Political Science 202

POSC 202
Ethical Inquiry in Political Science

1. Catalog Entry

POSC 202
Ethical Inquiry in Political Science

Credit hours (3)
Prerequisite: CORE 201 or equivalent

Examination of an ethical issue in political science or public administration with a focus on the relationship between reading, writing, and thinking and on the rhetorical principles that inform successful oral and written communication. This course can be used to substitute for CORE 202 - Topics in Ethical Inquiry.  

2. Detailed Description of Course

This course will use an ethical issue related to political science (a domestic policy issue, an issue related to integrity in public management, or an ethical concern in international relations) to fulfill the requirements for CORE 202.  The course will continue the emphasis of the Core sequence on the composing process, the relationship between reading, writing, and thinking, and on the rhetorical principles that inform successful oral and written communication.  Students will become familiar with the major methods of ethical reasoning and will research and evaluate ethical arguments supporting competing viewpoints related to the particular issue on which the instructor is focusing.  In addition, the course will include a major team project that uses the ethical decision-making framework to explore the ethical issue and formulate a position or a solution.

3. Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course will use the revised Core Handbook (2014) in order to address the Core requirements for the course.  Other texts will be chosen by the instructor that address the course’s theme.

Each instructor will choose an ethical theme relevant to political science or public administration that will guide the choice of additional readings, assignment topics, and classroom activities.  

Required projects for the course will include:
    1) Ethical Analysis Essay in which students will critique an argument on an ethical issue.
    2) Group Project and Presentation in which students will work as teams to propose a solution to or make a
        decision about an ethical dilemma or problem.
    3) Group Communication Evaluation by the rest of each student’s team.

Other essays, quizzes, or projects may be added at the instructor’s discretion.

The course may be delivered face-to-face or online (either synchronously or asynchronously).

4. Goals and Objectives of the Course

Goals:
    1) Introduce students to the importance of ethical thinking in politics;
    2) Introduce students to the application of ethical theories to political issues; and
    3) Introduce students to the development and use of criteria in choosing ethical solutions to political
       problems.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives:
Students will be able to:    
    1) Critically analyze the ethics of domestic or global issues in political science or public administration.
        Students will:
        a. Apply critical reasoning to the issue;
        b. Utilize reasons and arguments;
        c. Construct an essay or group presentation addressing the issue.
    2) Evaluate ethical issues from a variety of perspectives in order to develop policy prescriptions for
        real-world decision makers. Students will:
        a. Apply critical reasoning to the issue;
        b. Utilize reasons and arguments;
        c. Construct an essay or group presentation addressing the issue.
    3) Prepare coherent and well-written essays that effectively use tone, mechanics, and style appropriate to
        an academic audience.  Students will:
        a. Use tone, mechanics, and style appropriate to an academic audience;
    4) Deliver an effective and organized oral presentation and appropriately communicate in interpersonal and
        small group settings.  Students will:
        a. Contribute to team meetings;
        b. Facilitate the contribution of team members;
        c. Foster a constructive team climate; and
        d. Respond effectively to conflict.
    5) Distinguish knowledge from opinion, challenge ideas, and develop reasonable strategies for belief
        formation:
        a. Apply critical reasoning to an ethical issue;
        b. Utilize reasons and arguments appropriate to debate over an ethical issue;
        c. Recognize an ethical issue;
        d. Apply major ethical perspectives to the issue;
        e. Examine the consequences for others of one’s decision or position on an ethical issue; and
        f. Identify criteria to consider in relation to options.
    6) Locate, evaluate, and cite information. Students will:
        a. Find facts related to an ethical issues; and
        b. Research stakeholder positions.

5. Assessment Measures

Students will produce formal and informal texts, spoken and written, which will be graded according to a set of rubrics designed with the outcomes in mind. For program assessment, a designated set of assignments and student work will be collected.

6. Other Course Information

None

Review and Approval

June 20, 2015