President's Teaching Scholars Program



Mike Cummings
Political Science Department

PSCI 1001 (Introduction to Political Science) Course Description:

My UCD course PSCI 1001, Introduction to Political Science, introduces students to the study of people, power, and the public good. We begin by acknowledging the negative associations most Americans (including most of the students) have with the words "politics," "political," and "politician." The course delves into the reasons for this "bummer" view of politics and presents students with two stark alternatives: avoid politics because it is negative or engage in it to make it better. The key course themes are (1) the relevance of power and public policy to the students' lives, and (2) the possibility for the students to empower themselves to make a difference in public policy. Through diverse readings, media coverage of current events, videos, guest lectures, and small-group activities, students encounter a wide variety of political topics and viewpoints, culminating in their researching and writing term papers in which they use course materials to develop their own policy recommendations in three issue areas of their own choosing. The interactive course pedagogy is intended to create a 60-person community of learning over the semester.