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Professional & Civic Engagement

In partnership with organizations throughout California, the Center for California Studies offers opportunities for engagement for students, professionals, and the broader California community. Events are scheduled throughout the year on university campuses throughout the state.

Envisioning California Speaker Series

The Envisioning California Speaker Series, originally founded by the Center for California Studies as an annual conference in 1989, focusing on policy issues relevant to California policy makers and the public. Our discussions attempt to convene experts, practitioners, advocates, scholars, elected officials, and interested parties, all in an effort to inform the public discussion around issues facing our state. All events are open to the public, and are livestreamed for those unable to attend in person. For information on upcoming events, visit the Center’s homepage. For recordings of prior events, visit our Media Library.

Assembly Speaker Rendon Lecture Series

The Speaker's Lecture Series is produced in partnership with Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. Inspired by the United Kingdom's British Parliament Lecture's, the Speaker's Lecture Series seeks to engage college students and the broader community in discussions about the work of the state legislature and the critical issues facing California.

Legislative Staff Management Institute (LSMI)

The Legislative Staff Management Institute (LSMI) is one of many legislative staff development programs offered annually by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

LSMI is designed specifically for senior legislative staff members (non-partisan and partisan alike) as well as those on their way to such positions. The purpose of LSMI is to develop and enhance leadership and management skills for top and up-and-coming legislative staffers. LSMI curriculum focuses on the practical application of concepts and tools that legislative staff can use to meet the increasingly complex policy and management demands that confront state legislatures throughout the country.


The 2019 LSMI application is closed. Applications for 2020 will open in Spring 2020.


LSMI curriculum emphasizes learning by doing, with practical application of skills for effective communication, team building, negotiation, conflict resolution and creating professionalism based on core values of representative democracy. LSMI faculty are nationally recognized experts with extensive professional experience as well as research-based knowledge.

The week-long Institute is held at the USC State Capital Center, a few blocks from the state Capitol. The curriculum has five major components:

  • Interactive seminars with experience-based learning for eight days
  • Distance learning prior to and after the program through the internet
  • Legislative content specific to current issues and staff
  • Management processes for leadership and personal growth
  • Group activities outside the classroom

Applications will be open in spring 2020