UNDERGRADUATE CAPSTONE CLASSES
POLS 492-001 CRN: 61107 | MWF 1 - 1:50 p.m. MICRO A101 | with Dr. Eric Fattor
Politics and Strategy
Studying politics allows us to understand the place of power, values and institutions in a number of different contexts and circumstances. However, does this knowledge actually allow us to get things done? Somewhere between the theory and practice of politics is the art and science of determining interests, surveying your surroundings, making a plan, and carrying out and adjusting this plan in the face of numerous and often unforeseeable obstacles--or in a word: strategy. This interdisciplinary seminar will explore this art and science in a number of different political and social science contexts, including international politics, political economy, comparative politics, political theory, security studies and media studies. It will draw from material ranging from classical military treatises and texts to modern technocratic rational choice manuals to biographies of professional wrestlers. By the end of the seminar, students will have thoroughly interrogated the key elements of strategic thinking and how to apply these elements to their understandings of today's most pressing issues and the paralysis that seems to pervade these issues.
POLS 492-002 CRN: 64313 | Wednesdays 2 - 4:50 p.m. ONLINE - SYNCHRONOUS | with Dr. Bradley Macdonald
Politics and Culture of the 1960s
At a time when the controversial decade of the 1960s is being widely reexamined, this seminar will illuminate fundamental experiences, sensibilities, and themes associated with this volatile and influential epoch. In particular, we will explore the nature and impact of such topics as the growth of affluence; the political struggles for African American equality; the Vietnam War; student radicalism; the counterculture; rock music; and, the incipient movements associated with women’s liberation, the New Right, and the ecology. Students will explore these issues by reading primary documents from the period, secondary sources on the period, and interpreting various mass media (music and films). As we will see, the 1960s provides a fertile ground from which to understand past and present developments in American politics, international relations, comparative politics, and political theory, and is a productive focus for applying our skills and knowledge developed as political science majors.
POLS 492-003 CRN: 66865 | Thursdays 4 - 6:50 p.m. CLARK C251 | with Sam Houghteling
Northern Colorado Local Government
Want to learn more about how local governments work in Northern Colorado? This capstone explores the core functions of the City of Fort Collins and Larimer County, along with local special districts, school districts, emergency response agencies, and more. The course includes classroom learning and on-site visits at locations in the community including Fort Collins City Hall, the Larimer County Courthouse, the Larimer County Jail, Horsetooth Reservoir, the Poudre Fire Authority, and more. Discussion topics include executive management, budgeting, strategic planning, sustainability, public safety, public utilities, human services, and more. Students will be placed on interdisciplinary work teams and assigned to develop a policy recommendation on behalf of a local agency or department. For students interested in community development, public administration, or civic leadership, this is a fantastic opportunity to see things firsthand, and gain professional experience before graduating through the applied project. To enroll, students will need to have completed POLS 103 State and Local Government; in addition, any 300-level Advanced Communication is encouraged. For more information, please contact Sam Houghteling at the Straayer Center for Public Service Leadership. firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-219-4656.
POLS 492-004 CRN: 70892 | TR 3:30 - 4:45 p.m. CLARK C248 | with Dr. Dominic Stecula
Information disorder? American politics and the changing media landscape
The changing media landscape, mostly facilitated by the growth of the internet, has had a profound impact on American, and global, politics. The initial promise of the digital age focused on the positive aspects of life in a hyper-connected world, with access to any information we desire at our fingertips. Unfortunately, there have also been a lot of negative developments catalyzed by these changes: rampant mis- and dis- information, fake news, echo chambers, and propaganda. Things that some researchers have dubbed the Information disorder. In this seminar, we will explore the causes and consequences of the information disorder through the prism of scholarly work, primarily in the fields of political science, communication, psychology, computer science, and sociology. We will learn how technological changes altered where and how Americans get their news, how people’s media diets impact their beliefs about politics and other important topics, and the mechanisms through which the information disorder impacts our society.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Understand the key debates surrounding the interdisciplinary research on information disorder and its political consequences;
- Apply social science theories and concepts to analyze real world developments;
- Communicate complex ideas in a variety of oral and written formats;
- Synthesize academic literature into coherent writing, and other content accessible to the general public; and
- Improve their research, writing, and editing skills.