Political science

Diversity Statements

GPOSC 225, U.S. Government

Instructor: Kathleen Ferraiolo

In my GPOSC 225 course, I incorporate diversity in several ways. During our unit on civil rights and civil liberties, we spend time discussing women's suffrage, including important events such as the Seneca Falls Convention and the struggle to ratify the 19th amendment to the Constitution. In addition, I spend a great deal of time discussing issues related to racial equality, including important court cases (Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education), the Civil War Amendments, and the civil rights movement.

Of course, throughout the class questions related to ideological diversity come up as well in the context of discussions of partisan and ideological differences in the United States electorate. Religious diversity is something I also address when I talk about voting and partisan preferences and trends among different religious groups, as well as significant court cases touching on issues related to the separation of church and state and the First Amendment's free exercise and establishment clauses. Finally, in our unit on Congress I talk about descriptive representation, majority-minority districts, and representation in Congress generally as it relates to political equality.

Instructor: Howard Lubert

My section of GPOSC 225 addresses diversity in several ways. I devote a number of lectures to the legal and political history of slavery in America, as well as to the history of segregation. This also includes assigned readings. In the past, I have shown films, such as "4 Little Girls," that address issues of diversity through an examination of violence and the struggle for equal/civil rights. I also cover "intellectual" diversity, specifically through an examination of political ideas (e.g. arguments over free-market policies versus more governmental regulation, the rise of the "Reagan Revolution," etc.). I also cover this type of diversity in my coverage of seminal Supreme Court rulings and the issue of constitutional interpretation generally. To a lesser extent we address diversity among political systems, e.g. comparing U.S. institutions to parliamentary systems.

POSC 240, Comparative Politics

Instructor: Charles Blake

This course explores the impact of human diversity on political life by investigating domestic political dynamics across a diverse selection of countries. In the process, students are exposed to varied societal dynamics and to different forms of government organization and practice. This enables them to escape ethnocentrism when thinking about the political world. One frequent exercise in this course that helps students to appreciate diverse perspectives is a simulated constitutional convention in which students represent leaders of different political and social movements in a foreign country engaged in political reform. This enables students to consider both the viewpoints of their organizations' core constituencies as well as the perspectives of other groups participating in the convention. At the end of the convention, students are debriefed to discuss which aspects of the convention they found true to life, which events they considered unrealistic, and why.

PUAD 265, Introduction to Public Administration

Instructor: Robert Roberts

My Introduction to Public Administration course places a heavy emphasis on the importance of diversity in the day-to-day administration of public programs. First, the course stresses that modern public administrators face the challenge of administering programs in an increasingly diverse country. As a result, modern public administrators must be prepared to serve clients with diverse backgrounds. Second, my Introduction to Public Administration course includes a separate section on Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity which deals with compliance with a large number of EEO laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, age, gender and disability.

POSC 348, The Politics of Cultural Pluralism

Instructor: Kelli Moore

This course examines the various manifestations of cultural pluralism, a situation that occurs when multiple ethnic, religious, and/or linguistic groups coexist within a single state. The course focuses on the tensions and complementary nature of liberalism and multiculturalism and uses case studies to articulate this. The course further looks at government, participation, and democracy in accommodating (or having difficulty to accommodate) plural/multiethnic, communities. Finally, this course engages the importance and role of cultural identity, cultural imperialism, group rights, and communal groups.

POSC 350, Latin American Politics

Instructor: Charles Blake

This course examines political life in detail in several Latin American countries. Students familiarize themselves with the societal and political evolution of five to seven countries in a semester. This exposes them to the political and social pressures of a region with higher levels of socioeconomic inequality than they may have experienced previously; in addition, it enables them to gain a greater understanding of cross-national inequality. One series of exercises in this course that improves students' ability to appreciate diversity (and to interact in diverse settings) consists of role-play debates. For each country, a handful of students debate varied sides of a common question faced by that country. The roles include real-life government leaders, the heads of interest groups and social movements, and other roles associated with different strata of society. After the initial presentations, students then rebut each others' presentations; afterward, the entire class continues the discussion in a more informal manner. For example, in 2008 students debated whether or not indigenous Guatemalans should support explicitly pro-indigenous political parties or, instead, back explicitly pan-ethnic groups. The exercise helps students appreciate varied contours of diversity within Guatemalan society and their interaction with political life.

POSC 351, Minority Group Politics

Instructor: Jennifer Byrne

This course examines the role of minority groups in American politics. In particular, the focus of this course is on five groups that for reasons of race or gender have faced institutional discrimination and political dominance in the United States. The groups that are emphasized in this course include: African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, and women. Throughout this class, we examine how race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation intersect with one another, and how all of these factors have played an instrumental role in the creation of the current socio-political system. Two misconceptions about minority group politics that we address in this class is that minority groups are monolithic and that race relations in the U.S. are characterized by a black/white dichotomy. This class is divided into three sections. The first section focuses on how a minority group is defined and what it means to be a member of a minority group. Each group is discussed in terms of its unique historical, cultural, and legal history. We are primarily concerned with understanding the historical meaning of race and how institutions have created and aided in the making of racial categorizations. The demographics of each group are discussed in terms of population size, geographic location, socioeconomic status and immigration trends. To end this section, we transition from the marco-level to the micro-level, examining group consciousness, identity, and political participation across our five groups of interest, with a special focus on the role of race (and to a lesser extent gender) in the 2008 election. We then turn our attention to representation and whether descriptive representation and/or alternate voting systems facilitate the political representation of particular groups in the second section of the course. Finally, in the third section of this course, we discuss whether race is still a salient factor in American politics today, or whether another factor, such as class or citizenship has emerged as dominant. We examine three contemporary areas of race and politics to help us answer this question including affirmative action, immigration, and the American criminal justice system.

INTA 489, Economic Development in Africa:

Instructor: Kelli Moore

This course was offered as a four credit capstone course for International Affairs majors. The overall theme of this class is economic development. The geographic focus of the course is Africa. The first part of the class examines international political economy and the market forces that create rich and poor countries. The class looks at development theoretically and efforts in sustaining such a concept, through tools like microcredit, but also by creating business and fair trade. The relationship between China and Africa has become a hot topic. The class explores several areas of this relationship, the gains and drawbacks to this relationship, and the impact on Africa and Africans. I explicitly look at mature trade relationships and the business class in Africa. Because most economic development dwells on poverty and helplessness, I think this alternative view is diverse in a different sense.

POSC 492, Senior Seminar on Political Equality

Instructor: Jennifer Byrne

The Declaration of Independence states that "all men are created equal", and there can be no doubt that fewer concepts are more important or noted in American political thought than equality, yet few concepts are more abstract or more controversial. In this course, we grapple with the concept of political equality, and examine this phenomenon through the topics of voting, elections, and representation, paying particular attention to the plight of minority groups as it pertains to these topics. In the first part of this course, we examine the concept of equality beginning with a discussion of what equality in the political sense means, whether it is desirable in the American democratic regime, and how the idea of political equality has evolved since the founding to present day. We then take a comprehensive look at the right to vote in the US, and how key groups such as women and racial minorities gained the franchise in our history. We examine the role that institutions play in ensuring or hindering political equality for all groups, and how landmark legislation such as the Voting Rights Act affected political equality for minority groups.

Next, we turn our attention to gender, race, and representation in the US. We examine why there are so few members of minority groups in elected office, how characteristics such as race and/or gender affect support of minority candidates, the relationship between minorities and political parties, and the debate between descriptive and substantive representation. Finally, we examine current issues that are related to political equality such as the 2000 Election, Felon Disenfranchisement, Voter Identification Requirements, and Election Reform in the US.

PUAD 483/583: Emerging Issues in Public Administration (Regionalism and Urban Policy)

Instructor: Nicholas Swartz

The study of regionalism pertains to how governments can cooperate with one another to solve region-wide issues. These issues might not be region-wide per se, but an issue within one jurisdiction may impact another jurisdiction. Part of the course examines the fiscal connections and ties between the central city (the urban core) and its surrounding suburbs. We focus on why those within the wealthy areas should concentrate on poorer areas within other jurisdictions. The thesis is, which has been proven time and time again, that the health of the central city is tied to the health of the suburbs--and vice versa. Therefore, the wealthy areas should concentrate on the disparities and inequalities associated with poverty, education, access to health care, transportation, etc. After students take the class they have a better understanding and appreciation for why government should intervene and help not only themselves, but their neighbors (in this case, neighboring jurisdictions) as well. This may result in regional governance structures to overcome some of these problems.

PUAD 625, Public Organizational Behavior

Instructor: Gary Kirk

In this course, a survey of topics related to behavior in public and nonprofit sector organizations, I have developed a module on workforce diversity, multiculturalism, and management. As part of this module, we read research and case studies that consider preservation of diversity versus assimilation, individual stressors associated with minority status in the workplace, perception of and effectiveness of diversity training and recruitment efforts, and consequences of working in a diverse organization.

PUAD 630, Seminar in Public Personnel Administration

Instructor: Robert Roberts

My Seminar in Public Personnel Administration includes two units dealing with diversity in government and non-profit organizations. The first unit deals with compliance with Equal Employment Opportunity laws and regulations. These include laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, national origin, age and disability. Students are required to develop a working knowledge of how these important law impact, recruitment, selection, discipline and evaluation of employees. Particular attention is paid to sexual harassment in the public and non-profit workplace. The second unit looks at the much broader issue of diversity in the public and non public workplace with particular emphasis placed on human resources practices and policies which may help to accommodate an increasingly diverse workplace. Specifically, the unit looks at family friendly polices such as flextime and job sharing and methods to deal with the glass ceiling.

PUAD 662, Governance and Nonprofit Organizations

Instructor: Gary Kirk

This course explores, among other topics, the significance of board composition and board representativeness in terms of social justice, organizational effectiveness, and ethics. The issue of organizational representativeness is especially important for nonprofit providers of services and goods for underserved populations. The course relies heavily on case studies and role-playing exercises that have been written and selected with a particular interest in showing diverse perspectives and highlighting issues that confront nonprofit boards and administrators regarding stakeholder interests and value conflicts that arise in preserving organizational integrity.

PUAD 692, MPA Capstone

Instructor: Gary Kirk

The MPA program has adopted as one of its required competencies a demonstration of cultural competency. All MPA students are required to document their skill and/or understanding of working in diverse organizations and serving diverse populations. Students may choose to define diversity in broad terms, including (but not limited to) age, ethnicity, gender, race, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. For pre-service students this competency may be demonstrated through applied or scholarly writing on topics related to diversity and multiculturalism. Many in-service (i.e., working) students are able to provide professional documents that demonstrate their capacity and experience of working with and on behalf of underrepresented and/or diverse groups.