Summit County leaders to teach new political science course


The University of Akron is offering a new class called, “Practical Governing: The Buck Stops Here,” covering the major issues facing local governments. The course will be team taught by Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic and Summit County Executive Russ Pry, who bring many decades of practical experience to the classroom.

The course is in keeping with the “applied politics” mission of the University’s Bliss Institute, bringing seasoned practitioners of government and politics of all political persuasions into the classroom. The focus will be on how policies are developed, implemented, and managed.

“There is no better teacher than experience,” noted Plusquellic. “After working in city hall for over 40 years, as a councilperson and then as mayor, I think I can give good insight into the way government is run — through real situations that I’ve lived through. Russ and I can talk about things that have happened to us throughout our tenure as politicians; true teaching moments that you cannot possibly read about in textbooks.”

“Having worked for Congressman John Seiberling, served as a village councilperson, an officer for a local political party, and the county executive for the last seven years, I look forward to sharing my experiences and lessons with a new generation of students,” said Pry. “Over the years, Don and I have had the opportunity to jointly address various groups about politics and governing. The students in this class will learn from a spirited discussion and debate.”

“This course is a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn how local government really works,” said Bliss Institute Director John Green, “there is no substitute for real world experience.”

Plusquellic and Pry will teach the course without compensation. In lieu of payment, The University of Akron will make a donation in an amount equal to Plusquellic/Pry’s earnings, to the Plusquellic Foundation, a fund that has provided tuition scholarships to numerous Akron residents to attend the University of Akron. 

The 3 credit hour course will be taught on Wednesday nights and is open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students in political science and public administration, and to other students with permission. The class is limited to 25 students. (For more information about enrolling,  contact the Bliss Institute at 330-972-5182). To learn more, visit the Bliss Institute online.

Also coming up this fall:

  • Dr. John Green and political consultant Gerald Austin will teach Campaign Battleground, a special course that follows the 2014 elections in real time. The class will focus on the Ohio gubernatorial race and control of the U.S. Senate. In addition to discussion and guest speakers, the class will travel to Kentucky right before Election Day to observe the key race between Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic opponent Alison Grimes. The class is open to undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students. (Contact Janet Bolois at 330-972-5182 for details on enrollment.)
  • The Bliss Institute will co-sponsor a series of speakers with the Akron Press Club. Invited speakers include Gov. John KasichConnie Pillich, Democratic candidate for state treasurer; David Pepper, Democratic candidate for state attorney general; and Attorney General Mike DeWine. Visit the Akron Press Club online for details.
  • The Bliss Institute will sponsor its traditional recap of the Ohio gubernatorial campaign. Tentatively scheduled for Nov. 18, the program will include officials from the 2014 Democratic and Republican campaigns. The program is open to the University community and the public.

Media contact: Eileen Korey, 330-972-8589 or


John Green


Don Plusquellic


Russell Pry