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Political Science

LAP 1 Requirement Courses 

POLS 206 01 Gender, Equality & Women's Empowerment, Fall 2013

Georgia Duerst-Lahti,

Selected topics emphasizing relations between gender(s) and politics. Considers political power derived from gender and the effects gender produces in political processes, institutions, or policies. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. (Also listed as Women's and Gender Studies 240.) Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: Sophomores Only

POLS 255 01 Global Political Ecology, Fall 2013

Pablo Toral,

Social activity is inextricably related to the environment. However, many approaches to social organization take the environment for granted. Students will read about different ecologies, political and apolitical, as well as the actors, issues, and mechanisms of international environmental policy-making. We will review the role of Congress, the party system, and civil society groups involved in green politics and pay close attention to the relative success of green parties in Europe, their role in domestic politics and in the European Union. We will also study the politicization of the environment in developing countries, paying close attention to the role of outside actors and the fundamental differences in approach that exist between environmental groups in the north and those in the south. Offered odd years, fall semester. Prerequisite: any 100-level Political Science course.

POLS 295 01 Comparative Health Systems, Fall 2013

Rongal Nikora,

Selected topics or problems in government and politics or in relating political studies to other disciplines. The focus selected for a particular offering of the course will be announced before registration. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. Prerequisite: Political Science 110, 130 or 160, depending on topic, or consent of instructor.





POLS 255. Global Political Ecology, fall 2009
Pablo T

Student Commitment: High
Developmental Stage: Advanced
Community Partner(s): Greek life,  Beloit College Department of Economics and Management
Resources: Course Syllabus (pdf)


Activism on campus project. Develop and implement a plan to “green” campus. The main goal of the project is to try to get the college to institutionalize green practices. You will submit several documents through the course of the semester. In the prospectus, you will discuss the project. Explain the goals and your strategy. You will put your plan into action through the semester and write a final report in which you will analyze the challenges and opportunities you faced, the successes and failures, how your project changed through the semester, etc. The final draft should focus on “the politics” of implementation of the project on campus: why did some of your strategies work but not others? What would you do differently in the future? What would you suggest to the college to push your ideas further in the future? I will value the originality of the idea, your ability to make campus institutionalize green practices that will lead to a more sustainable campus in the future, and the process of learning about environmental activism. Your group will provide several updates through the semester, with two big presentations, a midterm update (in class) and a final presentation in the evening that will be open to the college community.

POLS 310. Public Leadership, fall 2007
Georgia Duerst-Lahti,

Student Commitment: Varied
Developmental Stage: Advanced
Resources: Course Syllabus (pdf)

How does one successfully and effectively influence change in the public sector, especially change based upon a vision for the future?  To do so would be exercising public leadership. A large industry has arisen around the topic of leaders and leadership, although the public sector lags business and the nonprofit sectors in pursuing the theory and practice of leadership.  Designed as a capstone experience for students with a solid foundation in political science, this course explores the topic of public leadership through rigorous scholarly literature based upon social science research and historical thinkers, with theory aimed at practice, as well as a purely practical workshop option for exploring your own leadership.

Practicum Students

Practicum—60%. Goals & Midterm work 25%, final work 25%, quality of work per supervisor 10%

The entire experience will be judged by the quality of your professional comportment.  (We can discuss what this entails).  Element of the grading include

  • Quality of learning goals, both their form and content
  • Midterm update, the presentation, nature of compiled materials (public accountability, thoroughness, and quality).
  • Midterm update report for supervisors (site, course, FACS as appropriate)
  • Midterm reflection on learning goals for supervisor
  • The final “product” for professional writing, public accountability record keeping, and quality as document for future work.
  • Final reflection on learning goals

Leader analysis—10%

More details will follow.  Must analyze leadership context, key players. 

Final report:  You’re a consultant who makes recommendations based upon the analysis you provide. (May or may not give supervisor this report).

POLS 215. Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Elections in US Politics, fall 2010
Georgia Duerst-Lahti,

Student Commitment: at least 24 hours of field work required.
Developmental Stage: advanced
Community Partner(s): Tammy Baldwin Campaign, Russ Feigngold Campaign, GOP Headquarters, Paul Ryan Campaign, other political groups. 
Resources: Course Syllabus (pdf)

In this course, we explore political parties and interest groups through the lens of elections and campaigns.  We consider their evolution as well as their current contexts.  Students must participate in some capacity related to the November general election as part of the course in order to deepen the knowledge and understanding gained from readings and discussions.  I hope that you end the course with both an understanding of elections’ contemporary importance, as well as with some personal experience that helps your ability to be a good citizen and/or to further your career in or around politics.

Field work: 400 points (You may work 8 hours and do a major research paper instead).

A course on political parties, interest groups, and elections invites experiential learning.  It therefore constitutes a substantial portion of your grade.  Good experiential learning requires more than doing, it requires setting learning goals, establishing a way to accomplish that learning, putting mechanisms to assess how well you met your learning goals, and reflecting upon it all systematically.  Your grade, therefore, hinges upon both what you do and how well you execute and reflect upon your learning.  Ultimately, experiential learning is about entering a “community of practice,” its language, norms, assumptions, expectations, etc.  During your fieldwork, you should look for these aspects of practice common to the community of campaigns and/or lobbying.

Learning goals, with revision, and method for judging or assessing learning:

(language—common terms; assumptions by and about roles, tasks, and duties; norms—what’s ordinary or normal inside this community; unstated but “known” expectations; more).

  • Identify and describe each. How does it work? Why, what specific structures, conditions, or behaviors drive.
  • Log of activities
  • Proposed evidence of learning and way of demonstrating that learning.
  • Supervisor’s assessment of tasks when possible.
  • Final reflection

If you have a compelling reason to NOT do extensive fieldwork, you may substitute a major piece of original research related to parties, groups, and elections and 8 hours of field work.  I have a huge data base of articles on presidential elections that could serve as your original data.