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Excerpts from Writing Intensive Syllabi

POL 324 Constitutional Law WI
COM 422-601 Public Relations:
GLY 367 Geomorphology WI:
PSY 482 Senior Seminar:

POL 324
Constitutional Law WI
Jerry O’Callaghan

This course is all about cases. We will examine a large number of constitutional cases dealing with important powers of government, e.g., the power of the federal judiciary over state courts, the powers of the president in foreign affairs, the powers of Congress in the areas of civil rights legislation. Active participation in class discussion is essential to getting a good grade. For each class day, you should brief three cases from the case list. A sample of these briefs will count toward your course grade. The sample will be collected on a random basis during the course of the semester. Approximately 10 briefs will be collected in all. Some cases that are on the list are not in the text. Some of these will be available through the reserve desk in the library. Others will be presented by the professor in class.

These are abstracts (no more than one page) of the cases; they contain the basic information necessary to understand what happened in a case. Your briefs are to be based on the case presented to you in the text alone.

This grade is based on two considerations – your ability to present a coherent and ample brief to the class, and your contribution to class discussions. Please note if you do not have the appropriate briefs prepared for class, you should not attend class.

There are two exams, a mid-term and a final. Each will present you with one or more fact situation(s) similar to the disputes you have read about. You will be asked to write a Supreme Court opinion, based on precedent, that decides the case. You will have access to your case briefs during the exams. Old exams from this course will be available from the reserve desk in the library.

One paper (10 – 15 pages) is required. The paper will be an analysis and critique of a constitutional topic based on a number of articles placed on reserve. Students will be graded on three drafts of the paper (see details, below).
Writing Intensive Credit

Paper Grade
The paper will be submitted in 3 drafts, the first will be due at the 29th of October, the 2nd must be handed in by the 15th of November, and the final draft is due on the 1st of December. Each draft will be graded. The 2nd and 3rd drafts, when handed in, must be accompanied by the previous version. The paper grade will be based on this formula: 20% Draft 1; 30% Draft 2; 50% Draft 3.

Guidelines for Case Briefs
The case brief is an abstract/summary of the case; it contains all the essential elements necessary for an understanding of the case. These elements should follow the outline below (Also see appendix D of Chase and Ducat).

Case Name … year … citation (xxUSyy) … page number in text

• The essential events that caused the case. Who, what, when, where, and why
• A brief history of lower court decisions in this case

• Written in question form
• Tell us why the case is being heard
• Emphasis on the constitutional problem

• The answer to the question(s) raised above … should make clear who won

• Majority or otherwise, who wrote the opinion
• Explains why the court decided as it did
• Includes tests/standards used by the court

• If any, who
• Identify how this differs from rationale

• If any, who
• Why he/she/they disagree

• Your personal reference to the significance of this case

Sample Brief

S. Dakota v Dole 1987 483 US 203 p.461

Cg passed a law to encourage the states to have a 21 yr. old minimum drinking age. The law required the loss of some federal highway money if a state did not comply.

S. Dakota allows 19 yr. olds to drink 3.2% beer. It does not comply with the new federal law. It will lose $4m. It sues the fed. Gov’t alleging a violation by Cg of the 21A (states regulate the sale of alcohol) and 10A (reserved powers).

Fed DC dismissed the suit. CA agreed.

Does the law exceed the power of Cg by violating the 10A and/or 21A?

No. The law is valid.

Rationale: (Rehnq)
We do not have to decide here the boundaries of the 21A – Cg has acted under the spending power Art 1 §8. Cg may add conditions to the receipt of federal money.

Spending power is limited: 1) it must be in pursuit of the general welfare, 2) it must not be ambiguous, 3) it must be related to the federal interest in the program, and 4) it must not conflict with other provisions.

The Q here is #4. Our cases tell us that the meaning of #4 (“ind. const. bar”) is that the feds may not use the power to get the states to do something that is itself unconstitutional.
The law passes the #4 test. The loss to the state is small. This is not coercion.


Dissent: (Brennan and O’Connor)
This is not a condition on spending, it’s an attempt to regulate the sale of liquor. That power is given to the states under 21A. For Cg to exercise power like that is a violation of state’s rights.

O’Connor alone:
There is a problem with #3. The minimum drinking age is not sufficiently related to highway construction. If its goal is to make the roads safer, it’s both under-inclusive and over-inclusive. It stops teenagers from drinking when no car is involved and teenagers aren’t the main problem. Cg can spend for the general welfare, but can legislate only “for delegated purposes.”

No discussion of 10A issue.

COM 422-601
Public Relations:
Syed Pasha

Course Objective:
To familiarize students with as many of the following concepts, notions, principles, models, methods, approaches, techniques, tools, skills and practices of public relations as exigencies of time and class endurance and progress will permit.

Writing Component:
Given the fact that this is both a public relations and Writing Intensive course, you must prepare yourself for some fairly serious writing. Let us get organized from day one.

There will be three writing assignments for this class. Each assignment will be a paper of not less than five pages, on the following topics:
• Paper One: Defining Public Relations;
• Paper Two: Writing and Research in Public Relations;
• Paper Three: Choice of topics with prior professor approval:

1. Research in Public Relations;
2. Public Relations Campaigns;
3. Public Relations in the Age of the New Media.
4. Other topics to be specified by professor.
5. Other topics to be selected by students strictly with professor's full prior approval.

Guidelines for Writing Assignments:
Papers must be well-researched, well-supported, well-reasoned, well-organized, well-written, well-presented.

Papers must follow any of the known and accepted styles of writing such as the APA or the MLA.

ALL sources used, including interpersonal sources and class material, must be clearly identified.

Internet sources must be identified by author, title and publication following the APA or the MLA format in addition to providing the appropriate URL – WWW, etc.

Wherever possible, Internet sources must be verified independently.

Papers must be revised and resubmitted, after the professor gives them back to you, for final grade. MEANING: If a paper is not revised and resubmitted, students will not receive a grade for that paper.

Papers will generally be evaluated based on the following considerations: a) Content; b) Writing; c) Style & Presentation.

The “content” portion of the grade will concern the quality and quantity of your research including your sources.

The “writing” portion of the grade will concern the structure, organization and outline of your paper.

The “writing” portion of the grade will also take into account the nature, type and soundness of your writing including such considerations as grammar, vocabulary, sentence construction and transition.

The “writing” portion will also look at the degree to which you are comfortable with the journalistic and public relations forms of writing. For this, see my book.

All papers must have a title page providing all relevant information about the paper, and which, at the same time, looks good. Example: Paper 1: Original, Feb. 10, 1999. Topic: _______, etc.

All revised papers must be carefully and correctly identified and dated. (e.g., Paper 1: Rewrite, Feb. 20, etc.)

Hard copies of all drafts of you papers (revised along with the originals) - must be placed in a folder and made available at the end of the semester in the form of a portfolio for a final review.

GLY 367
Geomorphology WI:
David Barclay

Course Description:
Geomorphology is the study of landforms and landscapes, and the processes that shape them. In this course we will take a process-oriented approach. By this I mean that we will seek to understand the mechanics and operation of a process before we consider how that process can produce a specific landform. Only when we see how processes create landforms can we begin to consider how landscapes develop. This process-oriented approach is particularly useful in environmental geology where geomorphic systems are managed and engineered for human benefit.

Evaluation of Student Performance:
This is a writing intensive class, wherein you will develop and expand your writing skills within the context of geomorphology and geology. Accordingly, there will be three major writing assignments that are equally weighted and which together will comprise 30% of your final grade. The first two assignments will be write-ups related to fieldwork and data analysis, and these will be graded, critiqued and returned to you. The final report will involve you revising the prior assignments and incorporating my comments to produce a final report on all the work accomplished at Onesquathaw and Coeymans creeks.

PSY 482
Senior Seminar:
Dr. Michael D. Berzonsky

In addition to participating in class discussions throughout the semester, everyone will write two papers (a 5-10 page and a 15-20page paper). You will also give two in-class presentations that will be based on the papers.

The first presentation and paper will be based on 2 or 3 journal articles relevant to the topic you select. This presentation/paper should at least explain the nature and importance of the issue you selected.

The second presentation/paper is the major seminar assignment. It will be based on the complete position or review that you develop. The focus or perspective you take is up to you, but you are expected to take a stand. Ideally the first paper will form the basis for the introductory section of the larger paper. Since this is a literature review paper, it should include many up-to-date (1997-2002) journal references, as well as relevant research that was conducted prior to 1997. You may download articles from the Internet, but try to avoid using online references.

The goal of your first presentation will be to inform class members about your topic and perspective. During your second presentation, your task will be to convince the other seminar members that your position is credible. You should have a compelling position that is based on solid evidence and/or sound logical reasoning. Assume you are a lawyer arguing a case (your position) to a jury (the seminar members). What specific points (there should be 3 or 4 at the most) would you have to make to convince the members of the jury? What is the best available evidence that supports your point? (In the interests of intellectual honesty you cannot ignore contradictory data. It needs to be critiqued and explained.) You should prepare and present a non-trivial position (one with at least two plausible sides), but you need to argue it as convincingly as you can.

This is a WI course and at least two drafts of papers are due. By February 15th you should submit the first draft of the 5-8 page paper that introduces and conceptualizes the topic your position will focus on. This paper will be the basis for your first class presentation. I’ll work out a presentation schedule in a few weeks. A revised version of this material should constitute the introduction to your final position paper.

Prior to your presentation, give me a copy of two or three of the key articles you will focus on (including all the references). Also, you need to prepare an outline for your major presentation: If you give them to me at least two days in advance, I will get copies made for the class.

The following is an attempt to indicate the criteria that will be used to evaluate your presentations and papers.

A-Level Work. Requires a sound command of the relevant literature, a well-reasoned analysis of the complexities of the issue, and effective communication and writing. A-level work involves: developing a convincing position based on compelling data, insightful reasoning, and/or relevant examples; offering a focused, logically-structured, and well-argued discussion; expressing ideas clearly and accurately; correctly distinguishing among assumptions, inferences, and data; using relevant data to support the conclusions that are drawn; identifying and counter-arguing alternative explanations; using language fluently and effectively; and demonstrating command of the conventions (grammar, vocabulary selection and usage, sentence structure, paragraph sequencing, and mechanics) of spoken and written English.