Course objectives

By the end of the semester, you will have:

  • explored some important political issues,
  • developed an understanding of those issues,
  • begun to develop positions on those issues, and be able to defend those positions,
  • developed your analytical and writing skills, and
  • learned some computing, research, and information management skills that will benefit you in your future studies and career.

In the course of our exploration of the issues chosen for this semester, you will learn how to ask appropriate questions, such as:

  • What is the issue at hand?
  • How should we understand or frame the issue?
  • What theories underlie competing approaches to the issue?
  • What are the central questions involved?
  • What kind(s) of evidence would help us begin to answer our questions?
  • Where might we look for such evidence?

As you work to accomplish these objectives through your participation in class and your completion of assignments, you will also meet some of the broader goals of the Sophia Program in Liberal Learning.

In particular, we will be working together to achieve:

  • Social Science I LO1 outcomes:
    • A Saint Mary’s student identifies and explains social science concepts and theories about human behavior, systems, and cultures.
    • A Saint Mary’s student applies social science concepts and theories in her analysis of human behavior, systems, and cultures.
    • A Saint Mary’s student recognizes and explains effects of diversity and equity in specific areas such as class, race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and/or privilege.
  • LO2 — writing competence:
    • A Saint Mary’s student employs conventions of academic writing to forumulate meaningful claims, construct effective arguments, and employ evidence appropriately. She communicates her ideas in writing with precision and style.

Though the learning outcome in technological literacy, media literacy, and information literacy has not yet been implemented as a requirement, we will be working on its components:

  • A Saint Mary’s student uses technology effectively for communication, research, collaboration and problem-solving, while understanding the ethics and safety issues in electronic media and responsible use of technology.
  • A Saint Mary’s student decodes, analyzes, and evaluates media messages within the context of political, economic, and ideological systems.
  • A Saint Mary’s student determines the extent of her information need and obtains, evaluates and uses information effectively with an understanding of economic, legal, ethical, and social issues surrounding information use.