CCOG for PS 106 archive revision 106

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Effective Term:
Spring 2014

Course Number:
PS 106
Course Title:
Citizenship & Engagement: Problems in U.S. Politics
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces problems in U.S. politics including issues relating to citizenship and controversial topics of public policy concern. Promotes respect for diverse perspectives as it provides background information current and prospective U.S. citizens will find helpful to the successful completion of a wide range of future courses in Political Science. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Serves to prepare non-citizens to successfully pass the U.S. Citizenship Test. Prepares both 
current and future citizens to develop a knowledge base and academic skills helpful to more 
successfully complete future courses in Political Science as a discipline. Students should consult 
with a PCC Academic Advisor and/or other institutions regarding transfer and application of credits to other institutions. 

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion students should be able to:

1. Communicate how U.S. political history, culture, and demographic changes have impacted 
immigration policies over time and how these policies impact us today. 
2. Examine national, state, and local government relations in the U.S., analyzing policymaking 
processes as these impact issues ranging from gender to the treatment of ethnic minorities. 
3. Communicate with improved literacy regarding political concepts and vocabulary, using skills helpful also to those who desire to take the U.S. Citizenship Test in both written and oral formats. 
4. Reason qualitatively regarding selected policy issues as these may be applied to a wide range of subfields within the discipline of Political Science as well as to future courses in these subfields. 
5. Examine cultural and global interactions, including the changing technological environment, as these affect life in the U.S. regarding issues like wealth disparity and environmental sustainability. 
6. Think critically about the ethical and social requirements of responsible citizenship, showing respect for disagreement while evaluating how political systems and the policies produced by them affect the diverse social world in which we live.

Course Activities and Design

This course will be taught by instructors who have at least an M.A. degree in Political Science, 
Politics, or International Relations. It may be conducted through combinations of methods and 
tools which may include lectures, classroom discussions, group presentations, texts and 
supplementary readings, films, guest speakers, and other classroom aids at the discretion of the 
each individual instructor.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Different techniques may be used for assessment which will be determined by the individual 
instructor. These may include: 
* Multiple choice exams. (emphasized in the first 5 weeks) 
* Oral exams. (emphasized in the first 5 weeks) 
* Short written essays or outlines. (appropriate throughout the course) 
* Group discussions & projects. (emphasized in the last 5 weeks) 
* Student demonstrations or presentations. (emphasized in the last 5 weeks) 

Teaching methods in this course will include lecture, films, and occasional guests and forays beyond the classroom to familiarize students with resources on campus and/or locations off-campus which may bring to life to what may be a political focus for the day (like a trip to Portland City Hall or the State Legislature, or a visit to the Multnomah County Justice Center or a School Board Meeting). In every class session there will be time for small group discussion and shared learning opportunities.

Instructional materials will incorporate modest amounts of relatively easy reading. In the first half of the course, materials like the Citizenship Class Manual (Multnomah County Library, Library Outreach Services, January, 2013) might be used as well as other materials utilized by Sara Packer and Shelley McIntyre for PCC Volunteer Literacy Tutoring like their Citizenship Manual and Learn About the United States (produced by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services). Materials for the second half of the course will include short readings relating to controversial issues (gleaned from newspaper articles or other sources involving appropriate reading skills levels). Assessments used to measure outcomes may include Multiple Choice exams (such as are commonly used with U.S. Government Citizenship Tests), the evaluation of short written work (both 
take-home and in-class), evaluations of oral interviews and presentations (by the individual or 
group), group evaluations of contributions by each member of a group by their peers, and class attendance and participation scores from the instructor. 
Students will be expected to write short paragraphs in the context of identifying vocabulary items and key concepts associated with U.S. politics, outlines of their opinions regarding problems connected to U.S. politics, and expressions of their opinions. Writing may also involve composing short essays centered on a main idea with supportive information. Grammatical errors need not be penalized in evaluating written work. 

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Five Weeks developing skills useful for U.S. Citizenship as these relate to learning about 
 Types of Citizenship & Waves of Immigration 
 Major Events in U.S. History as it has evolved over time 
 The Three Branches of U.S. Government 
 Civil Liberties & Freedom of Expression 
 Civil Rights & Movements for Change 
 Political Concepts & Vocabulary needed for Political Literacy 
Five Weeks developing skills useful for future academic work in Political Science relating to 
controversial topics of public concern (at Instructor Discretion) associated with Political Science 
subfield areas of study including (but not limited to): 
 U.S. Government: National, State, & Local Levels 
 Political Theory & Contemporary Ideologies 
 Comparative Politics & Systems of Government 
 International Relations & Globalization 
 Political Culture & Political Socialization