The Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM)

The Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM)

Recognized by The New York Times as "The West Point of the Political Wars," The Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) at The George Washington University [] in Washington, D.C., offers graduate programs in political management, legislative affairs, strategic public relations, and PAC management, as well as a certificate in community advocacy for not-for-profit organizations and international programs in Latin America and Europe.

The GSPM seeks to improve politics and management by educating its students and professionals about the tools, principles, and values of participatory democracy and institutional excellence, preparing them for careers as ethical and effective advocates, leaders and communicators at the international, national, and local levels. The GSPM has no political party affiliation and encourages a dialogue amongst students.

Each year, scores of GSPM students plan for careers in professional politics, legislative affairs and strategic public relations by pursuing one of three master’s degrees or two graduate certificates. GSPM’s alumni work in Congress, state legislatures, lobbying firms, public relations agencies, campaign consultancies, trade associations, and not-for-profit causes. Over it's history, the GSPM has constructed an innovative and highly regarded curriculum based on applied theory and knowledge. GSPM faculty work in the field and are experts in what they do. Its prestigious Council of American Politics is composed of top leadership from the major political parties, business, government and not-for-profit enterprise.

=HISTORY=Founded in 1986, the GSPM traces its intellectual roots back to the first President of the United States. In his Last Will and Testament

Neil Fabricant

The actual history of the GSPM began when Fabricant, a lawyer from New York City and former Legislative Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, convinced the New York State Board of Regents that a school of professional politics – not political science, not public policy, not public administration – was necessary and desirable. He realized that a new profession of politics was coming into being and that a dedicated school could nurture that development and could improve politics in the process. Fabricant retired from the school in 1995.

Fabricant’s creative vision led to the founding of The Graduate School of Political Management, which began classes in September of 1987 with 24 students. The School operated as an independent graduate school chartered by the New York State Board of Regents and was located on the Manhattan campus of Baruch College.

F. Christopher Arterton

Dr. Arterton became the GSPM’s Founding Dean in 1987.

Before joining the GSPM, Dr. Arterton was a professor at Yale University for ten years, teaching in both the Political Science Department and in the School of Organization and Management. From 1975 to 1988, he also played an active role at The Institute of Politics at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, serving on five faculty study groups. Dr. Arterton is a graduate of Trinity College, holds an M.A. in International Relations from American University, and received his Ph.D. in Political Science from M.I.T. in 1974.

Dr. Arterton is an expert on the news media and communications technology, political strategy and tactics, public opinion, and ethics and leadership in politics. He has written four books on these topics. His most recent are The Electronic Commonwealth (co-authored with Jeffrey Abramson and Gary Orren), published by Basic Books, and Teledemocracy: Can Technology Protect Democracy?, published by Sage Publications.

From 1979 to 1990 Dr. Arterton was a consultant to Newsweek magazine on polling and campaign coverage, and in 1986 and 1987 he consulted with The Gallup Organization on opinion surveys. He has assisted academics in other nations to develop their own curricula in democratic politics, drawing upon the GSPM experience. Dr. Arterton has been a polling consultant for local and statewide political campaigns, has written widely on party rules and conventions, and has served on three national party rules commissions for the National Democratic Convention.

"Learning political skills in a university setting allows sharing of knowledge across party lines, facilitates respect and cordiality between those who disagree politically, and creates a greater sense of professionalism among those who work in politics,” said Arterton.

He adds, “The political world used to be dominated by schmoozing and back-slapping but now 'what you know' has become as important as 'who you know.' Studying politics systematically can accelerate the gains of experience. And success in politics increasingly depends on the acquisition of applied knowledge taught by people who are in or have been in the trenches."

Move to DC

Operating as an independent graduate school chartered by the New York Board of Regents, the school was housed at the Manhattan campus of Baruch College. Classes began in September of 1987 with 24 students. In September of 1991 the GSPM moved to the campus of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. In July of 1995, the university acquired the school and made it a component of its Columbian School of Arts and Sciences.

On January 1, 2006, the GSPM became part of the College of Professional Studies. Today, the GSPM is the leading institution for the study and teaching of political management and legislative affairs in the United States and internationally. In 2007, it launched a Master’s Degree in Strategic Public Relations to address the increasing convergence of politics and organizational communications.

Over its history, the GSPM has constructed an innovative and highly regarded curriculum, recruited a specialized faculty that includes current as well as former political consultants, lobbyists, pollsters and public relations experts from both sides of the political spectrum. Students have graduated to become elected officials, Congressional speechwriters, White House operatives, campaign managers, legislative aides, PAC managers, and public relations executives.

=NOTABLE ALUMNI=GSPM graduates can be found working in national and local politics across the country. Recent notable alumni include:

Janelle Carter, Senior Advisor and Speechwriter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.Anthony Coley, Director of Communications, State of New Jersey.Mo Elleithee, Senior Spokesperson, Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign.John Olszewski, Maryland House of Delegates, 6th District.Scott Reiter, Managing Director, Realtors Political Action Committee of the National Association of Realtors.Brian Schoeneman, Executive Director, American Maritime Congress.Joseph Smith, St. Lucie County Commissioner, District 1, Florida.Thomas Worrall, Co-founder, Whitmer & Worrall, Government Relations and Strategic Consulting.

From speech writers to public officials, check out our notable alumni here. []

=20th ANNIVERSARY=On July 27-28, 2007, GSPM alumni, students, faculty, staff, and distinguished guests gathered to celebrate the school's 20 years of outstanding accomplishments. The celebration concluded with graduation and a commencement address from Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) followed by a gala dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel with a keynote address by Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico.

Senator Jim WebbSenator Webb spoke about his United States Senate campaign and the issues facing the American government and people. He advised graduates to build on their experience at GSPM to change "tomorrow's politics."

He said, “We have been the most creative political society on earth because we have been blessed to be part of a structure that encourages vigorous debate. My only request to all of you is to join in that debate honorably, to bring your beliefs to the stage with powerful, substantive argument, and to win or lose based on the merits of your views, as finally measured by the American people."Webb added, “Here at the GSPM, you have classes with Democrats and Republicans taught by Democrats and Republicans. As a Democrat who used to be a Republican who used to be a Democrat I feel right at home. As graduates of the West Point of Politics, your education has focused on political strategy and tactics. I ask that you apply the lessons of Sun Tzu and Machiavelli very carefully and strive for political leadership with a backbone and a conscience.”

Vicente FoxAt the gala celebration, President Fox told the students they can find happiness through public service. "There is a need for renewal. There is a need for a revolution of hope. There is need for change. The world can do much better," he said. "You have a great opportunity to be in a great university. You have to go out from here to change the world."

=DEGREE AND CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS=GSPM’s graduate degree and certificate programs address the core principles and practices of political management, legislative affairs and public relations. They also address sub-sets such as grassroots advocacy and PAC management.

Master’s Degree in Political Management

GSPM’s core academic program teaches a broad base of political management skills in eight areas: lobbying, campaign management, issues management, fundraising, corporate and trade association public affairs, polling and strategic research, public policy and politics, and political leadership. For more information on this program track click here. []

Master’s Degree in Legislative Affairs

Provides the knowledge necessary to work in the national policy-making arena. Students examine the legislative process by integrating theory and practice. Areas of study include: political leaders and parties, congressional committees, campaigns and elections, interest groups, public opinion, media and public affairs, national security and foreign affairs, energy and environmental policy, and presidential relations.For more information on this program track click here. []

Master’s Degree in Strategic Public Relations and Graduate Certificate in Public Relations

The school’s newest graduate program provides advanced public relations knowledge in several areas: principles and practices, media relations, writing, management, public opinion research, ethics, law, measurement and evaluation. Students can earn a master’s degree or graduate certificate while mastering core skills and the practical application of strategic thinking. For more information on this program track click here. []

Graduate Certificate in PACs and Political Management

Designed to give professional Political Action Committee (PAC) managers the fundamental skills to effectively run their organization's political action committee and successfully tackle the complex realities of political finance and legislative action. For more information on this program track click here. []

Certificate in Community Advocacy for Non-Profit Organizations

This certificate prepares students to become leaders of community activism or change agents for public policy. It focuses on the re-emergence of grassroots mobilization as a key component of political and social change. For more information on this program track click here. []

=COUNCIL ON AMERICAN POLITICS=The Council’s members are leaders in politics, legislative affairs, business and public relations from across the nation. They advise and counsel the GSPM on its growth and enrichment. They also take part in classes as visiting lecturers and they serve as speakers and panelists in GSPM conferences, workshops and seminars. In 2008, the Council selected two new co-chairs, Jack Gerard, President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, and Howard Paster, former Chairman and CEO of Hill and Knowlton of WPP Public Relations and former head of Congressional Relations for the Clinton White House. Past chairs have included Tony Coelho, former whip of the House of Representatives and chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Frank Fahrenkopf, former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Of the Council, Dean Arterton says, it "is a talented group of politicos, lawyers, and other highly regarded members of the community whose advice and counsel I am grateful to receive and rely upon for the continued growth and success of the GSPM."

The full list includes:

Darius Anderson, Founder and CEO, Platinum Advisors

Douglas Bailey, Ph.D., President and CEO,

Thomas L. Buckmaster, President, Honeywell Corp.

Tucker Carlson, MSNBC

The Honorable Tony Coelho

Richard H. Davis, Davis Manafort

The Honorable Robert Detore, AVA Properties

Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., Esq., President and CEO, American Gaming Association (Bio can be retrieved from

The Honorable Vic Fazio, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

L. Enrique Garcia, Presidente, Corporacion Andina de Fomento

Jack N. Gerard, President and CEO, American Chemistry Council

The Honorable Dan Glickman, President and CEO, Motion Picture Association of America

Ed Goeas, President and CEO, The Tarrance Group

Joseph G. Hall, Vice President, Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Ron Kaufman, Senior Managing Partner, The Dutko Group, Inc. (Bio can be retrieved here)

Peter Kelly, Principal, Updike Kelly & Spellacy

Maureen Kindel, Rose & Kindel

The Honorable Tom C. Korologos

Margery Kraus, President and CEO, APCO Worldwide

Celinda Lake, President, Lake Research Partners

Laurence F. Lane, Genesis HealthCare

Dr. Thomas Mackell, Jr., Director, National Investment Managers, Inc.

Ellen Malcolm, Founder and President, EMILY's List

The Honorable Charles T. Manatt, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Robert M. McGlotten, Partner, McGlotten & Jarvis

Ken Mehlman, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

David A. Norcross, Esq., Partner, Blank Rome Comisky & McCauley LLP (Resume can be retrieved at

Brian J. O'Dwyer, Esq., Partner, O'Dwyer & Bernstien

Jack L. Oliver, Chairman, Bryan Cave Strategies, LLC

Emilio Pardo, Chief Brand Officer, AARP Services, Inc.

Howard Paster, WPP

Bill Press, The Bill Press Show

Gerald Rafshoon

David K. Rehr, President and CEO, National Association of Broadcasters

Garry South

Andy Spahn, President & Founder, Andy Spahn & Associates

Rick Sullivan, The Sullivan Companies

W. Dennis Thomas

The Honorable Vin Weber, Managing Partner, Clark & Weinstock

The Honorable Rick White

Dr. Richard B. Wirthlin

=INSTITUTE FOR POLITICS, DEMOCRACT & THE INTERNET(IPDI)=The Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet (IPDI) promotes the use of the Internet and new communication technologies in politics and public relations with the goal of enhancing democratic values, encouraging citizen participation and improving governance at home and abroad.

IPDI conducts research on technology trends and issues and publishes studies and guidelines that instruct candidates, public officials, activists and others how to use new communication tools. Recent publications look at poli-fluentials, constituent relationship management, political blogs, online social networks, online fundraising, and political web sites.

IPDI hosts an annual Politics Online Conference and monthly Ideas Series.

To learn more about IPDI click here. []

=LATIN AMERICAN PROGRAM=GSPM professors and lecturers teach lessons learned through U.S. politics and governance to public officials and elected leaders in Europe and Latin America. The Latin American Project focuses on campaign management while the Governance Program focused on applied solutions in dealing with common issues in democracy. In recent years the Latin American Program has convened seminars and conferences in Europe on a wide range of topics related to political management, legislative affairs, and public relations.

=YOUNG VOTER STRATEGIES AND ROCK THE VOTE=Originally a project of The Graduate School of Political Management, Young Voter Strategies is considered the leading source for opinion polling, tactical research, and demographic analyses of young voters, working to mobilize the 18-to-30-year-old electorate and educate the public, candidates, and consultants on ways to engage young voters. In 2007, Young Voter Strategies combined operations with Rock the Vote and launched a campaign to register two million young voters in 2008.

=SEMESTER IN WASHINGTON=Semester In Washington at The George Washington University offers students a fresh "behind the scenes" look at politics and government -- a view of our nation's capital that most will never see.

Exciting internships in politics, government and the media, networking events that put you in contact with the people at the center of politics and government, and academic credit for classroom study combine to bring to life a truly unique college experience! The program is available for either undergraduate or graduate credit.

Accept the challenge! To learn more, click here. []

External links

* [ Official GSPM Website]
* [ Official University Website]
* [ Rock the Vote]

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