New Advocacy Program Can Make a Difference

From Inside USD -- Got a great cause? Do you want to make a difference?

Supporters of environmental, social service and other public policy issues can learn to be successful advocates at the legislative level through a new certificate program offered this fall by the University of San Diego’s Division of Professional and Continuing Education, and done in collaboration with USD’s Institute for Nonprofit Education and Research.

The advocacy program enables participants to gain a broad knowledge of legislative advocacy and lobbying laws, political systems and practical skills that can be put to use immediately to champion causes and improve campaign success.

Courses will be taught by faculty who are accomplished and experienced USD professors and nonprofit industry practitioners with expertise in law, legislation, public speaking and coaching.

Instructors include Ben McCue, conservation director of WILDCOAST, an international conservation organization based out of San Diego that protects coastal ecosystems and wildlife. In 2010, he directed the successful advocacy campaign to pass SB 167, California legislation to reduce the flow of discarded car tires into sensitive ecosystems.

“Many nonprofit managers do not know they can lobby legislature to change public policy,” he said. “The advocacy program fills a real need to educate nonprofit leaders to understand what they can do and how to do it.”

“This program thoroughly examines what you need to know and provides you with the solid foundation you will need to lead a cause and create positive change,” said Jason Lemon, dean of USD’s Division of Professional and Continuing Education.

Completion of the certificate program includes four core courses and two or three electives. Each course can be completed in one month and the entire program can be completed in two semesters. Courses may be taken individually, as well as for completion of the certificate.

The first course, “Advocacy for Change,” begins Tuesday, Sept. 4. The cost is $610 for the 2-unit course. All other 1-unit courses are $305. For more information and to register go to, email or call (619) 260-4585.

— Liz Harman