Civics

In an age when civic knowledge is waning—and when social media can instantly spread false information on a grand scale—the study of civics has never been more vital.

The study of civics can help us understand what rights, duties and protections we have as citizens, how government works, and how we can participate in our government to make it work better for the people it represents. 

At a College where open discourse is encouraged, civics teaches students that they can have differences of opinions on society’s pressing issues, but maintain respect for one another. The certificate program in Civics covers multiple disciplines, including political science, history, education and sociology and requires students to experience civic engagement in action through attendance at legislative sessions, ceremonies, workshops and more.

Required Courses:

  • HIST1106 America Since 1877
  • POLSC1201 Introduction to American Government and Politics
  • SOC1105 Major Institutions in US Society

Students would also be required to attend two experiences/events and write a one to two-page reflection piece on each event. These reflection pieces would be reviewed by a member of the committee and be a requirement to begin the 4000-level experiential component:

  • Court case
  • Lobbying Day at the State House
  • School Board Meeting
  • Naturalization ceremony
  • Citizenship workshop
  • Legislative session

One of the following:

  • IDS4178 Independent Study (with any member of the Civics program)
  • IDS4194 Internship (within the School of Education, for example, tutoring individuals going through the naturalization process)

Students are encouraged to take a few of the courses from the list below, although none are required.

  • EDUC1111 The Great American Experiment
  • HIST1105 America to 1877
  • HIST2105 America since the 1960's
  • POLSC2228 State and Local Government
  • POLSC3607 Constitutional Law
  • POLSC3201 Public Policy/Congress/Leg
  • POLSC3202 The American Presidency

Upon the completion of the Civics certificate, student will:

  • Understand the structure of U.S. government, including the federalist system, the three branches of government, and the Electoral College.
  • Recognize the historical factors that led to the development of the system as it stands, including the role of slavery.
  • Examine how demographics, including gender, race, ethnicity, age, social class, and geography, have historically and through today influenced the system of government.
  • Experience in a hands-on way how all levels of government influence our daily lives.

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Featured Faculty: Petros Vamvakas

Petros Vamvakas is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Latin American Studies, Middle East Studies and Peace Studies Programs. His work focuses on security and democratization, as well as issues related to identity and race in politics throughout the Americas. As part of his teaching, he has escorted groups of students to Crete, Greece, and will be bringing a group of students to Cuba.

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