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Rhetoric Program

Academics / Departments & Programs / Political Science / Academics / Courses / Rhetoric Program

Political Science Departmental Rhetoric Program

The Political Science Department emphasizes research, writing, and analysis in all of its courses, and alumni surveys consistently suggest that these skills are some of the most valuable outcomes of our curriculum. To this end, all of our courses require significant analytical work in a variety of forms, as the Political Science Department Writing Program (drafted in 1997) described. However, with the encouragement of the RAC Advisory Board and in conjunction with our recent curriculum revision, the Department has decided to revise and update its Rhetoric Program to reflect pedagogical developments, the new structure of its curriculum, and the more explicit inclusion of oral and visual rhetoric and research literacy in the scope of the University Rhetoric Program. In particular, the Department is undertaking this update of its rhetoric program for the following reasons:

We want to provide clearer guidance for new and current faculty members regarding the kind and number of research and writing assignments expected in courses of different levels, so as to establish more uniform expectations concerning the work load of students at different points in the major.

  • We want to give our majors a clearer overview of the goals of both the Political Science and International Relations major with respect to writing, speaking, and visual rhetoric as well as research literacy. Students will have a clear sense of the expectations for their written work at various points in their major, and a better grasp of the feedback opportunities they will encounter.
  • We want to strengthen existing efforts to integrate elements of oral and visual rhetoric and research literacy into our teaching, so that our majors will be equipped with these tools when they enter the workplace.
  • We want to strengthen existing efforts to integrate the assessment of written, oral, and visual rhetoric and research literacy in our departmental assessment program.

Compliance with the goals of the University Rhetoric Program

The following table describes the typical type, length, frequency, and feedback methods for research and writing assignments in various types of courses.

Courses Types of Assignments Assignments Total Pages Feedback and Assessment
POLS 101 Reflection/Response papers; Policy presentations; Comparative case studies; Written examinations 3 or more 16-20 Prior/Subsequent feedback; Returned drafts; Optional rubrics; Peer evaluation
POLS 110 Brief analytical papers; Written examinations 2 or more 12–16 Prior/Subsequent feedback; Returned drafts; Optional rubrics
POLS 207, 214 Homework assignments; Reflection/Response papers; In-depth case studies; Comparative case studies; Research papers; Presentations 4 or more 16–20 Prior/Subsequent feedback; Returned drafts; Optional rubrics
POLS 240 Reflection/Response papers; Analytical papers; Written examinations 4 or more 12–16 Prior/Subsequent feedback; Returned drafts; Optional rubrics
POLS 251 Homework assignments; Intensive research project; Presentations 3 or more 20–24 Prior/Subsequent feedback; Returned drafts; Optional rubrics; Peer evaluation
POLS 202, 208, 209, 212, 218, 228, 234, 237 Reflection/Response papers; Policy analysis; In-depth case studies; Comparative case studies; Presentations; Written examinations 4 or more 16–20 Prior/Subsequent feedback; Returned drafts; Optional rubrics; Peer evaluation
POLS 276, 277, 279 Intensive research project; Written examinations 2 or more 16–20 Prior/Subsequent feedback; Returned drafts; Optional rubrics
POLS 304, 307, 309, 318, 319, 321, 322 Policy analysis; In-depth case studies; Comparative case studies; Research projects; Policy analysis; Presentations; Written examinations 4 or more 16–20 Prior/Subsequent feedback; Returned drafts; Optional rubrics
POLS 306, 310 Analytical papers; Written examinations 3 or more 10–12 Prior/Subsequent feedback; Returned drafts; Optional rubrics
POLS 380 Reflection/Response papers 3 or more 10–16 Direct feedback
POLS 390 Reflection/Response papers; Annotated bibliographies; Intensive research project 1 or more 12–24 Prior/Subsequent feedback; Returned drafts
POLS 399 Reflection/Response papers; Intensive research project 3 or more 16–24 Prior/Subsequent feedback; Returned drafts
Faculty awareness and development
  1. The Political Science Department makes this document available to students and faculty on its departmental website.
  2. The Political Science Department encourages its faculty members to review this document in advance of preparing syllabi, in designing assignments, and in advising.
Assessment

The Political Science Department sets aside one meeting per year to discuss the department's progress in achieving the goals laid out in this document. The Department reviews its Rhetoric Program every five years in conjunction with the department’s regular assessment practices, which include rubrics assessing the competency of each graduating senior in areas of oral rhetoric, written rhetoric, and research literacy.

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