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Course Details

Course Number: 90-714

Policy And Politics In American Political Institutions

Units: 12

The course emphasize the development of analytical skills. Students will develop
these analytical skills in three different forms and through four different processes:

a) Class discussions which will allow the students to develop the ability to analyze,
discuss, and defend different policy positions in an academic environment

b) Writing policy memos: It is critical for all of us to be able to summarize a
problem, present possible solutions, and recommend policies/solutions to others.
The policy memos allow the students to develop these very important skills.
Typically, students are expected to assume the role of a policy maker and provide
specific policies to the President or the Secretary of State. The policy memos
emphasize the use of relevant data, the analysis of the problem, and the policy

c) Group presentations: the group presentation are geared to allow the student to
develop the ability to work in a project with two or three other students, learn
about a specific topic in depth, and prepare a class presentation either using power
point or class handouts. In order to ensure the effectiveness of the presentation the
instructor meets with the student about a week before the presentation to set the
specific topics and parameters of the presentation. The handout or slides need to
be submitted at least 24hours before the presentation. The slides or handouts are
reviewed by the instructor in order to verify the effectiveness of the presentation.
The group is encouraged to debate alternative policy positions.

At the end of the course the student is expected to have learned about the specific

institutions and policies included in the syllabus, the ideologies that inform those policies, and to have developed a set of analytical, presentation and writing skills.


Silvia Borzutzky