"Ray Bliss really believed that was the heart of democracy: Citizens participating in their local governments"

- Dr. John Green, Director of the Bliss Institute




Daily News Update – Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014


The Akron Beacon Journal profiles the Practical Governing course at UA being taught by Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic and Summit County Executive Russ Pry.


UA law students are collaborating with three cities on a new Neighborhood Mediation program thought to be the first of its kind in the area. See coverage in the Akron Beacon Journal, Stow Sentry and Akron.com.


John Green, director of UA’s Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, is quoted in a cincinnati.com story on predictions for a record low voter turnout in the November election. Green is also quoted in this Lancaster Eagle-Gazette story on why some continue to contribute to the Ed FitzGerald campaign despite his poor showing in polls with opponent Gov. John Kasich.


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Don Plusquellic and Russ Pry to team teach UA class

By Stephanie Warsmith and Rick Armon Beacon Journal staff writers

Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic and Summit County Executive Russ Pry have teamed up on numerous projects and now plan to tackle a new challenge: teaching.
The two of them, who have a combined 76 years experience in local politics, will teach a class at the University of Akron this fall dubbed "Practical Governing: The Buck Stops Here." The focus will be on how policies are developed, implemented and managed.
"They will make a great team — they play off each other," said John Green, executive director of UA's Bliss Institute of Applied Politics. "Behind the great stories, there's valuable lessons about how local government really works."
The course will be open to 25 undergraduate juniors and seniors and graduate students from 5:30 to 7:50 p.m. Wednesday nights this fall semester, with the first class on Aug. 27 and the last on Dec. 3.
Plusquellic has been an Akron politician for 40 years, first as a councilman and then as the city's longest serving mayor. Pry has been involved in politics for 36 years, working for Congressman John Seiberling, and then as a Mogadore councilman, Summit County Democratic Party chairman and county executive. Pry has no teaching experience, while Plusquellic previously worked as a long-term substitute in Kenmore High School and other local high schools.
"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," Plusquellic said in a news release.
Pry joked that his only concern about teaching the course is whether he'll ever get to talk or if Plusquellic will dominate the conversation, which he is known to do.
"That will always be the challenge," Pry quipped. "Because he will get up and say, 'Russ will have one minute and then I'll really tell you what goes on.'"
Pry, who received a bachelor's degree in political science from Kent State University, said one of his favorite political science professors was the late George Betts. He said Betts had worked for the U.S. Department of State and was able to bring his real-life experiences into the classroom.
"My hope is that the students who have gotten a lot of different book knowledge will be able to see how that applies in a real-life setting," he said.
That's the hope of Anthony Stratis, a graduate student who dropped another class to enroll in the Plusquellic/ Pry course. He soon hopes to jump into local or state politics in the Youngstown area and thinks the class will offer him valuable insight.
"I want to run very soon," said Stratis, 23, who is from Canfield. "It's a priceless opportunity to take a class like this."
Green said if the course goes well, he'd like to see it be one occasionally or permanently added to the Bliss Institute's curriculum.
Plusquellic and Pry, who will have a graduate student assisting with their class, won't be paid for teaching. Instead, the approximately $6,000 they would have received will be donated to the Plusquellic Foundation, a fund that has provided scholarships to numerous Akron residents to attend UA.

For more information and pictures please follow this link to view the article: http://www. ohio. com/news/break-news/don-plusquelli c-and-russ-pry-to-team-teach-ua-class-1.514724

Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics | University of Akron, Olin Hall 325 phone 330.972.5182 | fax 330.972.5476

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