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In his first post-election career move, Vice President Al Gore '69 will teach at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism this semester.
Gore will serve as a visiting professor, teaching a non-credit course entitled "Covering National Affairs in the Information Age" with Columbia professors Richard Wald and Craig Wolff. He is expected to lecture six to eight times over the course of the spring semester, and may continue teaching through the fall.
Before his political career, Gore worked as a reporter for The Tennessean, a daily newspaper in Nashville. But the associate dean for academic affairs at Columbia's school of journalism said Gore's experience with public policy would be his most valuable asset.
"This is a great opportunity for students, because he's spent time in the machinery of government and policy-making," said David A. Klatell. "He's actually worked in it and knows what actors are behind the scenes affecting policy."
Klatell said Gore's insights into the policy world will help train journalism students on how to cover national affairs effectively.
"Learning how he sees issues, and knowing who they should be talking to, is really a benefit to young journalists," Klatell said.
While Gore's future political plans are still unclear, Klatell speculated that Gore's lifetime interest in journalism brought him out of the government and policy world.
"He has a real interest in journalism and how issues are covered," Klatell said. "If he wanted to go somewhere that's on the front end of policy, he could have gone to the K-School [the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard]."
Kennedy School of Government (KSG) officials would not comment on whether they attempted to recruit Gore to teach in Cambridge this spring. A Gore spokesperson also would not comment on whether the Kennedy School approached him.
"It is both Harvard and Kennedy School policy not to discuss people to whom we have or have not made offers, or people who have or have not applied for positions," said KSG Academic Dean Frederick Schauer.
But Roderick MacFarquhar, chair of the undergraduate government department, said he did not attempt to recruit Gore to teach this spring, and was not asked to by any of his department colleagues.
"Mr. Gore's experience over the past many years suggest to me that if he were to come to Harvard to teach, his obvious home would be a policy school like the KSG," MacFarquhar said.
And while Schauer would not comment specifically on Gore, he said that the White House changeover every four years gives KSG an opportunity to revitalize its ranks.
"Whenever there is a change in administration, we engage in a broad canvas in hopes of renewing our stock of people with policy experience," he said.
In addition to his duties at Columbia, Gore will be teaching a course on family and community building at Fisk University and Middle Tennessee State University, while giving a series of lectures at community colleges throughout Tennessee.
Gore will also conduct research at the University of California at Los Angeles, in hopes of combining fields such as education, health and public policy into a teaching curriculum designed to strengthen communities and families.
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