College of Professional and Global Education Partners to Offer 2015 Civic University to Neighborhood Councils

Share this news story:



Civic University
Pictured Above: Cal State L.A. President William A. Covino and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti present certificates to the 2014 inaugural cohort of students who completed Civic University, a joint program between the City of Los Angeles and Cal State L.A. to promote civic education in the community.

The College of Professional and Global Education (PaGE) in partnership with the Pat Brown Institute at Cal State L.A. and the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will collaborate to offer a second cohort class of the Civic University (CU). The CU emphasizes civic and community engagement and gives Angelenos the tools they need to understand city government and influence policy at City Hall.

Last year, the CU graduated 100 Angelenos in its inaugural class. Starting April 2015, the Civic University will be offered to board members from the city of Los Angeles' nearly 100 Neighborhood Councils, and examine how they can best achieve their mission and attain a productive influence at city hall. Funding for this program comes from the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, also known as Empower LA, and AT&T. 

"We cannot build a better Los Angeles without an engaged population that knows how to navigate city government," said Mayor Garcetti. "That's why the CU emphasizes civic literacy: it's not just about your vote at the ballot box, it's about making sure your elected officials are representing your interests."

Instructors will be under the supervision of Dr. Raphael Sonenshein, Executive Director of the Pat Brown Institute, and author of three books on Los Angeles politics and government. Teaching staff will be drawn from the PBI, Cal State L.A. Faculty, and the Mayor’s Office and trained by the PBI.  

“This wonderful partnership with Mayor Garcetti speaks to the urgent need for new and powerful tools for community activism, based on a working knowledge of city hall and its access points,” said Dr. Sonenshein. “The Civic University builds community, empowers people, and encourages them to speak up, ask the tough questions, and be truly effective advocates for their neighborhoods.”

The curriculum for Civic University will include:

  • An overview of the power centers at Los Angeles City Hall
  • Who has power in the community and can influence City Hall
  • Where Neighborhood Councils fit into the governing structure of the city
  • An examination of the budget process
  • How data is developed and used at City Hall
  • The city’s election system, and how Neighborhood Councils can improve upon it
  • How to encourage positive, productive reform in local government

All participants who complete the program will receive non-credit certificates. Click to learn more about Civic University and the Pat Brown Institute

Lawrence Aldava, Director, Marketing and Communications