1 2013 Political Science Department PAPR The Political Science Department offers a variety of courses designed to prepare students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities and provide training for professions associated with political and governmental services.
2 Political Science Department Portfolio Assessment/Program Review Fall 2012 The full-time members (Tim Murphy and Philippe Andrade) of the Political Science Department met on August 23, 2012 to assess the political science program and to reflect on ways to improve the program and student success within the program. I. Goals and Objectives 1. Annual Goals of the Department A. Maintain a 90% Retention Rate Across the Department B. Achieve a 70% Pass Rate Across the Department C. Revise and Create Curriculum Consistent with UC/CSU Political Science Course Offerings A. As seen in Table 1.1, the median retention rate among political science courses that have been offered since 2007 is 91%. The department takes great pride in its high retention rate among political science students. We feel that the faculty s ability to keep students motivated and engaged in the material is primarily responsible for this high retention rate. B. As seen in Table 1.1, the pass rate among students taking Political Science 101 is 60.6%, 86% for Political Science 101 Honors, 47.5% for Political Science 201, and 68.3% for Political Science 220 (data for pass rates in Political Science 200 & 235 was not available). Three of the four courses in which data was available maintain pass rates below the department s 70% goal. Given that the large majority of the department s students enroll in Political Science 101, the 60.6% pass rate is of particular concern. The departmental consensus is that students entering political science courses without basic skills required for collegiate academics is primarily to be blamed for the below 70% pass rates. Specifically pertinent to political science courses, student deficiencies in college level reading, writing, and exam preparation, is particularly detrimental to student success in political science. C. The department seeks to make improvements within its current course offerings that will aid in student success. Additionally, the department seeks to expand its course offerings to provide students with additional opportunities for academic and intellectual growth that will prepare them for university transfer. The department also seeks to expand the methods of delivery for its course offerings so that they will be more widely available to a greater cross-section of students throughout the community. Currently, five political science courses are being offered at Santa Ana College on a continuing basis: Introduction to American Government, American Political Thought, Comparative Politics, Identity Politics, and International Relations. While these five broad survey courses may be sufficient for the relatively low percentage of current students who intend to major in political science when transferring to a four-year university, we could increase student interest in the possibility of majoring in the discipline by offering some new courses. One proposed course would involve an
3 introductory course in political theory. Given that political theory courses are commonly offered at UC/CSU campuses, we feel that creating a political theory course in the next few years to be a departmental priority. 2. Progress Toward 2009 Departmental Goals A. Create an Identity Politics Course (ACHIEVED) B. Offer Online Political Science Courses (ACHIEVED) C. Establish a Political Science Resource Center (RESTRUCTURED) A. Identity Politics (POLT 235) was approved by the college s Curriculum Council in 2010 and offered for the first time during Spring Semester POLT 235 is a transferable class for both CSU and UC campuses, required for a Political Science Degree at Santa Ana College, as well as an optional elective for a variety of degrees at Santa Ana College. In addition to establishing a new Identity Politics course, the department also changed its degree requirements for the catalog. Though the degree changes do decrease the number of political science units students need to complete to earn a Political Science Degree, the changes give students more flexibility in course selection by allowing students to choose the political science course they take based on what courses are being offered. B. The department continues to offer at least one online course of Political Science 101 per semester. The department is also open to offering more online courses as budgetary constraints permit. C. In 2009, the department identified the establishment of a Political Science Resource Center as a goal to be achieved by Budgetary constraints have caused this goal to no longer be realistic. Additionally, the plethora of online videos and documentation make this goal moot. Instead of establishing a Political Science Resource Center, the department would like to work toward creating a website where all online resources can be aggregated. This goal will also likely involve funding so the department can pay to access proprietary resources. 3. Proposed Goals A. Establish a Political Theory Course B. Establish an AAT Degree (ACHIEVED AS OF 2013) C. Maintain 90% Retention Rate D. Achieve 70% Pass Rate Across the Department
4 II. Student and Program Success Program Strengths The strength of the Political Science Program is in its focus on developing the critical thinking skills of the students, along with increasing the students awareness of their civic responsibilities. In addition, political science courses are also very effective at encouraging diversity by developing student knowledge of the array of political views throughout the nation and world. These skills are indispensible to student academic success, and they will continue to be crucial skills throughout their professional careers, and citizen life. Political Science 101 is specifically geared toward providing an introduction to politics, with an emphasis on American government. Political Science 200 (Intro to American Political Thought) introduces students to the different political philosophies and ideologies that serve as the foundation to current American political thought. Political Science 201 (Comparative Politics) compares and contrasts different governmental systems around the world. Political Science 220 (International Politics) introduces students to topics concerning foreign relations, by examining causes for war, and models for global peace. Political Science 235 (Identity Politics) provides students with an examination of American politics through the lens of various ethnic groups. Political Science 101 and 200 are also offered at the honors level. All political science courses are geared specifically towards developing the learning outcomes of civic responsibility, thinking and reasoning, and diversity. The department is particularly proud of the fact that all course offerings are transferable to both UC and CSU campuses. In particular, the department is proud that our Political Science 101 course is a graduation requirement at both UC and CSU campuses. The heavy demand and overwhelmingly positive student response indicates that students perceive political science courses as valuable to their academic, professional, and civic lives. Student Demographics Looking at Table 2.1, the demographic breakdown of political science students is generally representative of the SAC student population. With the exception of a slight overrepresentation of Latino students, all other demographic groups appear to be proportionally represented within the program. 1 Given that POLT 101 comprises a large majority of the department s course offerings and that all transfer students must complete POLT 101, it is expected that the department s student population be demographically proportional to the campus at large. Any demographic inconsistencies with the general SAC population can likely be explained by student goals being varied by demographic group. Student Performance As mentioned earlier, the program s greatest strength is in its high retention rates (Table 1.1). No course maintained a retention rate for any semester below 81%, and several courses maintained retention rates 95% and above. The greatest challenge to the 1 57% of SAC students are Latino compared to 68% of enrolled political science students. Refer to Table 2.1 and Appendix A.
5 department is increasing the passing rate among Political Science 101 students. Given that 57% of SAC students are Latino, the 54% pass rate among Latinos enrolled in POLT 101 is a major concern (Table 2.2). Though the relatively high pass rates among Asian and white students (71% and 72%, respectively) enrolled in POLT 101 is generally positive, success among other ethnic groups enrolled in the same courses amplifies the need to investigate and remedy the below average pass rates among Latino students. Student Feedback Student opinion of the program is limited to the data coming from student evaluations of the faculty. Though student evaluations are confidential, all faculty members within the department (including all current adjuncts) have received positive evaluations from the majority of their students. Implicitly, the high enrollment numbers and high retention rates among political science courses indicate that students are generally pleased with the quality of instruction. One common complaint that political science majors have informally expressed is the limited number of non-101 courses offered on a semester basis. In response to this complaint, the department doubled its non-101 course offerings in Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 semesters, and plans to continue this practice in future semesters. Faculty Perceptions of the Program In general, the department faculty believes that it maintains a strong program that offers rigorous courses that are on par with the academic standards of university level political science departments. However, the faculty is increasingly concerned about its ability to maintain these academic standards among a student population that is entering the college without the necessary academic skills (ie: basic skills) required to succeed at the collegiate level. The department faculty is also concerned about whether it program is being properly valued at the college level. Given that all transfer students must complete POLT 101 in order to transfer, the faculty believes that the Political Science Department is as valuable to the college as other large departments such as English and Math. However, the department was forced to cut class offerings in Summer 2012 at a disproportionate level compared to other departments across the campus and within the division. Several sections of POLT 101 (a required class for transfer) were cut, while other less mandatory classes for transfer were not. In the faculty s view, these cuts were not executed in a manner consistent with the college s mission of preparing students for transfer.
6 III. Curriculum. Pedagogy and Innovation Course Offerings The Political Science Department currently offers seven courses: Introduction to American Government (POLT 101), Honors Introduction to American Government (POLT 101H), American Political Thought (POLT 200), Honor American Political Thought (POLT 200H), Comparative Politics (POLT 201), International Relations (POLT 220), and Identity Politics (POLT 235). Introduction to American Government (POLT 101A) offers students a broad introduction to the institutions and processes of the American political system. The honors version of this POLT 101 provides students with the same introductory material, but affords students the opportunity to focus on more in-depth discussions on some of the topics covered in class. American Political Thought (POLT 200) offers students with an introduction to some of the major theorists and mass belief systems/political ideologies that have influence the American political system and culture. Comparative Politics (POLT 201) provides students with a broad overview of the political systems and political cultures of several important and diverse nations around the world. International Relations (POLT 220) offers students an overview of the evolution of international relations, with a special focus on the relationship between the United States and other nations, regions and power blocks. The new Identity Politics (POLT 235) provides students the opportunity to examine American politics through the lens of various ethnic groups. Program Relationship with Student Services The department aims to meet student needs in ways that go beyond course offerings. For many years, the department has recommended that struggling students in Political Science 101 take advantage of the tutorial services offered at the campus Learning Center. One long-time tutor (Kathy Lehman) has tried to visit as many Political Science 101 classrooms as possible to introduce herself, make students aware of the services available, and highlight the high student success rate of those students enrolled in tutorial services (Kathy estimates that eighty percent of students that she has tutored have received a B grade or higher). Beginning in the 2012 Spring Semester, Dr. Philippe Andrade began hosting How to Study workshops for all Political Science 101 students. These workshops have focused on developing the student s note taking skills, exam preparation, and in-class essay writing. These workshops were voluntarily established to address a very noticeable student population taking political science courses that enroll without the necessary academic skills to be successful at the collegiate level. Technological Use Over the last several years, the department has increased its use of technology within its courses. All courses are taught using power-point presentations and multi-media resources. Films and documentaries are frequently used to relate course concepts to contemporary issues. In addition, several instructors within the department use CPS interactive technology that allows students to respond to in-class poll and question by using remote controlled clicker. The different technological resources incorporated
7 into the classroom allow content to be delivered in multiple ways so that students have an increased chance of grasping the material regardless of their specific learning styles. In addition to the technological resources incorporated into the classroom, the department also offers at least one online hybrid course of Political Science 101 per semester. Online courses provide students with an alternative method of delivering course content that serves the needs of less traditional college students. Our increased and varied use of technology has increased the technological competence of our students and created new ways for students to be actively engaged with the course material. Pedagogical Changes Over the last few years, we have also expanded our pedagogy in all of our courses to include more student-collaborative work and more hands-on, skill-learning activities in class. Group projects, student centered powerpoint presentations, and class discussions are common place in all courses offered by the department. Though traditional lectures are necessary to deliver content to the students, all departmental members are working to curtail traditional lectures whenever possible to incorporate more interactive, collaborative learning methods. Grants According to the FTES data provided in Table 3.1, the Political Science Department is the 5 th largest department in the Social Sciences/Humanities Division and 10 th largest academic department in the college ( academic year). Though the department is one of the biggest on the campus, there are only two fulltime faculty members. As a result, all fulltime members of the department believe time and energy devoted to writing grants would compromise time that should be spent devoted to helping our students succeed. IV. Assessment of Conclusions and Recommendations Department Research Philippe Andrade completed and successfully defended his doctoral dissertation in His dissertation titled, The Impact of Acculturation on the Public Policy Attitudes of Latinos is directly pertinent to the large Latino population at Santa Ana College. In addition, his research builds on the breadth of scholarship covered in the Identity Politics course (POLT 235). SLO Assessment The last four years offered the opportunity for the department to assess all of its courses by all of the college s core competencies. The details of these assessments can be viewed by reviewing all of the corresponding Assessment forms (see attached).
8 General SLO Conclusions Student Strengths - Retaining lectured information - Answering written, subjective examination format - Retaining information from the text specified by the instructor Student Weaknesses - Ability to critically evaluate subjective information - Explaining and defending viewpoints different from their own - Analyzing and synthesizing objective information delivered via classroom or text Recommended Changes - Delivering material that facilitates more critical thought and discussion. - Incorporate more basic skills strategies into course material. - Emphasis synthesis and analysis of information in addition to simple retention of information.
9 V. Tables Table 1.1: Grade Distribution & Retention Rates Table 2.1: Pass Rates by Ethnicity & Sex
10 Table 2.2: Grade Distribution by Ethnicity Table 3.1: Social Science Division FTES by Department
11 VI. Appendix Political Science 101 Essay Grading Rubric Civic Knowledge 9 10 Student was able to effectively identify and explain at least 3 principles of American democracy. Student was also able to identify and explain 5 rights guaranteed to citizens in the Constitution Student was able to effectively identify at least 3 principles of American democracy, though student was unable to effectively explain each principle. Student was also able to identify 5 rights guaranteed to citizens in the Constitution, though student was unable to effectively explain details surrounding these rights Student was able to identify some principles of American democracy and some rights guaranteed in the Constitution. However, student was unable to explain details surrounding the identified rights and principles. In addition, student was unable identify the minimum number of required rights and principles to consider their civic knowledge satisfactory Student demonstrated little to no knowledge of any rights or principles rooted in the Constitution. Writing Skills 9 10 Student was able to communicate their thoughts effectively in written form free of grammatical errors Generally, student was able to communicate their thoughts effectively in written form with few grammatical errors Student is generally able to communicate their thoughts in written form, though their writing is filled with grammatical errors and poor sentence structure Student s writing is completely incomprehensible. Critical Thinking 9 10 Student was able to demonstrate analysis and synthesis of objective information in a logical manner Student was able to demonstrate analysis and syntheses of objective information, though their support of their analysis wasn t necessarily logical Student attempted to analyze and synthesize objective information, but was unsuccessful in doing so Student made no attempt to analyze/synthesize the objective information.
12 Diversity 9 10 Student was able to effectively support multiple views surrounding a controversial political issue Student attempted to support and explain different views surrounding a controversial political issue, but was unable to effectively explain more than one view Student effectively explained a specific view surrounding a controversial issue, but did not attempt to explain any contrasting viewpoints Student was unable to effectively explain any viewpoint surrounding a controversial political issue.
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