Fall/Winter Timetable

POL494H1Y L5101

Topics in Politics II



Citizenship is both a right and a responsibility. This course examines the latter: the challenges facing Canadian citizens as they, and their governments, undertake the political art of reaching “yes” among stakeholders who disagree. We explore the deficits of social, civic and political disengagement/exclusion and we do so by unique tools of policy briefings and service-learning [in which each student will work with a host NGO, NPO or government body aimed at articulating or accommodating differences towards concerted action]. This is a pragmatic “learn by doing” course, not a consideration of democratic theory. Service-learning Partners, lectures and guest coaches will impart practical skills of how to do issue analysis and policy briefings for day-to-day governance and citizen participation. They will focus on doable solutions for public figures. POL 494 is well-suited for students who are or want to be involved in the daily possibilities of better governance or participation.


P. Howe, Citizens Adrift; D. Yankelovich, Coming to Public Judgment; R. Putnam, Bowling Alone

Format and Requirements

The course provides a half credit over two terms via: 24 hours of classroom time; and, 20 hours of service-learning [in either the fall or winter term]. Up to 8 hours of additional in-class policy coaching by guests active in the art of politics will be available for bonus marks. Classes will be held most weeks for 1.5 hours. Service-learning is a student’s reflective participation in a community initiative/event for the purpose of testing academic insights. It develops a student’s critical reasoning, self-awareness and civic life-choices. Grades are based on: three service-learning Reflections, Class presentations and two briefing notes on the causes of, and remedies for, diminished citizenship.


14.0 credits including 3.0 credits in POL/ JPA/ JPF/ JPI/ JPR/ JPS/ JRA courses