Dr. Craig W. Allin, Instructor
Meaghan Yamanishi, Consulting Librarian
Laura Farmer & Shawn Doyle, Writing Consultants
Jessica Johanningmeier, Quantitative Consultant
The interactive widget above estimates a wide variety of environmental indicators in real time. Check it out.
On Friday, September 27, 2013, the IPCC released its "Summary for Policy Makers" of its Fifth Assessment Report, the first since 2007. Click here to read the summary. [Note: All graphics referenced in he text are grouped at the end of the summary.] Click the image to visit the IPCC web site.
For regular updates on how this issue plays in Washington, check in with Coral Davenport, the National Journal's Energy & Environment Correspondent.
EDUCATIONAL PRIORITIES AND OUTCOMES
Knowledge: Students will integrate and apply knowledge from disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences to questions of environmental politics and policy.
Inquiry: Students will
respond to the complexities of contemporary and enduring environmental problems using information literacy tools, research skills, creative thinking, and analysis.
Reasoning: Students will evaluate evidence; interpret data; and use logical and statistical problem-solving tools.
Communication: Students will
speak and write clearly, listen and read actively, and engage with others in productive dialogue. Students will present their own work and the work of others both orally and in writing.
Intercultural Literacy: Students will
connect with diverse ideas and with people whose experiences differ from their own and that may be separated from them by time, space, or culture. Students will consider issues of environmental justice in national and global contexts and in intergenerational terms.
Ethical Behavior: Students will
recognize personal, academic, and professional standards and act with integrity.
Vocation: Students will
discover and prepare for the range of environmental opportunities and challenges that await them beyond their college experience.
Feedback: Whether or not you are
asked to complete a standardized course evaluation,
I am interested in your comments and suggestions for
improving the course, the readings, the assignments
and this course description. Feel free to send comments
as you think of them. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Instructor: Craig W. Allin,
Room 113, College Hall. Telephone: Office, (319) 895-4278; Cell, (319) 431-1100. E-mail email@example.com. Appointments may be scheduled with faculty secretary
Cheryl Dake 895-4283, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Classroom: South 300.
Class Hours: Class meets every afternoon from 12:30 -3:00 and some mornings. For details refer to the Course Calendar & Assignments page. It is possible that this class may fall short of the 50 hours of classroom contact normally associated with a four credit-hour course on the OCAAT calendar. It will, nevertheless, more than meet the Department of Education's credit hour requirements, which specify "an amount of student work for a credit hour that reasonably approximates not less than one hour of class and two hours of
out-of-class student work per week over a semester." See the section on Requirements (below) for a rough estimate of the minimum out-of-class effort required by this course (about 120 hours).
Office Hours: If I'm not
in class with you, you can probably find me in my office.
Feel free to make an appointment or just show up.
Core Texts: The following books
are available for purchase at the Cornell College Bookstore.
Each is assigned in its entirety.
Walter A. Rosenbaum.
Environmental Politics and Policy. 9th
Edition. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2013. ISBN: 9781452239965
Norman J. Vig and Michael
E. Kraft, eds. Environmental Policy: New Directions
for the Twenty-First Century. 8th Edition.
Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2012.
Supplementary Texts: The following
books are also available for purchase in the bookstore. The
class will be divided into panels, and each panel will be responsible
for reporting on one book. Do not purchase any of these
books until you have your panel assignment. These books approach environmental politics from sociological, political and economic perspectives. They are selected because they are recent, provocative, relatively short, and relatively inexpensive. Two of the four focus on the politics and policy of energy use and climate change. Panel assignments will be made on the first or second day of the course. I recommend that you think about your preferences before the class starts. (If you are registering for this class to fulfill a requirement for Ethnic Studies, plan on choosing Environmental Refugees.) To find our more about each of the supplementary texts, just click on the book's cover below.
Internet Resources: The Home
Page for the Politics Department contains a wealth of valuable
information including programs and requirements of the Department
of Politics; information about Politics Courses; and research links
for politics, government, and law. There are also free Internet
News Services that can be very helpful if you have your own
computer connected either to the Cornell Network or to an Internet
Service Provider. For this course I recommend the Environmental
News Network at http://www.enn.com/
. You can subscribe for free delivery of environmental news
daily by e-mail. ENN also maintains searchable archives.
Introductory Case Study -- The Politics
of Planetary Health: video on the science and politics of global
warming. This quick start should serve to get us in the mood
for environmental politics and remind us that the stakes are
Introduction to Environmental Politics
-- Using Rosenbaum as our guide, we will explore the
history and structure of environmental politics in the United
States. This is a standard text for courses in environmental
politics and policy. We will read it over a four-day period.
You will not be able to absorb all it has to offer in that short
span of time, but you will get a broad foundation on which to
build. Completing this book quickly will introduce you to the
wide variety of topics that fall within the environmental politics
rubric and introduce a large number of policy issues that you
might want to explore in your individual projects.
Excursions in Environmental Policy -- Panels of students will present
and evaluate the arguments made by authors of our supplementary
texts. This portion of the course will allow us to learn from
each other and to hear from authors representing a variety of
approaches to a variety of issues. During this period you have
no formal reading assignments. If you are wise, you will take
advantage of this time to put major energy into your policy
paper and/or read ahead in the Vig & Kraft book.
Issues of Environmental Policy -- Following
Vig & Kraft, we will explore a variety of issues
in environmental policy for the 21st cenury. This anthology
is often used in graduate as well as undergraduate courses in
environmental policy, and these somewhat more sophisticated
articles will provide an opportunity to refine our understanding
of the policy process and some of the issues raised by it.
Cases on Point -- Students will share the
results of their own individual research and analysis. These
presentations will allow each of us to learn from someone who
has developed relative expertise on an environmental issue of
her/his own choosing. Selected members of the class will evaluate each
- Students are expected to attend all classes and to complete all assignments prior to class time on the day for which they are assigned. You should read carefully and be prepared to discuss all the assignments intelligently. You should also be on the look out for relevant news. One portion of the course grade will reflect the instructor's evaluation of your attendance, participation, and effort. Assigned reading approximates 1,000 pages of fairly technical material, approximately 60 hours including notetaking.
- Each student will participate in a panel report
during the second week of the course. See Group
Study & Report for details. Both the performance
of your group and your contribution to that performance will count for a portion of the course grade. Group meetings, planning, writing, slide preparation, and rehersals will likely consume 10 hours in addition to the required reading.
- There will be a comprehensive final examination
covering all the course's assigned reading and the panel reports. For the purposes of the exam you may bring and use unlimited notes so long as they are composed by you and written in your own hand. Study groups and group preparation for the exam are encouraged, but duplicated or "group notes" may not be used in the exam. Preparation time approximately 5 hours.
- Each student will complete a major research project
on an approved topic. See Individual
Project Assignment for details. To encourage you to exercise your quantitative skills, individual projects that involve original data analysis will receive a grade boost on the initial submission. Bonuses may range from 5 to 20% depending upon the sophistication of the data analysis and its importance to your project. This project is subdivided below with projected minimum hours. Term Project: Research Question and Bibliography = 6 Hours
Term Project: Research and Outline of Contentions = 20 Hours
Term Project: 12 Page Policy Paper = 12 hours
Term Project: PowerPoint and Oral Presentation = 4 Hours
Term Project: Policy Paper Rewrite = 2 Hours
| Classroom Contribution
| Panel Report
| Final Examination
| Policy Paper
| Seminar Report
| Policy Paper Rewrite
Policy Paper & Presentation
"He who knows only his own side of the case, knows
little of that."
--John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)
- To enhance your knowledge of a specific area of environmental
- To enhance the class's knowledge of a specific area of environmental
policy by means of your report.
- To improve your knowledge of research methods and materials
including government documents and specialized indexes.
- To improve your skills in persuasive writing including grammar,
punctuation, spelling, mechanics, usage, and documentation using
a recognized style sheet.
- To improve your writing through your responses to constructive
- To improve your confidence and skill as a public speaker.
Assignment: Your job is to write
a policy paper of 2,500 to 4,000 words in length exclusive of abstract,
illustrations, notes, bibliography, appendices, etc. Your paper
must deal with a significant environmental policy question about
which you have not previously written a college level paper and
which is, or ought to be, on the agenda of American politics at
the national, state, or local level. If in doubt, consult.
Public Policy & Policy Papers:
A "policy" is regular practice or a clear course of action. (E.g.,
it is the policy of Cornell College to issue grades once a month.)
A "public policy" is any policy adopted by a government. (E.g.,
it is the policy of the United States to prohibit hunting in national
parks.) A "policy paper" is a concise document that recommends a
public policy and argues for the adoption of that policy. Your policy
paper--and the seminar report, which will be produced from the same
materials--will be developed through five stages. The deadlines
for each stage are listed on the Course
Calendar and Assignments page.
Stage I -- RESEARCH QUESTION & BIBLIOGRAPHY: Send an e-mail attachment (with a copy addressed to the consulting librarian for social sciences) describing your research question and providing a properly documented working bibliography for that topic.
- Your bibliography will continue to evolve throughout your research and writing, but the working bibliography you submit at this time should demonstrate that you have located and have access to high-quality information relevant to your research question. In most cases your working bibliography should include some mix of scholarly books, articles in scholarly journals, and primary sources such as laws, court cases, census data or polling results. If the sources you can locate are primarily secondary and non-scholarly, i.e., journalistic, seek help in finding better sources or choose a new research question.
Choose one of the approved style sheets and label your working bibliography to indicate which one you have chosen.
This assignment is not graded, but failure to complete it in a timely fashion will negatively affect your class participation grade.
Stage II -- POLICY RECOMMENDATION & CONTENTIONS: Prepare a document stating your policy recommendation with precision and setting forth an outline of the contentions you intend to make for it. Print two copies and bring them to your individual paper conference on Monday.
- The policy recommendation is the paper's thesis. The outline of contentions previews your paper's anticipated structure.
- Please note that articulating a good policy recommendation requires that you have done the research required to answer your research question with some specificity. For example: "The wolves that have been introduced to Yellowstone National Park should have the full protection of the Endangered Species Act as they spread beyond the park's boundaries."
- Remember your policy recommendation must be within the legal power of some officer, agency or institution of national, state, or local government in the United States.
- This is the point at which trouble most often arises, so before you submit your policy recommendation and contentions, examine them carefully using the criteria set forth in Getting from Research Question & Bibliography to Policy Proposal & Contentions.
- Before you organize your contentions into an outline, consult A Good Argument Is a Hierarchy of Contentions.
- This assignment is not graded, but failure to complete it in a timely fashion will negatively affect your class participation grade.
Stage III -- POLICY PAPER: Send an e-mail attachment presenting your recommendation and supporting arguments in a formal paper with appropriate manuscript format, proper citations, etc. Remember, you are being asked to take a position and make a case for it. A good policy paper consists of a clear policy recommendation supported by strong arguments supported by unimpeachable evidence. A good policy paper will be:
- Persuasive: You must state a conclusion and back that conclusion with reasoned argument. Your mission is to persuade the reader, and the better the argument, the higher the probability of success.
- Well Researched: Your arguments must be firmly rooted in careful research. You must have a command of the relevant facts. You must understand your own position, the positions of those with whom you disagree, and the relationship of the facts to each.
- Concise: A good policy papers is not always brief, but it must be concise. That means no padding and no B.S. The typical audience for a policy paper is a judge, a corporate executive, or a high government official. If your policy paper does not get to the point quickly and move the argument forward relentlessly, you are unlikely to get and hold the attention of your target audience. If you want to persuade a busy person, do not waste her time. The assigned length of your paper is short in part to force you to be concise. If you don't have to struggle some to reduce your arguments and evidence to the number of words permitted, you probably have not done the research you should have done.
- Hierarchically Organized: It will organize the arguments to be made into the strongest possible hierarchy of contentions. Refer again to A Good Argument Is a Hierarchy of Contentions.
- Appropriately Documented: Documentation is important for both ethical and practical reasons. Ethically, documentation gives credit where credit is due. Practically, documentation enhances the credibility of your work by demonstrating its reliance on and relationship with credible sources of information. I expect you to use one of the approved styles of documentation and to follow it with care throughout your paper.
- Well Written: I will be looking for clear organization of the ideas and arguments; effective use of paragraphs, and subheadings if you like, to orient the reader; good transitions from one part of the text to the next; a conclusion that is both substantive and relevant; and sound grammar, punctuation, spelling and usage.
- Professionally Presented: I will also be looking for a paper that has all its component parts appropriately formatted, in proper order, and in the form of a single e-mail attachment.
Consult POLICY PAPERS: How to Succeed for more detailed instructions.
For a sample of a real policy paper written by a real Cornell student that earned a grade of A, please click here.
Stage IV -- Policy Presentation:
Your research and recommendation will also be shared with the
class in the form of a seminar report. You will have 15 minutes
to make your presentation. You will not have sufficient time
to read your paper, nor would it be appropriate to do so. You
will want to rework your material, including text and illustrations
(if any), for the most effective possible oral presentation.
PRESENTATION: How to Succeed.
will provide you with critiques of your oral presentation. So
Note: the Cornell College Student Symposium is an excellent
opportunity to showcase your best work to a larger and more
diverse audience. It also looks good on your resume. If you have made yourself proud on this assignment, consider submitting your project
for next year's symposium. You've already written the abstract and prepared
the oral presentation! Consult the Student
Symposium web site for deadlines and details.
Stage V -- Policy Paper Rewrite: After receiving
a written critique of your policy paper, you will rewrite and
resubmit the paper making as many improvements in substance
and presentation as you can manage. The rewrite should be better
than the original paper. After all, you will have had the benefit
of expert editorial advice. As a practical matter, a conscientious
effort to address the technical problems that have been identified
in your paper will preserve your grade. More substantive improvements
will enhance your grade.