While there are many political education programs designed for seasoned professionals or partisans, the New Politics Forum remains unique. Established in 2003 at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, the New Politics Forum is the only program of its kind in Texas offering conferences, trainings, and events that are: (1) strictly nonpartisan; (2) primarily youth-focused; and (3) taught by active political professionals.
The New Politics Forum offers:
hands-on skill development that combines job relevance with cutting-edge academic research;
networking and mentorship opportunities for students and alumni;
rotating topics appropriate to the political environment and changes in new media;
conferences and trainings that incorporate a more critical approach focusing on ethics, political values, and culture; and
a stepping stone to careers in politics and life-long, sustained civic engagement.
Our Program Values
CREATE A TEXAS FOCUS
Most political training programs emphasize national rather than local politics. The New Politics Forum reverses these priorities by focusing on the dynamic political climate of Texas.
WORK WITH YOUNG PEOPLE
Most political programs are designed for mature professionals rather than young citizens. The New Politics Forum program offers knowledge and skills that help prepare the next generation for their role as active citizens, stewards of self-governance, and for immediate entry into campaign and political work, thus infusing new talent and vitality into the political process.
OFFER A PRACTICAL EDUCATION
The New Politics Forum was created to offer college-aged participants an opportunity to learn about politics from active political professionals. Students learn from the practical experience of others while also gaining a strong foundation in the technological, philosophical, and ethical components of civic life, political engagement, and campaigns.
DEVELOP CIVIC LEADERS
There are many ways that citizens can be involved in their communities. The opportunity in self-governance is that we all can find a way to contribute to the democratic process. The New Politics Forum helps the next generation connect to their civic values, interests, skills, and beliefs – the foundation of sustained engagement. Our events and opportunities work to jumpstart the process, expand professional networks, and help to connect participants with other engaged peers and active political professionals across the partisan spectrum.
Every year, the New Politics Forum utilizes independent researches to conduct a major program evaluation that examines the effects of attending NPF events on participants' political attitudes, skills, and involvement. These studies have consistently found that NPF enhances political understanding, promotes political interest and motivation, and develops general political skills in young people. Highlights from our findings illustrated that:
87% of participants reported that the New Politics Forum helped them want to act to improve civic and political life
86% of participants said that NPF increased their interest in wanting to be politically informed
80% of participants said that NPF was more beneficial at providing networking than college classes
Results indicate that participants are highly optimistic about young people’s role in politics after attending NPF programs. When asked to report their agreement with statements such as "young people have an important role to play in politics" and "young people are apathetic toward politics," participants reported higher agreement after the program than before the program. In addition, after attending NPF programs, participants were more likely to report that they would participate in each of these five political activities in the future.
|Pre- and Post-Program Political Involvement
|Contact or visit a public official -any level of government- to ask for assistance or to express your opinion
|Work with a political group or volunteer for a campaign
|Work as a canvasser going door to door for a political candidate or cause
|Be an active member of one or more groups or organizations
These findings tell us that we are making an impact in the lives of New Politics Forum participants: by exposing them to the inner workings of politics and campaigns; by offering practical skills to develop themselves professionally; and, by showing them the possibilities that could come from their engagement.
EMILY R. EINSOHN
Director of Public Engagement
Emily Einsohn has served as the program coordinator for the New Politics Forum at the Annette Strauss Institute since August 2010. In 2015, she was promoted to serve as the Institute's Director of Public Engagement. Getting her start in politics early, she received an award in 3rd grade from Mayor Annette Strauss for her ideas about improving city water conservation and has since worked in every aspect of the political arena. Prior to joining the Institute, Emily has experience working as a campaign staffer on a Texas state-wide U.S. Senate race, in a Texas State Legislator's Capitol office, and with a national interest group in Washington, D.C. Emily received a Masters of Public Affairs from LBJ School of Public Affairs and a Masters of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin's School of Social Work, where her research focused on civic engagement, community organizing, program development, mediation/facilitation, and issues of social justice. Emily has also recieved a portfolio certificate from the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service in Nonprofit Studies and is a trained civic reflection facilitator. In 2013, she co-authored the Texas Civic Health Index report, the first comprehensive analysis of political participation, community involvement, and social connectedness in Texas, in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship.
Contact: Emily.Einsohn@austin.utexas.edu or 512-471-7214 Twitter: @emilyeinsohn
Taylor joins the Annette Strauss Institute as the New Politics Forum (NPF) Program Coordinator. She helps oversee NPF's digital platforms and coordinate events to bolster civic engagement amongst college-aged youth. While studying Government at the University of Texas at Austin, Taylor was awarded two Department of Education fellowships to India, where she studied Hindi and became familiar with the politics of the world's largest democracy. She has previously interned with Project Vote Smart as a Legislative Research Intern, so she is excited to return to the Strauss family!
Contact: Taylor.Foody@austin.utexas.edu or 512-471-2135 Twitter: @NewPolitixForum
Outreach Program Coordinator
Bianca Solis is the new Outreach Program Coordinator for New Politics Forum. She previously worked as a fundraising associate at Norma Denham & Associates, a full- service political consulting firm. She assisted political candidates in State, County, and City races in meeting their campaign fundraising goals by coordinating various fundraising events and growing their donor base. Prior to her active participation in local politics, she was an Assistant Program Manager for Student Services at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. There was she given the opportunity to work with students from across the country and was responsible for the recruitment and promotion of a national internship program and scholarship opportunities. She also assisted in the coordination of local professional development events, regional STEM Summits and an annual higher education conference. Bianca received her B.A in Communication Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.