As James Madison wrote, "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." Teaching is essential to the pursuit of a more perfect union and equitable society. In each class I offer, students engage in critical questions—historical and contemporary—of American democracy and public policy. Through critical engagement, students learn how to think analytically and evaluate claims about the U.S. political system while engaging how the government responds to issues in public policy.
American Federal Government
A study of the structures and processes of American national government. By examining the structural foundations of the American political system, political linkage institutions, and governmental institutions in the United States, investigating the role of civic society and non-governmental entities in the policy-making process, and analyzing how the separate institutions of government share power, students will learn how to think analytically and critically evaluate claims about the U.S. political system. The course will provide students with a basic understanding of the adoption, development, and purpose of the main institutions in American politics, as well as the actors and groups that participate in and benefit from the political system.
American State and Local Government
This course introduces students to the politics, institutions, and policy processes of state and local governments, focusing on how these governments play pivotal roles in key policy areas such as taxes, health care, education, and social welfare. This requires an understanding of how public policy and political decisions are made at the state and local level, including how the general principles of federalism affect state and local governments. By examining the similarities and differences between state and local governments across the country, we will assess how variation across political institutions, and in citizens’ attitudes, affects the politics and policies of subnational governments. Particular attention will be played to the politics, governmental structures, and policies of Florida, Alachua County, and the City of Gainesville. The course will provide students with a basic understanding of the various institutions, organizations, and policy processes that most affect our everyday lives – those in state and local governments.
Current Controversies in Public Policy
A study of the policymaking structures and processes of American governments through the lens of a selection of the most debated questions in American public policy, including economic policy, social welfare, civil and political rights, political ethics, and institutional reform. The course will provide students with a basic understanding of the formation, adoption, budgeting, implementation, and evaluation of public policy, and how to apply this framework to critically assess and engage controversial policy issues, as well as assessing how the government responds to current controversies in public policy.
Professional Writing in the Disciplines
This course teaches students how to research, organize, and present technical information in effectively written documents, work in collaboration with others, and use various technologies to support their communication efforts. It is designed to help students master a variety of communication strategies and methods of writing relevant to specific professional disciplines, by having students analyze writing situations in professional workplaces and develop strategies for addressing audiences, organizing information, and presenting their work. The objective of this course is for students to learn to communicate in complex and varied situations, preparing students for the professional communities they will join.