Student Engagement

An education in Political Communications Beginning in 2020, Shepherd University became one of only a handful of colleges in the nation to offer a multi-disciplinary Political Science degree with a Concentration in Political Communications. The development of this exciting interdisciplinary curriculum will prepare graduates to qualify for career communications positions in policy and political organizations, such as congressional offices, advocacy organizations, government, and journalism.



To view the list of scholarships supported by the Stubblefield Institute, click here.


Political Communication Concentration

In a partnership with the Department of Political Science, Global Studies & Geography of Shepherd University and the Stubblefield Institute, Shepherd now offers a political communication concentration. The Political Communications Concentration is designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of both political institutions and processes and communication theory and techniques.  This program prepares undergraduates to become policy advocates, campaign executives, public relations officers, political consultants and other political professionals whose work is to create, shape, and distribute messages that influence the political process. With the proximity to Washington D.C. students will have the opportunities to have access to accomplished practitioners, a wide array of internship opportunities and produces many after graduation opportunities for career development. Shepherd is proud to be one of less than a dozen universities that offer a political communication concentration. Scholarships are available to incoming political communication concentration students.


 Stubblefield Institute Civility Club

The Stubblefield Institute Civility Club is a student-run club on the Shepherd University campus. The club is made up of students from across-campus, all dedicated to advancing civility and helping the campus community bridge divides.

Through their participation in the club, SICC members advance their civility and leadership skills. The club hosts a number of events for Shepherd students. Past events include voter registration drives, educational events, and bridge-building events such as:

  • Bowling Through Barriers
  • The “Not Your Parents’ Debate” Debate
  • Let’s Get Civil: A Workshop on How to Get Along in a Divided World with Dr. Lindsey Levitan
  • Three Key Findings from the Stubblefield Civility Report and Why They Matter to You: A Discussion with Dr. Slocum-Schaffer

Mission statement:

We’re a group of Shepherd students passionate about advancing civil discourse among Shepherd University students. We promote understanding, civility and civic engagement. We educate the campus community about polarization while promoting constructive problem solving.

We seek to advance the mission of the Stubblefield Institute among students on the Shepherd University campus and to support the Listen Learn Engage initiative.


The faculty advisor for the club is: Dr. Matthew J. Kushin, professor of communication.

If you’re interested in joining the club, please complete our interest form on our RamPulse page.



A Championship Debate Team

The Stubblefield Institute is proud to be a sponsor the Shepherd University Debate and Forensics team, named national champion in Division I team-speech sweepstakes in the 2019 Public Communication Speech and Debate National Championship Tournament in Indianapolis. This group of outstanding undergraduates represent the Institute’s core values of civil political discourse.


Listen. Learn. Engage. Initiative

This exciting campus-wide initiative provides students in non-political science disciplines with learning opportunities in political and civic engagement that are tied to their field of study. It is designed to address the need for students to appreciate that their participation in advocacy and politics is vital to our democracy. In this effort, the Institute is building strong relationships across multiple departments and student organizations.

For more information, please contact the Program Coordinator, Cindy Powers, at


Practitioners in the Classroom

This program brings highly respected political and policy experts into our classrooms across a multi-disciplinary landscape. The Institute works closely with such departments as Nursing, Social Work, Business and Communications to sponsor classroom teach, seminars and field trips to Capitol Hill in the hopes of inspiring them to leadership and advocacy roles in their professions upon graduation.


Student Leadership Academy

Led by Shepherd University Professor, Dr. Samuel Greene and sponsored by CNB Bank, the Stubblefield Institute’s inaugural “Student Leadership Academy,” an all-day program attended by 160 high school students from Maryland and West Virginia, competed in a simulation leadership exercise on March 2, 2020. Building on the success of this inaugural academy, the Institute plans to follow with several more.


Stubblefield Leadership Course

Planning has begun on a four-week, 3-credit 2024 summer leadership class for high school seniors and college students. One week of the course will be in residence at Shepherd, with the other 3 weeks on-line. Scholarships will be available.


Student Internships and Stubblefield Scholarships

Believing that internships are a vital aspect of an undergraduate degree, the Stubblefield Institute is committed to creating hands-on learning experiencing for Shepherd students in issue advocacy organizations, government agencies, newsrooms, political committees and with elected officials’ offices. Stubblefield Scholarships for students who are in need and show great promise in the field of political and public policy communications are also available through a competitive process