pamuk.

Introduction to Public Administration (PA/PLSI 402) in-person​ course on T from 4:00 PM to 6:45 PM

Embark on a journey into the heart of public administration, where you'll learn the fundamental principles that drive effective governance.  

san francisco city hall

Politics, Law, and the Urban Environment (USP 513) in-person​ course on T/R from 5:00 PM to 6:15 PM

Navigate the intricate relationship between politics, law, and the urban environment, and discover how these elements shape the world we live in. Taught by Dr. Tony Sparks.

san francisco downtown cityscape

Environmental Justice, Race, Poverty & the Environment (USP 515) hybrid course on M/W from 2:00 PM to 3:40 PM. In-person meeting dates: 1/31,2/7, 2/14, 2/21, 2/28, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20, 4/3, 4/10, 4/17, 4/24, 5/1, 5/8 & 5/15. Synchronous Zoom meeting dates: 1/29, 2/5,2/12, 2/19, 2/26, 3/4,3/11, 3/18, 4/8, 4/15,4/22, 4/29, 5/6 & 5/13.  (Meets synchronously online every Monday and in person every Wed)  Course Attributes:  Environmental Sustainability; Global Perspectives; Social Justice

Explore the crucial linkages between environmental justice, race, and poverty, and contribute to creating a more equitable and sustainable world.  Taught by Dr. Raquel Rivera-Pinderhughes.

Urban Poverty and Policy (USP 560) bichronous​ course on M from 6:00 PM to 9:40 PM. Synchronous meeting dates every Monday, 6 - 8:45 pm, 1/29 through 5/13. The rest of the course is online asynchronous. Course Attributes:  UD-D: Social Sciences; Social Justice

Gain a deep understanding of the challenges posed by urban poverty and explore effective policy solutions to build a more just society.  Taught by Dr. Carol Silverman.

Housing Policy and Planning (USP 580) asynchronous​ course. Course Attributes: UD-D: Social Sciences
Am. Ethnic & Racial Minorities; Global Perspectives; Social Justice

Embark on a transformative journey to unravel the complexities of housing policy challenges, delving into dynamic solutions that pave the way for a fairer and more equitable society. Explore the intricacies of creating impactful policy changes, empowering yourself to shape a world where housing justice takes center stage. Reflections from a past student, "I learned so much about housing systems in America both legally, historically, and through first-hand accounts. It was eye-opening. One thing that really clung to me in this course was that there is such a lack of affordable housing for people with lower incomes. It is crucial that the government make more public housing to help those who are housing insecure." Taught by Dr. Ayse Pamuk.

golden gate bridge

Aging and Diversity (GRN 725) Hybrid course on​ W from 5:30 PM to 8:15 PM. In-person meeting dates: 2/2, 2/16, 3/1, 3/15, 4/5, 4/19, 5/3 & 5/17. This course meets in BUS 116. The rest of the course is online asynchronous.

Dive into the rich tapestry of aging and diversity, exploring the unique challenges and opportunities in an ever-changing world. This advanced graduate-level course that delves deeply into the intricate intersections of aging and diversity, providing a comprehensive exploration of the complex dynamics shaping the experiences of diverse populations in the context of aging. Reflection from a past student, "Dr. Takagi demonstrates a genuine passion for the subject, and it is evident in the enthusiasm with which they teach. Their dedication to promoting diversity and understanding the aging process from various perspectives is inspiring. This passion creates a contagious energy in the classroom, making it a space where students feel encouraged to participate and share their thoughts." Taught by Dr. Emiko Takagi.

group of elders smiling

Nonprofits, Public Policy & Society (PA 744) Hybrid course at the downtown campus on M from 6:00 PM to 8:45 PM. In-person meeting dates: 1/29 (meet in room 513 this day only), 2/12, 2/26, 3/11, 4/8, 4/22 & 5/6. The rest of the course is online asynchronous.

Discover the powerful intersection of nonprofits, public policy, and society, and understand how you can make a positive impact on the world around you. Reflections from a past student, "Hickey is an experienced, thoughtful and flexible teacher. He is an expert on non-profit policy, politics and management, and is able to convey the breadth of his knowledge in clear and inviting terms. You get the sense that he walks the talk -- and wants his students to do so as well. He wants his student to be successful and is invested in their learning." Taught by Professor Kevin Hickey.

Leading Change Across Sectors (PA 762) Hybrid course at the downtown campus, on TH from 6:00 PM to 8:45 PM. In person meeting dates: 2/1, 2/15, 2/29, 3/14, 4/4, 4/18, 5/2, 5/16. The rest of the course is online asynchronous.

Develop the skills to be a change-maker! This course empowers you to lead transformation across diverse sectors, making a difference wherever your passions lie. Taught by Professor Regina Neu.