POLS 3499/SOCI 3499
The Practicum in Politics/
The Practicum in Sociology
Tues. 2:10 - 4:40
Room: NAB 202
Professor Bruce Peabody
Office: Mansion 38A
Office hours: Mon. 11:15-12:15;
Tues. 12:00-2:00 & by appointment
Telephone: (973) 443-8729
For online assignments, including paper assignments, online readings, and exams, check the "Schedule of Readings and Assignments" and scroll down to the appropriate date and assignment.SYLLABUS
For samples of recent internship opportunities suitable for use with the Practicum course, click here.
I. Course Objectives and OverviewI. COURSE OBJECTIVES AND OVERVIEW
II. Requirements and Important Dates
III. Grading and the Academic Integrity Policy
IV. Schedule of Readings and Assignments
V. Suggestions for this Course
Through this course you will be exposed to possible careers in political science and sociology and you will think about the utility of your academic work in a new light. In addition, the Practicum should ease your eventual transition into employment – by developing invaluable professional contacts, interpersonal skills, and on-the-job experience.
In the first major part of this class, we will have presentations on a variety of topics to help you get ready for and thrive in the workplace. We will then focus on exercises and tools for developing a well-structured analytic essay rooted in your internship experiences. At the end of the semester, you should have a better idea of how your scholarly training relates to life outside the classroom.
This course satisfies the Writing Intensive requirement on your checksheet.
In this class, we will review the disciplinary expectations for writing
in the social sciences. In addition, we will devote a significant
amount of our discussions, assignments, and in class projects to developing
the thinking, reading, writing, and editing necessary for crafting strong
analytic essays in political science and sociology. We will practice
and refine these skills through research papers that draw upon both your
scholarly training and your internship work.
II. REQUIREMENTS AND IMPORTANT DATES
A. The Internship
Students must work at least 104 hours at an internship site approved by your instructor. This represents eight (8) hours per week for at least thirteen (13) weeks, although you may meet your hour goal in any manner you, your supervisor, and instructor can all agree upon. Past experience suggests that many employers prefer students to work in either half-day or full-day blocks of time to satisfy the Practicum requirement. Your specific work schedule and assignments must be designed in consultation with your supervisor. If necessary, you may be able to take this course in conjunction with an internship or job that you have already completed or will complete in the near future; please see your instructor for more information about this possibility.
Your supervisor will complete an end-of-semester evaluation of your performance (a sample evaluation is available through our website http://alpha.fdu.edu/~peabody/practicum.html). This evaluation will be given a great deal of weight in calculating your final course grade. Among other things, your supervisor will be asked if you have fulfilled your hours requirement, arrived on time, and behaved professionally. Failure to meet these obligations will result in a reduced grade, incomplete, or even a failing grade for the semester. At you discretion, you may also ask me to provide your supervisor with a mid-semester evaluation.
Fairleigh Dickinson University considers all its interns to be representatives of the University. Although most of our internships are unpaid, students must maintain a courteous, professional attitude at all times during the internship. You should behave as if you are working as a salaried, full-time employee of your agency. As noted, you will need to arrive at and maintain a schedule of regular work times. Keep in mind that the success of your internship experience will help determine opportunities for future students. Moreover, a strong internship performance may lead to an enthusiastic and detailed letter of recommendation useful for future employment or graduate school.
While we have had an excellent track record with prior student experiences, it is possible you will run into work-related problems. If you find that you are having persistent difficulties with your work site or supervisor, you should let your instructor know, and, if possible, try to resolve the situation with your employer. If you are experiencing a serious predicament at work, make sure you carefully document the situation with names, dates, and times, and speak with me immediately.
B. Class Participation
Students must attend scheduled class meetings and participate in our discussions at these meetings. In order for this class to be fully successful, everyone must regularly participate through active, informed, and respectful discussions. Please note that in addition to our regular classes, your instructor will schedule meetings with the students individually to go over your internship and research paper.
During the semester, students will be required to read material about the workplace and the research process, as well as relevant literature on the field within with they are working and, ultimately, their specific research area. Your instructor will provide general readings for the class as a whole, while giving additional, individually tailored assignments appropriate for your research project. General readings will either be available through the course website or distributed in class.
In addition to class participation and reading, the course has a number of more formal assignments. You are advised to note and keep track of the assigned and due dates for each of these assignments, and write them in your datebook or some other organizer you regularly consult:
1. Resume and cover letter: each student needs to prepare a draft resume
and cover letter. Your instructor will return these to you, with
comments. Your cover letter should be brief and to the point, introducing
yourself and explaining your interest in the internship site. Your
resume should basic personal information (address, phone number, email,
etc.), a list of relevant courses that might pertain to the internships,
and a list of previous job experience. This assignment will be graded
on a Pass/Fail basis and will be included in your class participation grade.
Examples and instructions to help you with this assignment:
· additional help with your resume
· sample resume
· additional help with your cover letter
· sample cover letter
Due: Feb. 10
2. Paper title and abstract: Submit a working title and brief (50-150
word) description of your research paper. Your abstract should, at
a minimum, describe the focus of your paper; ideally, it should include
a particular thesis and a short discussion of how you will examine this
Due: Mar. 2. Revised title/abstract due: Mar. 23
3. Outline (½ to 1 page) and preliminary list of sources: You
will hand in a carefully and logically structured framework for your research
paper – setting out the thesis of your paper and its major components or
analytic “steps.” You should provide at least five (5) readings or
other sources you will use for your paper. These may be “unconventional”
sources such as interviews or websites, although at least one of your sources
must be a pertinent scholarly or academic text.
Due: Mar. 23 Revised outline/sources due: Apr. 6
4. Research paper workshop: On April 3 we will meet as a group to “workshop”
your research projects. During the workshop, each student will speak
for 10-15 minutes about their proposed project, setting out their argument,
providing an outline for their paper, and discussing some of the materials
they hope to use. Your instructor and colleagues will then comment,
question, and offer suggestions. The workshop is a collaborative
endeavor intended to help you with your research. Please note that
your instructor will distribute your paper title, outline, and list of
sources to the entire class prior to the workshop.
Workshop held on Apr. 13
5. “First commenter” and critical commentary: Every student will serve
as a “first commenter” on one of the workshop presentations. This
student will make some general comments on the designated paper and ask
the “first question” about the project. The “first commenter” must
provide a copy of his/her written comments on the designated paper to the
instructor and relevant student.
Due: Apr. 13
6. Practicum research paper and internship
assessment: The research paper is a substantial (10-15 pages, double-spaced)
essay applying academic materials (to be decided upon with your instructor)
to your internship experience. Students will be expected to draw
upon their internship, assigned readings, and discussions in class.
Along with their research paper, students will hand in a “Student Assessment”
describing their internship and experience, and providing basic information
for future students who might be interested in the internship.
Draft paper due: Apr. 20 (Department of Social Sciences and History by 4pm)
Final research paper due: May 4
Additional information about these assignments will be provided through the course of the semester.
All of your written assignments must be given to me in class on the
day they are due; UNLESS EXPLICITLY STATED OTHERWISE, NO EMAILED PAPERS
WILL BE ACCEPTED. I reserve the right to mark your papers down if
they are emailed or exceed your assigned page lengths. Papers that
are poorly written or filled with grammatical and/or spelling errors will
be returned with or without comments; a student will then have 24 hours
to return the paper with corrections to the professor. After this
period, or if a second paper is returned by the instructor, the paper will
be treated as late. Writing well means organizing your ideas coherently,
using grammatically correct formal composition, and employing appropriate
methods of citation. In addition, written assignments must be free of all
spelling and typographical errors. Producing excellent written work
requires thorough proofreading and, more often than not, substantial revisions
to first drafts. If you need help with your writing, visit the Academic
Support Center, located in Twombly Hall.
III. GRADING, ACADEMIC INTEGRITY POLICY, AND
Your grade for this course will be based on:
Below 60 F
In determining your final grade, your instructor will also take into account improvement over the course of the semester, how much knowledge you come out of the course with, and your class participation.
All students enrolled at Fairleigh Dickinson University are required to abide by the University's Academic Integrity Policy. According to the Policy, students are expected “to maintain the highest standards of academic honesty . . . [and] have the responsibility to each other to make known the existence of academic dishonesty to their course instructor and then, if necessary, the department chair or the academic dean of their College.” Academic dishonesty includes (but is not limited to) cheating, plagiarism, falsification, and multiple submission of academic work. A full discussion of the Academic Integrity Policy is in the Student Handbook; please review this material.
Plagiarism is a particularly serious academic offense. According to the Academic Integrity Policy plagiarism is “[r]epresenting the ideas or language of others as one’s own.” You must provide a citation every time you use someone else’s language or borrow their distinctive ideas (for this course, you may simply use the author’s name and page number -- e.g., Peabody, 3). If you are found guilty of plagiarism in this class you may receive either a failing grade for the appropriate academic exercise or a failing grade for the course, and/or other sanctions including expulsion from the University or having a letter discussing the episode sent to your Chair, Dean, and Enrollment Services. It is fully expected that you will use the work of others in this class, but you must indicate when you do so.
IV. SCHEDULE OF READINGS AND ASSIGNMENTS
What follows is a list of class topics and your assignments (assignments indicated with aP). I have provided reminders for important dates such as when assignments are due. Complete your readings before the class date indicated; for example, you will need to read
Use this schedule to coordinate and plan your assignments and responsibilities in this and your other classes. If you discover that you have multiple papers due on the same date or week, try to work something out with your instructor (well in advance of the due date) or get one of your assignments done early. Please bring all of the assigned readings with you to class and be prepared to discuss these materials.
Readings available through our website are indicated [W] and handouts are indicated [H].
Jan. 27 Pread the syllabus
schedule individual meetings as needed
II. THE WORKPLACE
A. Resume and Cover Letter Writing & Rewriting
Feb. 3 Ellin, “The Humble Resume Enters Cyberspace” [H]
review the following links:
· additional help with your resume
· sample resume
· additional help with your cover letter
· sample cover letter
B. The Job Market and a Liberal Arts Education
Feb. 10 Yate, Knock ‘Em Dead [H]
Review job resources
Review “job” links
Resume and cover letter due
Feb. 17 Kirby, “Finessing Interviews: Don’t Ask, Do Tell” [H]
“There Are Questions You Shouldn’t Answer” [H]
Review the “interview” links
III. WRITING RESEARCH PAPERS IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES
A. Approaches to Research Papers
Feb. 24 Mayhew, selection from Congress: The Electoral Connection [H]
Putnam, Bowling Alone [H]
Mar. 2 Zinsser, “The Interview” [H]
Leech, “Asking Questions: Techniques for Semistructured Interviews” [H]
Preliminary paper title and abstract due
Mar. 9 Hunt, “Police Accounts of Normal Force” [H]
Mar. 16 NO CLASS – SPRING BREAK!
B. Outlining, Evaluating Arguments, and Sources
Mar. 23 Kirshner, “Alfred Hitchcock and the Art of Research”
Best, “Telling the Truth About Damned Lies and Statistics” [H]
Revised title/abstract due
Preliminary paper outline/sources due
Mar. 30 handouts on editing [H]
D. Pre-Workshop Meeting
Final paper outline/sources due; please hand in a hard copy (in class) and email me a
copy at firstname.lastname@example.org
E. Research Paper Workshop
critical commentary due
Apr. 20, Apr. 27
individual meetings scheduled
draft paper due Apr. 20 (Department of Social Sciences and History by 4pm)
F. Open Topic & Concluding Remarks
May 4 Topic and assignments To Be Announced
Research Paper and Student Assessments Due
V. SUGGESTIONS FOR THIS COURSE
Obviously, to do well in this course, you will need to succeed at your internship. Allow yourself some time to settle in to your position, but don’t hesitate to talk with your supervisor or you instructor if you believe that things aren’t going well, if you don’t believe you are getting much out of your experience. In the past, students who have been unfulfilled in their internships have been assigned to new projects, new supervisors, and even moved to entirely different internships.
As soon as you begin your internship work, you should start thinking about possible topics for your paper. Try to pick an idea that will sustain you through the research and writing required for a substantial project. Are there things about your work that surprise or alarm you? Are there consistent difficulties or problems you or your co-workers contend with? These questions may point you to promising avenues for further research.
When writing your final Practicum research paper, you should spend a significant amount of time analyzing the assignment you and your instructor have agreed upon, thinking through the most effective way to approach this assignment (what are the most important questions that need to be answered? What readings/class discussions shed light on this question?). You should then construct a detailed outline setting out your argument and the logical, sequential stages through which you will make this argument. You can then write your paper by simply fleshing out the individual parts of your outline and making sure you have smooth transitions from point to point, paragraph to paragraph.
Make sure you finish a draft of your paper at least 24 hours before it is due. Set it aside for a few hours and then proofread it for errors, logical inconsistencies, and points that need elaboration. If you have a reliable friend or family member, have them help you with your editing (so long as the final work remains yours alone). Set up an appointment with the Academic Support Center (973-443-8538) at any stage of the writing process from the roughest of outlines to (what you think is) a polished draft.
Here are some additional tips:
· always keep a hard and disk copy of your written assignments;
· make sure all your written work is free of spelling and grammatical errors;
· if you are worried that you may have plagiarized/not cited something correctly, check with your instructor; you are well-advised to err on the side of caution on this topic;
· if you can’t meet me during office hours, please schedule an alternate time;
· for websites and links that may be of use in this course, check: http://alpha.fdu.edu/~peabody/practicum.html
if you are having problems with the readings, assignments, or a classmate,
see me immediately – do not wait until the assignment is due or your classmate
causes you grief.
back to Peabody Webpage