Student Associate Program

Develop a skill that can be applied to nearly any industry: the ability to get people to connect and problem solve.

How to Apply

Application Deadlines

Full consideration is given to applicants who meet the given deadline. Applications received after the deadline will be reviewed as space within the program allows.

Fall Semester April 6
Spring Semester October 15
Curriculum Requirements


During your first semester, you will be required to attend a one-day retreat. This retreat gives students hands-on experience early in the semester. It also helps students get to know senior associates, who provide mentorship throughout the program. The retreat occurs on a Saturday within the first few weeks of the semester.


SPCM 408: Applied Deliberative Techniques

In this course, students will learn about an alternative to adversarial politics: deliberation. In addition to learning about the deliberative process, students will gain practical skills for facilitation, framing conversations, and reporting on events.


SPCM majors
3 credits toward SPCM elective

Non-SPCM majors
3 credits toward general elective

SPCM 486: Practicum

After completing SPCM 408, students continue the program as a Senior Associate. Students complete SPCM 486 practicum hours by facilitating community events and serving on one of our teams. Each team works on a piece of the deliberative process including issue research, event planning, data analysis, and public relations.

The practicum course looks similar to an internship or an independent study credit. There may be times when students attend the 408 class for event-specific training. However, most of the time students are completing tasks on their own, in teams, or at events.

SPCM majors
Up to 3 credits toward SPCM electives
After that, 18 credits can count toward general electives

Non-SPCM majors
No limit on credits
All credits count as general elective

Questions about the course requirements? Contact us.


In general, the CPD is seeking students that are committed to improving how our community addresses tough problems and interested in public policy issues, especially from a local perspective. Students must be comfortable speaking in front of groups and working with diverse audiences. Students need to be self-starters and able to work independently because the assignments they complete for the CPD will require the students to work outside of class and manage the completion of their practicum hours. Since the CPD serves as an impartial resource, students must also feel comfortable serving a neutral role and not let their own opinions and views dominate discussions.

Additional experience in data analysis, event planning, social media, marketing, and photography are also desired, but not required, skills.

Students will be selected based on a variety of criteria, including:

  • Current cumulative grade point average
  • Student area of interest
  • Ability to demonstrate the desired qualifications
  • Experience with meeting facilitation, local or state government, and/or community organizations (Optional)
  • Faculty or Community References
Application Materials

Unofficial Transcript

When you submit your application, you will be asked to attach your unofficial transcript. There is no fee to download your unofficial transcript.

To download your unofficial transcript:

  1. Login to RamWeb.
  2. Click on Menu, select Records, select Transcripts.
  3. Select Unofficial Transcript.
  4. Click Print.
  5. In the Print Dialogue, change the printer Destination to Save as PDF.
  6. Click Save.

Statement of Interest

Write a statement (limit to 1-2 pages) that includes:

  • Why you’re interested in joining the CPD
  • Experience within community organizations (Government, CSU, Nonprofit, etc.)
  • Skills you can bring to the program


  • From faculty or community members