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
- The Political Science Department makes this document available to students and faculty on its departmental website.
- The Political Science Department encourages its faculty members to review this document in advance of preparing syllabi, in designing assignments, and in advising.
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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