The first iteration of Global Capstone will take place in spring 2022 – this program will be led by Professor David Audretsch and the client will be Democrats Abroad Germany. O’Neill students will work with graduate students from partner institution, University of Augsburg in Germany, to complete the capstone project for the client. Partner and client work will take place on Zoom until spring break 2022, when the travel portion of the course begins.
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Global Capstone 2022: Germany
The V600 Capstone courses are intended to address topics that integrate public policy, management, and science/technology in an interdisciplinary framework. The expectation is that the class will involve a group project that requires students with very different backgrounds and skills to work together in a collaborative learning format. The course is a capstone for the core curriculum rather than a concentration element and deals with interdisciplinary, interrelated issues that generally arise in the professional positions students are expected to obtain. In keeping with these objectives, this section of V600 is intended to integrate a wide variety of previous coursework, including both the core curriculum of our O'Neill degrees and each student's individual concentration areas.
This capstone course will provide students the opportunity to work with complex organizational and community problems and to engage directly with a high-impact non-profit organization, as well as its various stakeholders. Students will apply policy analysis skills, design and carry out research, gain an understanding of a non-profit organization’s operational, managerial and strategic challenges, and propose new managerial and organizational practices along with specific strategies to enhance the impact and effectiveness of the organization. The course will also provide opportunities to develop project and team management and analytical skills as well as apply professional oral and written communication skills.
The course will have a workshop format. Thus, class members will self-divide into groups to address the various aspects and tasks of the project. Each group should focus on a specific task of the project. While the exact structure and focus of each group will be established by class consensus and instructor and client input, an initial structure should consider how group participants can best be structured and organized to achieve the relevant task within the time schedule. Students will also need to establish an organizational structure to coordinate both within and across groups, to generate the final recommendations and summary analysis, and to work with the Client. The precise organizational structure will be established by class members with input and guidance from the instructor.
The client for this V600 Capstone course is Democrats Abroad Germany (DAG). The course will work closely with Mr. Kenton Barnes, Chair of Democrats Abroad Germany and Mr. Jonah Otto, Vice Chair of Democrats Abroad Munich and Research & Teaching Fellow at the University of Augsburg. The Clients have requested that the students dedicate their Capstone Project to Enhancing the Political Engagement of Americans Living in Germany.
Democrats Abroad is the official overseas arm of the Democratic Party, USA. Democrats Abroad is the organization that represents all United States citizens residing outside the U.S. who wish to adhere to the principles and further the aims of the Democratic Party of the United States of America. The organization is recognized by the Democratic National Committee ("DNC") as the equivalent of a US State Party, therefore holding its own state primary for presidential elections. Democrats Abroad is a fully-volunteer, non-profit association organized and operating under the Uniform Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act of 2000, D.C. Code §§ 29-971.01, et seq.
Democrats Abroad Germany (DAG) is one of Democrats Abroad’s largest County Committee’s, comprising nearly 16,000 members across 14 local chapters throughout Germany. Kenton Barnes is the elected Chair of DAG, leading all of the Democratic Party’s efforts in the country. In this role he is responsible for managing all country-level activities as well as providing supervision and support to the local DAG chapters. Jonah Otto is the elected Vice Chair of the DAG Munich Chapter and co-leader of the DAG Augsburg Precinct, providing strategic and leadership support to the voter engagement efforts in southern Bavaria. He is also a researcher and teaching fellow at Universität Augsburg (an O’Neill School partner, near Munich), facilitating all of the international activities for the Department of Management and Organization. Due to its size and the importance of Germany itself in international and economic affairs, DAG is of particular strategic importance for Democrats Abroad.
DAG is chiefly concerned with identifying and engaging American citizens living in Germany, empowering them to exercise their right to vote in US elections. DAG creates value for its active members by providing opportunities to exercise their political voice through voting resources, volunteerism, events and rallies, and appealing to Congress and State Legislatures on policy issues concerning members.
The international travel portion of the course will take place over spring break 2022 (roughly March 12, 2022 – March 19, 2022) in Augsburg, Munich, and Berlin, Germany. The program will start in Augsburg, move to Munich, then on to Berlin. Lodging and ground transportation will be included in the program fee, as well as the other features listed above. Possible cultural excursions could include visiting the Bundestag (German Parliament) in Berlin, walking tour of the city, and more.
The international travel portion of the course will include the following items:
- Comprehensive pre-departure training covering country-specific health and safety information
- Ground transportation in-country
- Welcome and farewell dinners as a group
- Professional meetings with client
- Site-visits to organizations relevant to client
- Professional development activities
- Cultural excursions
The 2022 Global Capstone fee will be $600-750. To secure their spot, students will accept their offer with a $250 deposit towards the program fee. The remaining program fee amount will be charged to students’ bursars prior to the travel portion of the course.
In addition to the program fee, students will be responsible for covering their flight and personal expenses while on the ground overseas, as well as paying tuition for the V600 Capstone course (3 credits).
We invite applications from O’Neill graduate students in any degree who are in good academic and disciplinary standing. Course capacity is 20 students. Applications will open in mid- to late-September 2021 pending final OSAC proposal.
The O’Neill International Office will administer a pre-departure training and preparation process covering health, safety, security, and cultural information for students doing this program. A pre-departure group meeting covering these topics will take place in February 2022 preceding departure for the international travel portion of the course.
Description of the video:Well, hello everyone. My name is David Audretsch, I teach at the O'Neill school here atIndiana University. And in the spring this coming spring, the spring of 2022, I'm teaching a capstone course. We call it the global capstone because it involves an international client. And I'm here today with that international client. Who is Mr. Jonah Otto And yeah, Hi Jonah. How are you? I'm doing well, how's it going David, it's going it's always it's always a good day when I see you Jonah. So let me ask our client because, you know, in the capstones and you will find out that our client, actually one of our clients, because there's two clients. But Jonah is no stranger to the capstone. You'll find out. And so he knows, and I certainly know from years of experience in teaching this class. It all starts with the client, or in this case the clients. So let's start with the client, Jonah. Jonah, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and then probably equally as important, you know what is it? Who are you as a client and what it is that you would kind of what your request as a client for the Capstone? Yeah, absolutely. So my name is Jonah Otto us as David pointed out. And I, myself am an alumni of or an alumnus of SPEA or the O'Neill school. So I had earned my MPA back in 2015, so I have experience working on capstones, but now in my capacity as a member of the faculty at the University of Augsburg in Southern Germany. I've also had experience in liaising and coordinating international capstone projects for the O'Neill school, working with clients here in Germany, which is who I represent in that capacity today. So who this client is, this big mystery client that we've been referring to. So in my role at the University of Augsburg, in my spare time, I also serve as a volunteer for Democrats Abroad Germany, which serves as the country committee in Germany for Democrats abroad, the official party wing of the Democratic party that represents Americans that live outside of the United States. Specifically, I'm the Vice Chair of the Munich chapter. But because of my connection to both Democrats abroad, Germany, my university here in Germany, and my Alma mater back at Indiana University. I was able to kind of work with, with Professor Audretsch to set up this opportunity for IU students in the master's program to complete a capstone project working on central issues to the functioning of Democrats abroad Germany on a country-wide scale as a part of this broader global organization. So I can speak a little bit later about specifically what the Democrats Abroad Germany does in terms of their representation of US citizens living in Germany. But specifically the activities that students would be working on should they choose to participate in this capstone, would be helping us to organize efforts within our broader initiative strategy for getting out the vote or GEO TV campaign. So that's in terms of grassroots organizing. Routine voters where they are helping then file and complete and submit application for ballot, and then just submit the actual ballot itself whenever elections come around for all the different US Citizens from all the different fifty states. that live here in Germany, as well as The, their fundraising and cooperation effort to build their fundraising portfolio, to make a more balanced and sustainable revenue streams for the organization. And then next to help organize their caucus committee system, which is how they reach out to special interest group voters within the Democratic Party and help engage them in different cities. So this is a lot of equity and access and social organizing and issues within that as well. And then lastly, to help delineate and evaluate their advertising and communications plans. So to give a complete looked at how the organization markets itself, how it advertises itself. and how its able to effectively engage with its broader membership. And so within those four different task groups, students would be working on this project. And then extra little tweak that gives this program a little bit more of a well-rounded experience for students, is that you will have the ability to work with master students from the University of Augsburg. So Germans students here on the ground that would be working with the student groups that come from IU, as well as an optional travel component during the spring break of the spring semester in 2022 to come over to Germany to join us and to do some work on the ground and meet some of the actual Executive Committee members of Democrats Abroad Germany who you'll be liaising with and working with throughout the entire project. So in a nutshell, that's what the Capstone will be, that's who the client is and those are the types of tasks you'd be working on. Why that's a great synopsis, very concise, and gives us a good sense of what actually the client would like. Although we also know from experience, there's always kind of give and take between the client and the students. So let me ask this of you, Jonah, you know, you mentioned something about optional travel, Does the whole capstone class take place over in Germany? Is that what global capstone means? No. It actually means that we're adapting to this new kind of online collaboration space, which allows us to have almost the entire capstone taking place on campus at IU. And then building in a one-week additional travel component that's optional, give or take. So you don't have to take part in that trial component in order to complete the capstone. But if you can take advantage of the opportunity to meet the other students you'd be working with in person to meet the client in person. Obviously that gives added value, but in no way is the program compromised for students that do the entire program from Indiana University, the travel components complete the optional. Right. Okay. That's great. That's a lot of flexibility, a lot of different ways for a lot of different people to participate. And not everyone is nobody's required to go overseas. Right? So for the overseas component, You know you said it'll take place in Augsburg and Berlin. Can you say anything else about the location, the lodging, logistics? I don't know if anybody has looked at a map, but Augsburg is close to a lot of great places. I can tell him tell you from visiting Jonah, but one of the places is not close to his Berlin. So how are they going to get from Augsburg to Berlin? Oh, sure, So great questions. So upon arrival in Germany, we would suggest that the students fly into Munich which is really close to Augsburg down in the southern part of Bavaria, down in the alpine region of southern Germany. And so that's where we'd be for the first half of the trip. Moving back and forth between workshop sessions in Augsburg and meeting with members of Democrats Abroad Germany in the Munich area. So looking at the Munich chapter leadership and since Munich is one of the largest chapters within Democrats Abroad Germany and doing some field work there, while also going to need to take part in some cultural excursions within the Bavarian context. So whenever people think of Germany, typically they think of like Bavarian traditions, such as leaderhosen polka music, the mountains, this kind of thing, castles. So we would do some things as well to kind of get a little bit of a cultural context to your trip to Germany. At that point, midway through the week, we'd be taking the train from Munich up to Berlin. So we'd be taking a high-speed train. And then from there we'd be staying probably in the Kurtzberg region because that would put us close in the heart of Berlin. To, IU's office in Berlin, the IU European gateway, which will be facilitating a lot of our work in the Berlin area, where we then meet with other members of the Democrats Abroad Germany executive committee and then deliver a midterm report on the findings of the progress of the project at that stage. Because the spring break then serves as kind of a nice mid point. Accommodations in both places would be shared lodging so where students would have a roommate, possibly two roommates and staying in a local youth hostel organization with like, private bath as much as possible in the hearts of these cities, great locations, great connections to the rest of the city so that it's easy to get out and do things and make excursions also a part of the travel experience. Oh that's great. That sounds like a lot of fun. I can't wait to go myself. Jonah, can you put your camera down a little bit lower so we can see your lederhosen? No, no, I'm joking. Oh, yeah. Yeah. He left those at home, ok. Well, let me ask you this. So does this mean that the capstone, global capstone is only open to students who are fluent in German so that they can speak with their partners Or your students in Augsburg because they'll be in the same team with your students. and I have to communicate with them. Therefore, do they have to learn German in order to be able to communicate with their partners at the University of Augsburg? No. So in fact, all of the people that will be working on the project from the University of Augsburg will be fluent English speakers have had years and years of English education and in some ways, arebetter English speakers than me depending on the day. So we're speaking completely in English the entire project takes place in English, Democrats Abroad, Germany is a, you know, they're an arm of the Democratic National Committee, and so their operating language is in English. A lot of the people that work within Democrats Abroad Germany are multilingual; speaking German, and Englishand possibly other languages too, but the project language will be English, no German language is required. And then obviously accommodations are made during the travel component so that students can get around safely without having to worry about language barriers. The German people, by enlarge, are good English speakers. And so especially getting around accommodations, travel and things like that, just having the knowledge of English is sufficient. What about contact with the client? Is this is there ever gonna be any contact with the client or the students in the class going to be kind of left on their own to figure all this out? No, one of the really big advantages of this capstone specifically is that as Democrats Abroad, Germany is completely volunteer led organization. Each one of the different task groups I explaind a little bit earlier, has a point person from the executive committee, of Democrats abroad, Germany who will be active and engaged and working with the student groups the entire way throughout the semester. So making sure that the student groups have access to the information, the data, and the tools that they need in order to complete the tasks as they're set out by those members of Democrats Abroad Germany. In fact, in the kickoff event, all of the students will have an opportunity to hear those specific people present on the different task areas that they would like to have worked on as part of the project. And so students will be able to make a really informed decision after that kickoff event in whenever their self dividing into the different groups to determine what they're going to work on. You know, it has been a couple of years since you graduated and left the United States, Jonah, and so I will translate your language into American or IU language by kickoff event, You mean the first day of class, right? The very first day syllabus day. And because the way these capstones work, or at least mine do, is that, you know, student teams will work on the project, they'll come together, coalesce, integrate into a one compelling, coherent in a research report just as you did. And then they'll make a final presentation which will of course include the German partners. You know, I think you told me Jonah, that we're planning that you will be here on campus for the final edit, at the O'Neill building for the presentation of the final project. But what about the other client and other people involved? How will they participate in this very important final presentation of the capstone report? So the final presentation will be happening hopefully in a hybrid format where either myself or possibly other people associated with the client or the Capstone Project will be there to receive of the report in person. But then we'll also broadcast that over the Zoom platform so that our clients with Democrats Abroad Germany can also take part, ask questions, you know stuff like that. That's great. I really look forward to this. It ought to be interesting, important and a lot of fun speaking of important. Do you have any sense at all, how important is this to the client, this project? I mean, is this just something they say "Sure. Go ahead." Do you have any sense of how the weight that the client puts on this? Yeah. So initially, whenever I approach the client in this case, Democrats abroad. When I approached the leadership around the, the opportunity to do a capstone project, that really jumped out because as I pointed out earlier, they're completely volunteer led. No one that does any work for Democrats abroad or Democrats abroad, Germany gets paid. So the opportunity to add to their capacity and take on some of these big items that are really central and key to the organizations like function. These have been things that have been put on the back burner because they never had the capacity to do it. So these are really vital things. So what the students in this capstone will be working on are items that will be incorporated into the direct function of the organization. So in a way like this work truly, truly matters and it's really important to the client and that's why they're so invested. That's great. Do you have any sense of I don't know if you still remember what your concentration was at SPEA, you call it back then, the O'Neill School. What was what was your concentration? My concentrations were public management and non-profit management. But there's elements of, this capstone that can link well to those two to non-profit management. Plus those two non-profit management included, but also local government management, policy analysis, information systems. There's a lot of overlap between the different areas of O'Neill's concentrations that fit really, really well with this capstone because it involves so many areas of access to the ballot, diversity, equity and inclusion. grassroots organizing, organizational management, organizational strategy, marketing analysis. So opportunities, to use data analytics, anything that you can kind of imagine within that purview of public policy or managing the comments that the O'Neill School really specializes in shows up in one way or another in one of these four categories. So that's where I think it's a really good partner client, also, in terms of the content that you'll be working on. I'm sure that's really helpful too to our listeners, to the students and the O'Neil and IU community. But let me ask, you know, with your own kind of post SPEA, post-O'Neill experience there. Jonah, when your boss, my former protégé and mentee, professor, Dr. Eric Lehmen, when he asks you to do something, requests a task from you, do you ever give them the response and said, you know, Professor Lehmen I'd like to do that, but that didn't fall within my concentration at O'Neill, so I'm not going to do it. How often do you say that to him? Roughly? Never. Never occurs. I guess that's why you still have the job, right? And, uh, and so I guess my point is, you know, I appreciate, I think we all appreciate you kind of pointing out the concentrations that are relevant. But we'd never want to lose sight of at least the original idea and spirit behind the Capstone isn't that it feeds into people's interests and strengths, but almost the obvious it, I mean, my guess is your work experience both in Augsbrug but elsewhere, is that not everything you're requested to do falls in your strength and your interests and saying to your boss, "Oh, I'm sorry, Eric. I don't feel like doing it because it's not my thing." That probably doesn't go well. In Augsburg, Bloomington, or most of the most of the world as we know it, right? Yeah. Because ultimately one of the bigger takeaways of the capstone projects is learning how to work within the team to get through any kind of issues or snags. So being able to deliver a finished product in a professional package, regardless of what you have to do to work through any kind of cultural conflicts, miscommunication conflicts within the teams, That team-building aspect and producing in that environment is a big piece of what the capstone is setting out to achieve. And being able to do that in a multi-disciplinary context across concentrations is fundamental to that. So in a big way, the concentration that you have doesn't necessarily matter for this. And in do you have any kind of confidence or sense that you will be able to bestow the students with guidance, suggestions, skills to work in teams, in this cross-cultural team work experience. Yet, so that's a really good question because I think one of the things that I really bring to this particular capstone in my role working in-between the students in the organization is that we've been leading like so David, Professor Audretsch and I have been leading intercultural group work programs now for over six years. And with the students in this specific context working from Europe and the United States. And we've gotten used to the types of things that come up and how to work with the groups to overcome them. So we really feel confident that we have systems in place and we have controls and checks in place, as well as trainings that can provide the types of tools that you need in order to really succeed in this international capstone. So not that you're just given a set of tasks and then the client and everyone else goes away and just leads you to your devices for four months. Know that there's like there's a structure here and that we're really with you side-by-side the whole way to make sure that you have a successful experience in the capstone. Thanks, Jonah. I really appreciate you sharing that. I guess if it were easy to work in teams, The Beatles would still be together. That's helpful. Two of them are dead. Well, any last kind of thoughts, insights you want to take advantage of it are, are recorded message to, to the students in the O'Neill and IU communities? I would really say that the capstones in general, but this one specifically really give you a great opportunity to put into practice all the things you've been learning during your time at O'Neill that you have the opportunity to take initiative to really attack these capstones in a way where you can provide your full energy, deliver a great finished product, and really kind of set yourself up to understand how these things work in the workplace. If you don't already have that professional experience. And if you do already have some professional experience, this gives you a chance to refine some of those tools. And then this capstone, specifically adding that international component, working with an international client, working with international group members. You know, that's not even to mention the amount of diversity is going to be within your IU student groups. This gives you an opportunity that really will set you apart from other people. So being able to complete a project like this with this much complexity. is going to give you a really big advantage as you as you move on to the next stage of your personal and professional, and academic careers. And this fits perfect for that. And so I really encourage you that if you have any questions, reach out to professor Audretsch, reach out to me. My contact information is available through the O'Neill International Office. But we're really excited about this project and the opportunity for students to make an impact. So if any of this sounds like something that's interesting to you, I really encourage you to go for it.