Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Learning to manage

How do you teach students about organizing (government, e.g.) when you don't have much information? How about a scenario game right out of Charlaine Harris's True Blood series, where vampires come out of the coffin and demand to be recognized as citizens with equal rights?

That's what Robert Farley at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky did. The students were divided into groups (like Department of Justice or Department of Defense) and let loose to come up with policy recommendations.

Each group was tasked with developing an organizational response to the imminent public declaration of the existence of vampires. I gave each group a few general questions, then set them lose. CIA and DoD each received a bit of additional information. CIA had been aware of the existence of vampires essentially from the point of its founding, as had most major foreign intelligence organizations. The CIA even employed vampiric agents from time to time; a CIA vampire killed Salvador Allende. DoD's relationship was even longer and more extensive. In its previous incarnations as the Departments of War and Navy, the US military had employed vampires since the Civil War.

They thought of a lot of the same things I would, like reviewing laws for vampire-specific provisions (including human on vampire hate crimes) and some I didn't, like whether to extend the service requirement qualifying a vampire for retirement benefits (because they live so much longer than humans).

In previous years the policy project focused on Godzilla, zombies, and the aftermath of the movie Independence Day.

Hat tip Isegoria.

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