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English 7765 Spring 05

Dr. Catherine F. Smith, Instructor




Course Goals

  1. To prepare you to communicate clearly, accurately, concisely, credibly, and ethically as a professional or as an active citizen in public policy making
  2. To provide you with skills, strategies, and conceptual knowledge necessary for performing a variety of communication and research tasks related to public policy
  3. To help you understand the relationships among public discourse, professional or civic roles, audience and purpose, form and content, and how these relationships function in particular policy contexts and communication situations
  4. To give you practice in researching, writing, speaking, and critically reflecting as a participant in democratic public processes
  5. To improve your public communication skills.

Course Projects and Evaluation




Semester Grade


Problem definition




Public deliberation




Critical inquiry




Contribution to collective achivement




Total points possible





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This course is designed for progressive learning. Assignments build on each other sequentially. It is important, therefore, for each and all to follow the schedule and work at the pace indicated.

Activities and readings will be updated throughout the semester--not every week, but often. Check the schedule for updates regularly by noon on Mondays, and occasionally throughout a week to make sure you are current.





Week 1



Course Overview



The Public Policy Process, Scenario

Communicating in the Policy Process: Introduction, Standards, Participants

USA Today: Military presses to exempt millions of acres from environmental laws

Introductions and reading responses by 5 pm 1/12


Week 2


Problem Definition



Framing the Problem: Introduction

Example 4: Military Pay


Brief problem description by 5 pm 1/13

Week 3


Problem Definition


A general method of communicating in the policy process

Interim problem description by 5 pm 1/21

Week 4


Problem definition


Knowing the Record: Introduction


How to Conduct Legislative Research and Write a Legislative History


Law Librarian Society of the District of Columbia (LLSDC) Legislative Sourcebook


Week 5






Week 6


Problem definition



Week 7


Problem definition



Legislative history report by 5 pm 2/17

Week 8


Problem definition


Knowing the Arguments: Introduction


How to argue



Argument outline by 5 pm 2/24

Week 9





Drafts to group and instructor by 5 pm 3/3

Feedback to writer by 5 pm 3/5

Week 10





Problem report plus related document by 5 pm 3/10

Spring Break



Week 11


Public deliberation


Providing Testimony: Introduction


How to testify in government public hearings




How to ask for or propose action on behalf of a group: Introduction


Task #2


Week 12


Public deliberation



Week 13


Public deliberation



Writing for speaking, and (simulated) interaction products by 5 pm 4/7

Week 14





Critical inquiry



Selections from D. Ritz (ed), Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy

Discussions due as assigned


Week 15


Critical inquiry



Week 16


Self-assessment and course review


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Course Policies

Submitting Projects

Quick Summary

* Due dates on Schedule

* Assignment products restricted to suggested word counts or (if no suggested word count) three (3) pages of serif 11 point type, space and a half, one inch margins, document (.doc) file format

* Suggested file name: course number (65) + your initials+ project number + product name abbreviation+ .doc (for example, 65cfs1probdef.doc is how I would name my submission for Project 1, problem definition)

* Submission by method assigned (see assignments for method of submission)

All projects are due by 5 pm on the date indicated. Justified extensions will be granted only for projects 1 and 2. No extensions will be granted for project 3.

Interim reports will not be accepted late. Extensions will not be granted for interim reports.

Projects 1 and 2, without extension, will be accepted up to 24 hours late with a penalty of 5 points assessed.  All late projects, with or without an extension, must be presented to the instructor and must be accompanied by a memo indicating the reasons for the late submission and, if applicable, the student's acknowledgment of the penalty process. If this procedure is not followed, the project will not be accepted.

All projects must be submitted to complete the course.

All work must be done during Spring 05 semester. Except for unavoidable emergency, no Incompletes will be given.

No Resubmitting Projects

After they are evaluated, projects may not be resubmitted to improve an original evaluation. However, you should feel free to talk with me about your project while you are working on it. I am available to meet with you during regular office hours (online and ftf) and at other times by appointment. You can also reach me by email Monday-Friday (


Since this is an electronic course, we will NOT hold regularly scheduled classes. However, I do expect everyone to take an active role in any online discussions that evolve during the term. I also strongly encourage you to visit me during office hours to discuss projects and course material.

Access to Resources

Some links on this website access resources outside of the East Carolina University community. These resources have been selected for their educational value and their use does not imply endorsement of any products, services, or opinions found in these resources. Further, neither East Carolina University nor any faculty member assumes any responsibility for either the content or the accessibility of these resources.

Academic Honesty

In this course, plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty may result, at the instructor's discretion, in an evaluation of zero (0) points for the project involved with no chance for resubmission. If you are uncertain about whether something you are doing might be considered plagiarism, ask the instructor before you complete the work in question.

East Carolina University and the Americans with Disabilities Act

East Carolina University and this course seek to comply fully with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Students requesting accommodations based on a covered disability must go to the Department for Disability Support Services, Brewster A-114, to verify the disability before any accommodations can occur. The telephone number is 252-328-679. At your earliest opportunity, talk with the instructor, too.

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Required purchase: Dean Ritz, ed (2003). Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy (published by Project on Corporations, Law, and Demoracy)

Optional purchase: Karen Hartman and Ernest Ackermann (2005), Searching and Researching on the Internet and World Wide Web (published by Franklin, Beedle & Associates)

Both books can be purchased at ECU's Campus Bookstore , the University Book Exchange, or online book sellers

Access other required materials through the course website

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