GeoCivics Educators' Institute: The Politics and Geographies of America’s Electoral System

A Summer 2022 Social Studies Education Professional Renewal Course

The GeoCivics Educators’ Institute provides in-depth, hands-on exposure to historical analysis, spatial thinking, and instructional techniques focused on the challenges of creating fair electoral districts and ensuring fair elections. The sessions include timely professional development focused on misunderstood aspects of presidential electoral policy and legal history. These are topics germane to civics and geography curricula, and their importance has been highlighted by events since the 2020 election. Teacher participants will gain insight into how political scientists, geographers, mathematicians, and public officials engage in conversation about representation in a modern democratic republic. As often as possible, we will use Colorado as a case study. The process of drawing electoral districts here is a gateway for discussing geography, demographics, and political systems. It’s also an opportunity to introduce secondary social studies students to the importance of geospatial technology and GIS. The focus is on helping teachers consider what it means to teach about the electoral process, as well as to solicit their ideas for ways to make the existing GeoCivics resource at UCCS useful through the 2030 census and redistricting cycle.

This course/institute will use content lectures, panel discussions with electoral officials, group discussions about teaching political issues using data, and hands-on activities to reinforce teachers’ understanding of these concepts. Activities will demonstrate a data-driven, inquiry approach, using GIS tools for visualizing and analyzing redistricting controversies. After the institute, participants will submit two complete lesson plans showing how these analytical skills and controversial topics can be brought into secondary classrooms. Following editing, these lesson plans will be posted to the Hewit Institute webpage for public access.

This course is graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory.


  • Eligibility

    This course is tied to attendance at the GeoCivics Educators' Institute.

    Graduate Students

    UNC Degree-Seeking Students

    Current UNC graduate students can register for this course.

    Non-Degree-Seeking Students

    Non-degree-seeking graduate status refers to a student who has earned at least a bachelor's degree and who either:

    • Has applied to UNC Graduate School and not yet been admitted or;
    • Wishes to take this graduate class but not pursue a degree.

    Please note, as a non-degree seeking student, you are not eligible for federal financial aid.

    Note: UNC student immunization policies will apply to your enrollment. Once you register, you will need to submit your COVID vaccination information or an exemption. See the current UNC vaccination policy and directions.

  • Register

    Use CRN: 40568

    Follow the instructions in the PDF below to register.

    • You will use the CRN (Course Registration Number) listed above when you register in Ursa.
    • Step 1 of this process can take up to 1-3 days turnaround time, so we recommend you start the process in advance of the "add/register by" deadline posted on this page.

    Directions for course registration and activation

  • Contact Us

    Phil Klein

    UNC Extended Campus

  • Once You Register

    Billing and Payment for Your Course

    Tuition for this course is listed in the Course Basics box on this page. Any course materials costs (textbooks, digital access, etc.) would be a separate or additional expense.

    Billing notification will be sent to your Bearmail (student email) account when your bill is ready. If you have not activated your Bearmail, directions are in the directions for course registration and activation.

    • Please pay your bill by the due date listed on your eBill to avoid service charges.
    • To view or pay your bill, log into Ursa and go to the Financial tab. You will not receive a bill in the mail; UNC has an eBill system.
    • Further instructions for finding and paying your bill are available on the UNC Bursar's website.

    Dropping and Withdrawing

    If you wish to drop or withdraw from the course, you must do so on or before the deadline dates listed in the Course Basics box.

    • If you are registered for any other courses in the same academic term, you can drop or withdraw within your Ursa account.
    • If this is your only course this term, please contact the Office of the Registrar at or 970-351-4862.

    It is your responsibility to know the drop and withdrawal deadlines and procedures.