critical thinking skills learning techniques H u m a n i t i e s

critical thinking skills learning techniques H u m a n i t i e s

  • COURSE DESCRIPTION:  This course is designed to provide an introductory, comprehensive overview of U.S. government at the national level. Students will focus on issues of power, conflict, justice, and governance, and, in particular, on constitutional principles, political institutions, both formal and informal. Core topics include contemporary trends and problems in political behavior, political processes, state-society relationships, national and local politics, elections, and constitutional provisions. In investigating foreign policies and issues of security, comparative politics will be introduced, thus providing a broad description of political systems, political actors and their role and behavior in the international arena. Analytic concepts such as the nature of justice and the concept of liberty will be intermingled in our discussions.Core questions answered include: What do political scientists do? What is political power and how concentrated is it in the United States? How resistant to change is the United States Constitution, relative to other national constitutions? What influences some people to be political leaders and others to be political spectators? Why are presidents elected by the Electoral College rather than direct popular vote? Can either the Democrats or the Republicans claim to be the majority party in the United States today? Why do presidents tend to be more successful in foreign policy than domestic policy? Why do the executive and legislative branches of government seem to be constantly mired in “gridlock?” Just how unusual was the 2000 Supreme Court case of Bush vs. Gore? How have the events of September 11th, 2001, and the war on terrorism, affected American politics? What is domestic terrorism? What about the politics of Hurricane Katrina and other disasters; how effective—or ineffective—were local, state and federal governments? Why did Chief Justice John Roberts join the Court’s liberal judges to uphold Obama’s health care plan? What about the outcome of the 2016, 2018, and the 2020 elections? Why should I care?We will address these and current political inquiries through a survey of the structural foundations and governmental institutions of the United States. Our discussions will include historical references, comparisons and contrasts to other countries’ political systems, and comment on current events and developments. By the end of the course, students should have a basic understanding of the political systems, including a working knowledge of institutions, and political behavior that will enable them to understand the choices that are (and are not) offered to them as citizens and to be able to critically evaluate aspects of politics and government. Students will complete the seminar with a better understanding and comprehension of the intriguing, and often baffling, subject of political science. 

Course Learning Outcomes

  • COURSE OBJECTIVES:  To provide:
    • a learning experience with high academic standards
    • a curriculum that is both theoretical and practical
    • a wealth of opportunities for students to develop and improve their critical thinking skills
    • learning techniques that add a contemporary dimension to students’ studies
    • academic support and enrichment