American Democracy in a Changing World

U of M Catalog Description

Introduction to politics and government in the United States. Constitutional origins and development, major institutions, parties, interest groups, elections, participation, public opinion. Ways of explaining politics and the nature of political science. Recent trends emphasized.

Class size limit: 30

Sample Syllabus

Student Qualifications

POL 1001 is an intensive U of M social science course that requires substantial reading, writing, and critical thinking. Students enrolling in POL 1001 must be juniors or seniors who meet at least ONE of the following additional qualifications:

  • Have a cumulative GPA in recent social science courses that exceeds a 3.25, OR
  • Are in the top 20% of their high school class, OR
  • Demonstrate strength in the necessary reading and writing skills to the CIS instructor.

Exceptional tenth graders may be allowed to register if they have the approval of both the CIS instructor and the U of M faculty coordinator.

Instructor Qualifications

Instructors apply and are selected by faculty in accordance with the U of M policy governing Academic Appointments with Teaching Functions. Once approved, an instructor is appointed as a Teaching Specialist 9754 (University Job Title and Code) in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. Instructor qualifications are determined by the sponsoring University department.

View the Instructor Applicant Handbook for course-specific qualifications and application steps. 

Textbooks

The Challenge of Democracy: Government in America. Janda, Berry, and Goldman, 9th edition. (Amazon price in 2018 is $20 for the ninth edition; earlier editions may be used.)

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the readings specified or mandated by the University of Minnesota? If not, what are the choices?
Although teachers do use a common text, they are free to (and often times do) make additional reading assignments of their choosing.

Do teachers have a choice in assignments? Are there required assignments?
Teachers do exercise choice in assignments.

Who creates the exams?
Teachers also exercise choice in the exams.

Is there a training and mentoring system for new CIS political science teachers?
Our teachers are mentored in their first year, taking a directed studies course with the CIS faculty coordinator. They typically review and evaluate various introductory textbooks. New teachers also benefit from workshops that focus on course content and University processes, as well as an orientation to College in the Schools that will familiarize them with the support available through CIS and prepare them for administrative tasks such as registering students and posting grades.

High school class schedules vary: can a teacher in the block system teach political science?
All courses offered through CIS have the same minimum number of contact hours as the on-campus sections. Teachers adapt the University schedule to fit the schedules at their high schools.

What happens at typical teacher workshops?
Typical activities at CIS workshops include meeting University faculty and hearing about their recent research in the discipline; reviewing and/or developing student assessment tools; sharing instructional materials; discussing particular content, pedagogy, or assessment of the University course; and receiving updates on CIS program policies and practices.

What happens at typical student field days?
Student field days provide an opportunity for CIS students to meet their peers, practice skills they have learned in class, and explore the Twin Cities campus.

The political science student field day involves the use of citizen juries. Students convene in the morning and divide into three large groups, each of which considers a different important political issue. They hear testimony from experts on several sides of the issue. After hearing the experts, students adjourn into much smaller groups to conduct a jury discussion. The students discuss and debate the assigned issue, and then take a vote and issue a majority report. Students who disagree with the report may issue a dissent. Then a larger discussion takes place among all students whose jury discussed one particular issue, and they attempt to formulate a consensual position on that issue. Finally, once that is done, they present their recommendation to a public official who listens to and comments on their recommendations. The public official then conducts a general discussion of the issues involved. Over the years CIS students have reported to Senator Paul Wellstone, U.S. Congressman Bill Luther, and Minnesota State Senator Steve Kelley. Issues considered recently include hate speech on campus, public funding for a Twins stadium, school vouchers, teaching intelligent design in science classes, a statewide smoking ban, and gay marriage.

High Schools Offering This Course

Brooklyn Center Secondary Arts and IB World School
Burnsville High School
Centennial High School
East Ridge High School
Heritage Academy
Hill-Murray High School
Johnson Senior High School
Orono High School
Pine City High School
Richfield High School
Shakopee High School
South High School
St. Clair High School
Tartan High School
Tri-City United High School
Waseca High School
Washington Technology Magnet School
Watertown-Mayer High School
White Bear Lake Area High School