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Campaign Ethics MOOC

Find out "How to Run an Ethical Campaign--and Win!" with an online short course from the Ethics Center.

This free two-hour class is perfect for candidates, campaign managers, political consultants, and campaign volunteers.

Sorry! The enrollment period is currently closed. Please check back soon.

While public service is a noble calling, the process of “getting there” is not always so noble. Lack of transparency, scripted debates, pay-for-play and vitriolic communications are just a few examples of the erosion of ethics in political campaigns.  You may even hear some candidates and consultants argue that shady dealing is necessary if you’re going to get elected.

We believe that ethical campaigning can actually help you win, and we have a free, short online course to show you how.

Instructor Hana Callaghan
Hana Callaghan

Director of Government Ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University Hana Callaghan has a background in law, government, and politics. She was a senior congressional aide, political consultant managing statewide political campaigns, and associate executive director of the Santa Clara County Bar Association, where she had oversight of continuing legal education programs.


Special guest instructors are:
  • Tom Campbell, dean of Chapman University School of Law and former five-term Republican United States Congressman from California's 12th and 15th districts. He also served as a member of the California State Senate.
  • Anna Eshoo, U.S. Representative for California's 18th Congressional District, serving in Congress since 1993.
  • Steve Glazer, California State Senator representing the 7th District. Prior to being elected to the Senate, he was the mayor of Orinda, and campaign manager for California Governor Jerry Brown.
  • Kirk Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.
  • Joe Simitian, Santa Clara County Supervisor, has served at almost every level of government including school board, city council, and California State Assembly and Senate.
  • JoAnne Speers, professor at USF and the former executive director of the Institute for Local Government.
  • Richard Temple, co-founder of political consulting firm McNally Temple Associates, Inc.
The course covers:
  1. What Are Campaign Ethics?
  2. Crafting the Campaign Message 
  3. Attacks, Counter-Attacks, and Dirty Tricks
  4. Substantive, Transparent, and Consistent Commitments
  5. Managing Donor Expectations
  6. Special Dilemmas Facing Incumbents
  7. Building the Ethical Campaign Organization
  8. How to Win When You Run an Ethical Campaign

Each module will contain a brief lecture, an interview with a political expert, and a short interactive case study that will allow you to weigh in on whether a given fact pattern is ethical (green light), unethical (red light), or possibly ethical with caution (yellow light).

When to Take the Course

The enrollment period is currently closed. Please check back soon for another opportunity to enroll.

How Much Time to Allow

The course takes about two hours to complete.

Upon Completion

When you finish the course you will receive a letter of completion and a digital badge evidencing your participation. You may use the badge on your website and/or campaign materials.

What Students Are Saying

"It has been such a pleasure to have taken your online Campaign Ethics MOOC. What an unexpectedly engaging class. You have put together a process that works well for those of us who prefer a classroom experience as well as those who enjoy the online methods. As one who is running for office again, the segments were informative from the academic side with very practical advice from respected politicians. The case studies were illustrative of common dilemmas. The lecturettes set context, and the interviews with the politicians provided real-world applications. Very effective. What made the process doubly interesting were feedback threads on each of the case studies. These were from all over the world, and represented a variety of viewpoints different from our system here in the US. Very informative. This whole process reaffirmed my belief that ethics and politics can march together to create successful campaigns. It is particularly important at this time, when our national political ‘media show’ is such a travesty of what I believe politics could and should represent. Thank you for your dedication to Ethics, and helping us all understand the micro and macro issues."
Tara Martin-Milius


Contact instructor Hana Callaghan for more information.