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English 7765 (001/601) Spring 06

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 practice in using 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, communication, rhetoric, and democratic governance

Course Projects and Evaluation




Semester Grade


Problem definition




Public deliberation




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, 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 and related scenarios

Communicating in the Policy Process: Introduction, Standards, Participants

(Smith, ch1 and 2; pp. 1-18)


Stone, "Introduction," ch 1 "Market and Polis," "Policy Paradox in Action"

(pp. 1-34, 384-414).


Introductions and responses to week 1 readings by 9 pm 1/13 (B'board discussion, main forum)


Week 2


Problem Definition



Framing the Problem: Introduction

(Smith, ch 3, pp.19-41)


Stone, Part III "Problems" (pp. 137-232).


Example 4: Military Pay


Responses to week 2 readings by 9 pm 1/20 (B'bd discussion, main forum)





Week 3


Problem Definition


Knowing the Record: Introduction

How to Conduct Legislative Research and Write a Legislative History

(Smith, ch 4, pp. 42-61)

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

Preliminary problem description by 9 pm 1/23 (B'board, digital drop box)

Week 4


Problem definition




Week 5






Week 6


Problem definition


  Drafts of legislative history by 9 pm 2/ 13 (B'board discussion, small group forum)

Week 7


Problem definition


A general method of communicating in the policy process

(Smith, ch 2, pp. 8-18)

Knowing the Arguments: Introduction

(Smith, ch. 5, pp. 62-69)


Stone, Part II Goals (pp. 39-130)


Legislative history report by 9 pm 2/20

(digital drop box)


Week 8


Problem definition


Williams (to be assigned)

Argument outline by 9 pm 2/28 (small group forum)

Response to Weeks 7 and 8 readings by 9 pm 3/2 (new forum: policy argument)

Week 9


Transition to public deliberation


Congressional hearings

Problem definition by 9 pm 3/6 (digital drop box, and small group forum)

Spring Break



Week 10


Public deliberation


Providing Testimony

Requesting Action

(Smith, ch. 8 and 6, pp. 111-119 and 76-93)

Observe hearings (C-SPAN and clips in Video Resources, this website)

Post comments on hearings (C-SPAN and clips on website) 3/22 and 3/25

Week 11


Public deliberation


Research committee with jurisdiction for your problem

Observe hearings by that committee

Role-play (choose characters for hearings)

Post comments on hearings 3/31

Post statement drafts 4/3

Week 12


Public deliberation


Read Williams,

as assigned

Peer edit and revise drafts

Week 13





Public deliberation



As assigned

Senate hearing

(post between 7 am and 10 pm each day)

Week 14


Public deliberation


As assigned

House of Representatives hearing

(post between 7 am and 10 pm each day)

Week 15


Evaluate and debrief


Post responses in evaluation forum


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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 9 pm on the date indicated. No extended deadlines without prior permission. Work submitted late without permission will be penalized, or not accepted, at the instructor's discretion.

All projects must be submitted to complete the course.

All work must be done during Spring 06 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 grade. However, you are encouraged to talk with me while you are working on projects. I am available to meet with you during regular office hours (tba, online and ftf) and at other times by appointment. You can also reach me by email Monday-Friday (


Since this is a web-based course, we will NOT hold regularly scheduled classes. However, I do expect everyone to take an active role in 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 texts (will use throughout the course):

- Smith, Catherine (2005). Writing Public Policy (Oxford UP)

- Stone, Deborah (2002).  Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making, rev. ed (Norton)

- Williams, Joseph (2002).  Basics of Clarity and Grace , 2d ed.

- a copy of the US and NC constitutions (widely available online)


Optional texts (will augment some assignments with voluntary additional reading; if recommended for your particular project, according to discussions we’ll have at the time, you may acquire by borrowing or buying):

- Clemons and McBeth (2001). Public Policy Praxis: Theory and Pragmatism, a Case Approach (Prentice Hall)

- Fairclough, Norman (2001).  Language and Power, 2d ed. (Pearson)

- Ritz, Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy (Apex, published for Project on Corporations, Law, and Democracy).

Access other required materials through the course website

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