The primary focus of this course is the experiences students have with our series of guest speakers. The speakers have been chosen for the diversity of their foreign policy expertise - in government (both U.S. and foreign) and media. Classes with the guest speakers, and their public lectures, form the backbone of this course. Attendance at these events is mandatory. You should take these as opportunities to ask questions and engage in lively dialog. Please do not take a seat in this course if this requirement is a problem for you. The course calendar is available on this web site.
Your interaction with guest speakers in this course should be smart, professional and enthusiastic. Putting it bluntly: guests such as the ones we will meet have many opportunities to visit many other universities. To encourage them to offer their expertise to students like you, they should have a lively, intelligent and - yes - fun experience at Delaware. That is largely up to you. Don't "hang back." Be prepared with questions that interest you and your peers. It's perfectly OK to ask "elementary" questions and to challenge a speaker's views; it's not OK to ask no questions or engage in no discussion. Take advantage of these opportunities. Milk our guest speakers for all they're worth.
In weeks when there is no guest speaker, classes will consist primarily of lectures, discussion and video and multimedia presentations. At these classes, as well as at the guest speaker classes and lectures, questions and discussion from students are very much encouraged. Discussions will draw from class presentations, reading assignments, videos, and class assignments.
Just as in the foreign policy and communication field, independent, analytical and critical thinking is highly valued. So your contribution to class discussion will be reflected in your final grade.
You'll be expected to attend class; it's hard to imagine how learning can take place without your attendance and active participation. If this prospect does not appeal to you, please free your seat for another student. Unexcused absences will result in the automatic lowering of your grade.
To make the class dinners with guest speakers more interesting, informal and to encourage maxium student-speaker conversation, we are limiting the number of people at each dinner to 16. Approximately 10-12 students will attend each dinner; a rotation system will be established early in the semester to assure all students have ample opportunity to converse with our guests.
Dinner assignments will be posted here once they are established during the first weeks of class.
Regardless of whether you participate in any given dinner, all students are required to participate in the reception following the class seminar, and all students are required to participate in the evening speaker events. Students are encouraged to bring a friend to the evening speaker events.
How much you gain from this class will depend in large measure on how well you prime yourself for the foreign policy topics we will discuss with our speakers. Readings are chosen not only to impart information, but also to help you broaden and deepen your understanding of our class discussions, and to help you develop insight into the issues we cover in this course. Specific readings may not be discussed explicitly in class, but to participate effectively in class, with our speakers, and to write the best papers, you will find it critical to complete the readings. You will be pleasantly surprised at the end of the semester at how fluent you become in these topics.
Required readings include a custom-prepared anthology from Foreign Affairs Magazine, which is available exclusively from the Delaware Book Exchange on Main Street, and all or parts of other papers and articles, which are available electronically from the "Readings" page of this web site.
This course draws heavily on current issues in the news media. You are required to keep up with contemporary news by reading The New York Times, and by watching television news broadcasts. Students may subscribe to the Times at discount rates. Students will also want to remain familiar with international news coverage on National Public Radio, PBS (WHYY-TV-12) or one of the domestic networks (ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, CNBC, NBC). Don't rely on essentially local news media such as the News Journal or local TV newscasts for international affairs news. You will find links to a wide variety of international affairs publications, including many published abroad, in the "Readings" page of this web site.
Perhaps the single most important skill in international affairs is thoughtful, insightful, analytical, concise, quality writing. Therefore, such writing is highly valued in this course. Your grade will be very heavily influenced by the quality and the content of your writing.
You should avoid unnecessary verbiage, rhetoric or embellishment. To help keep your writing to-the-point, I may not read beyond the page limit.
A number of writing assignments will be required during the semester, based on guest speaker topics, class discussion and readings. Due dates will be announced in class and are included in the syllabus, which may be periodically updated on the class web site. It is your responsibility to remain up to date with the syllabus on the web. Use the web-based syllabus as your primary course information resource. There will be no final exam or final paper.
Assignments submitted after their due date will receive automatically-reduced grades.
The University of Delaware is committed to developing student computer literacy.
Writing, thinking and class participation (as well as mere attendance) are critical elements of this class. Please remember that (just as in the real-world) timeliness counts; late assignments will automatically lose credit. There will be several papers in this class. Your grades will be based on these elements:
Note: Students missing more than two classes or more than one guest speaker event will automatically experience a grade reduction.
Please recall the admonition at the top of this page about interaction with guest speakers in this course: you should be smart, professional and enthusiastic. At guest speaker seminars, receptions, dinners and public lectures, please dress appropriately (no need to overdo it, but please don't come looking like you just rolled out of bed).
You are expected to observe and uphold the University's code of academic integrity and the rules against plagiarism. Plagiarism is a major, career-killing offense in the communication industry. Plagiarism violations in this course are not treated lightly and will be referred to University authorities in accordance with established university regulations.
Your written work should have a professional appearance. Even your most creative work will suffer from poor writing, spelling and formatting.
Electronic submission of assignments
You are encouraged to submit your assignments electronically, subject to the same deadlines noted on the syllabus. Send them as email attachments. I will confirm receipt of your electronic submissions; do not assume I have received your material until you receive my acknowlegement. Assignments submitted electronically will be returned electronically, with my comments and your grade embedded in them. They will be returned in Microsoft Word format.
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