College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department of History and Political Science

Undergraduate Course Syllabus
Spring 2012

In preparing this syllabus, let me acknowledge—up front—how much I have benefitted from ideas contained in the syllabi of my department colleagues, particularly those by Dan Palm, Bryan Lamkin, and Brad Hale.

Section A. Course Information

(#11054) (Section 01) 11:25-12:50 a.m. TR Wilden 104

Section B. Faculty Information

My Name and Title:

David E. Lambert, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History

My Office Location and Hours:

I will do my best to get to know you in class, but hope you will want to meet with me at other times.

My office is located on the first floor (Room #124) of the Ronald Building on the East Campus.

My office hours will be on Wednesdays from 2:00-3:30 p.m. and by appointment (I live very close to campus and can be here quickly if you need to see me).

Contact Information:

My office phone number is 626-815-6000, ext. 3341, but I do not check that phone for messages. Instead, please feel free to call me at my home: (626) 335-4787. Try to call between 8AM & 8PM.

My email address is

Our office fax number is 626-815-3868.

Section C. University Information

University Mission Statement

Azusa Pacific University is an evangelical Christian community of disciples and scholars who seek to advance the work of God in the world through academic excellence in liberal arts and professional programs of higher education that encourage you to develop a Christian perspective of truth and life.

History and Political Science Department Mission Statement

The mission of the History and Political Science Department is to provide you with knowledge of the recorded past; to develop your thinking, speaking, reading, and writing skills; to cultivate your personal, spiritual, and civic character; and to prepare you for a lifetime of learning.

Section D. Course Information

[Description, Content, Methods of Intruction]

Course Catalog Description

POLI 390 History and Politics of the Non-Western World (3)
Spring 2012 topic: Mexico

This course offers an overview of historical and political patterns in one pre-announced selected area of the non-Western developing world. The course may be repeated for credit as the topic varies.

Course Goals
We all need to learn to read carefully. Close reading can actually help our writing: topic sentences, prose style, transitions, punctuation. Our course, and therefore your reading, should focus on the following:

1) Who were the people?

History (or HERstory) amounts to using a reverse time capsule to peek in on how people lived their lives. Newspapers are a first draft of that story. What is to us an historical event was for them usually just the daily news. They were living their lives, without knowing the future outcomes.

2) Where are the places?

I believe strongly in the value of knowing geography. We will use Google Earth extensively.

3) What were the events?

I tend to emphasize political/diplomatic/military aspects of history, so I will build the semester around big events: wars, recessions, elections. No need to remember dates as such but it is critical to be aware of chronology so we can determine cause and effect relationships.

4) What were the problems (as viewed by each player) and how were they handled?

You are welcome to have your own emotional position as a bottom line, but I want you to be able to analyze dispassionately as if you were training to be a lawyer and argue either prosecution or defense.

Methods of Instruction

A number of years ago, I was born again as a Christian. Recently, I have had a rebirth in my approach to teaching, trying to move from a lecturing, cover-the-material teacher to an approach in which we use our laptops, work often in small groups, and practice analytical skills.

I hope to achieve a balance between the hard work we do in class and what you should do outside of class (close to 2 hours outside of class for each hour of class).

Section E. Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes: Mastery of the material covered in this course will enable you to:

Describe the major historical themes, events, and personalities in U.S. history during the colonial era.

Gaining factual knowledge (terminology, classifications, methods, trends).

Locate, interpret and use methodologies useful to critique issues in U.S. history.

Learning fundamental principles, generalizations, or theories.

Identify and use quality primary and secondary resources needed to understand the issues in the colonial era.

Learning how to find and use resources for answering questions or solving problems.

Identify and critique the variety of Christian responses to problems in U.S history during this period.

Learning to analyze and critically evaluate ideas, arguments, and points of view

As we proceed through this semester together, I will give you many content-based goals tied to our course.

Section F. Course Goals

I am pretty well educated in a professorial way. I have a B.A. in International Affairs from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, an M.A in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.B.A. in Finance and International Business from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and a Ph.D. in U.S. History from the Claremont Graduate University. But because of my somewhat eclectic background and varied military and executive experiences prior to becoming a professor, I have goals—broader than just the academic pursuit of the who, what, and when of history per se—that I hope we will achieve this term.

Thomas L. Friedman's work [The World is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century (New York: Picador, 2007), 308-324] helped me decide upon several of these goals. He underlines the importance of being flexible over our career and taking away from our college years a facility for 1) learning how to learn, 2) understanding in a deeper way how to navigate the web (to this end, we will work through Appendix 4 on various ways to employ Google efficiently and to use various databases), and 3) increasing our intellectual curiosity and passion for learning. Though I will try to role model each of these desired characteristics, I can't be successful at it unless you yourself take responsibility for your own learning by setting challenging goals for this course (and for your career).

Section G: Text

No text required.

See Learning Professor wiki for course assignments:

Section H. Recommendations

For a more extensive list of recommended books and websites, consult Section N below.

Section I: Course Calendar

CAVEAT: The course schedule, topics, evaluation, and assignments may be changed at the instructor’s discretion.

I am blending the calendar and the topics to be covered into one section (J)

Section J: Assignments

Daily 250-word reactions are required for MWF classes (500-word reactions for TR classes).

A reaction is due even if you missed class.

These reactions will combine the assessment outcomes that would normally be fulfilled by quizzes, exams, and longer paper assignments.

I. Course Calendar

CAVEAT: The course schedule, topics, evaluation, and assignments may be changed at the instructor’s discretion.



500-words (minimum) per reaction

1. Check the format of your page.

2. Please put the most recent reaction on top.

3. Separate each reaction with a horizontal line.

4. If you didn't do an entry, put the title in anyway and leave the rest blank.

5. Please title each entry (like the examples below) with the reaction number, the day of the week, the date, and the topic:

Reaction #1 Tuesday 1/17

Reaction #2 Thursday 1/19

Reaction #3 Tuesday 1/24

Week #1

Tuesday 1/10

Thursday 1/12

Week #2

Reaction #1 Tuesday 1/17

Reaction #2 Thursday 1/19

Week #3

Reaction #3 Tuesday 1/24

Reaction #4 Thursday 1/26

Week #4

Reaction #5 Tuesday 1/31

Reaction #6 Thursday 2/2

Week #5

Reaction #7 Tuesday 2/7

Reaction #8 Thursday 2/9

Week #6

Reaction #9 Tuesday 2/14

Reaction #10 Thursday 2/16

Week #7

Reaction #11 Tuesday 2/21

Reaction #12 Thursday 2/23

Week #8

Reaction #13 Tuesday 2/28

Reaction #14 Thursday 3/1

Week #9

Reaction #15 Tuesday 3/6

Reaction #16 Thursday 3/8

Week #10

Reaction #17 Tuesday 3/13

Reaction #18 Thursday 3/15

Week #11

Reaction #19 Tuesday 3/20

Reaction #20 Thursday 3/22

Week #12

Reaction #21 Tuesday 3/27

Reaction #22 Thursday 3/29

Week #13

No Reactions Required

Easter Holiday Week (4/2-4/6)

Week #14

Reaction #23 Tuesday 4/10

Reaction #24 Thursday 4/12

Week #15

Reaction #25 Tuesday 4/17

Reaction #26 Thursday 4/19

Section K: Evaluation

A constantly-updated version of this section is posted on The Learning Professor wiki:

Full text of this wikipage is blended in below

1. Factors contributing to final grade:

a. Wiki Portfolio

Your grade in this course will be determined by your class participation and your portfolio. Your portfolio is the sum of daily reactions posted to your personal wiki page.

It is important both how hard and how well you have worked on your personal wiki page this term.

Quantity counts. I will observe how much you have written over the course of the semester.

We are using these daily reflections as a substitute for exams and term papers.

Your reflections should give evidence that you are thinking about the issues. Record what impresses you, troubles you, differs from what you thought before, connects to current real world issues, or influences your spiritual walk.

Quality counts. I will assess your reactions on the quality and depth of your thinking as well as on the correctness and clarity of your prose.

b. Classroom attitude

First of all, come to class. You can't participate if you are not present. Success in life is often merely showing up.

Second, come with your proper tools each time: You will be docked half an unexcused absence if you come to class without your required materials, principally your laptop. Your laptop is required for this course.

A word about laptops. Our laptops are to enhance learning. Excessive dinging around with it will grieve the Holy Spirit (and me) and will warrant half an unexcused absence. All of us need to be faithful in appropriately using our laptops during class time. I don't want to have to spy on you but hope to count on you not to be using your laptop to do email or surf the web. Conduct yourselves so that I can feel confident that you (and your mates) are working away appropriately even if I am not watching. [Note the reference to eye-service in both Ephesians 6:5-6 (NAS) and Colossians 3:22 (NAS).]

Third, do something once you are here. Your class participation will make the difference between an "A" and a non-A. Most of my grading of you is on-going, as I observe you day after day in class. Verbally and non-verbally, demonstrate enthusiasm and a positive attitude. Look toward me and make eye contact periodically. When you look continually at your computer when I am talking, I question—perhaps unfairly to you—what you are doing.

Demonstrate a positive attitude toward whatever feedback I may provide. Aim to get better, not bitter.

Even if you think you are done with what has been assigned for the class period, keep yourself legitimately busy until dismissal. Return to websites we used during prior class periods.

2. Grading criteria:

Where necessary, I may provide an even more specific grading rubric, but the following general criteria will suffice for our holistic semester assessment.

"A" work - Outstanding
Reflects mastery of the subject and outstanding skills in analysis. It demonstrates a thorough command of problems, issues, context, and evidence. "A" work presents an insightful and thought-provoking evaluation of material with clarity, accuracy, precision, and elegance, whether in written or oral work.

"B" work – Above Average
Reflects a very good comprehension of the material and good skills in analysis. It demonstrates a solid understanding of problems, issues, context, and evidence. "B" work presents sound analysis and accomplished use of evidence with clarity and accuracy, whether in written or oral work.

"C" work - Average
Reflects an adequate comprehension of the material and acceptable analysis. It demonstrates a capable understanding of problems, issues, context, and evidence. "C” work presents analysis and evidence competently, whether in written or oral work.

"D" work – Below Average
Reflects work that is below average either because some aspect of the assignment has not been fulfilled or because a preponderance of errors (more than one or two per page) interferes with clear communication. A "D" may also indicate failure to follow directions, failure to follow specific recommendations, or failure to demonstrate personal effort and improvement.”

"F" work – Not Acceptable
Reflects work that is not acceptable, either because the student did not complete the assignments as directed, or because the level of performance is below an acceptable level for college work.

3. Grading scale:


Section L: Course Policies

1. General policies

a) Class attendance

Attendance is required and will be taken. You are allowed three unexcused absences for MWF classes (2 for TR classes) without consequences. After those unexcused absences, your grade will be reduced for each unexcused absence. An excused absence (i.e. medical, family emergency, university business) must be properly documented by an acceptable authority. When possible, you should inform me of an anticipated absence in advance.

Please try to be in class on time. Excessive tardiness (more than 10 minutes late) will be considered half an unexcused absence. If other responsibilities require you to be tardy on a regular basis, you should discuss the matter with me by the end of the first full week of class.

b) Incompletes

Only in rare instances (medical reasons) will I be willing to accept a request for an incomplete. You should plan to finish your course requirements within the parameters of this semester.

c) Extra Credit

Normally, extra credit work is not accepted. On occasion, however, I may offer limited bonus points for your attendance at various academic functions such as lectures, seminars, and the Common Day of Learning.

2. Academic Integrity Policy

The mission of Azusa Pacific University includes cultivating in each student not only the academic skills that are required for a university degree, but also the characteristics of academic integrity that are integral to a sound Christian education. It is therefore part of the mission of the university to nurture in each student a sense of moral responsibility consistent with the biblical teachings of honesty and accountability. Furthermore, a breach of academic integrity is viewed not merely as a private matter between the student and an instructor but rather as an act which is fundamentally inconsistent with the purpose and mission of the entire university. A complete copy of the Academic Integrity Policy is available in the Office of Student Life, the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Programs, and online.

Both the expectations for this course and the consequences for violations of academic integrity are consistent with those outlined in the academic integrity policy.

3. University and Department Policies

All university and departmental policies affecting student work, appeals, and grievances, as outlined in the Undergraduate Catalog will apply, unless otherwise indicated in this syllabus.

Section M: Support Services for Students with Disabilities

Students in this course who have a disability that might prevent them from fully demonstrating their abilities should meet with an advisor in the Learning Enrichment Center (ext. 3849) as soon as possible to initiate disability verification and discuss accommodations that may be necessary to ensure full participation in the successful completion of course requirements.

Section N (1): Bibliography

Additional sources are available on the specific wiki pages used for the class.

N (2). Webliography

Web links are available on The Learning Professor wiki and will not be repeated here in the syllabus.

N (3) The Learning Professor

The following books have contributed to my teaching epiphany:

Thomas Angelo and Patricia Cross. Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers.
Ken Bain. What the Best College Teacher's Do.
John Bean. Engaging Ideas: The Professor's Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom.
Suzie Boss and Jane Krauss. Reinventing Project-Based Learning: Your Field Guide to Real-World Projects in the Digital Age.
Stephen Brookfield and Stephen Preskill. Discussion as a Way of Teaching.
Barbara Gross Davis. Tools for Teaching.
Bette LaSere Erickson, Calvin B. Peters, and Diane Weltner Strommer. Teaching First-Year College Students.
Peter Filene. The Joy of Teaching: A Practical Guide for New College Instructors.
Donald Finkel. Teaching with Your Mouth Shut.
Joyce Kinkead, ed. Valuing and Supporting Undergraduate Research.
James Lang. Life on the Tenure Track: Lessons from the First Year.
James Lang. On Course: A Week-by-Week Guide to Your First Semester of College Teaching.
Richard Light. Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds.
Joseph Lowman. Mastering the Techniques of College Teaching.
Wilbert McKeachie. Teaching Tips. 12th ed. 2005.
Linda B. Nilson. Teaching at its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors.
Linda Nilson and Barbara Weaver. Enhancing Learning with Laptops in the Classroom.
Parker Palmer. The Courage to Teach.
Jay Parini. The Art of Teaching.
Justin Reich and Thomas Daccord. Best Ideas for Teaching with Technology: A Practical Guide by Teachers, for Teachers.
Will Richardson. Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms.
Michael P. Sauers. Blogging and RSS: A Librarian's Guide.
Dannelle Steven and Antonia Levi. Introduction to Rubrics.
Barbara Walvoord. Teaching and Learning in College Introductory Religion Courses.
Barbara Walvoord and Virginia Johnson Anderson. Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and Assessment.
David Warlick. Classroom Blogging: A Teacher's Guide to Blogs, Wikis, and other Tools that are Shaping a New Information Landscape.



I chose to title my wiki "THE LEARNING PROFESSOR" to underscore how I approach my own life.

I offer myself to you, my dear students, as a role model for what I encourage you to be: passionate about your career and a self-directed learner for the rest of your life.

My approach--both to the format of our course and how I assess your overall semester performance--emphasizes behavioral aspects crucial to your future success:

a. You yourself must set your own high standards and drive hard to reach them.

b. Hard work alone is not sufficient: how you come across to your bosses, colleagues, and clients is almost as crucial.


1) My goal is to be your coach, friend, and mentor, but not be a cop.

See the article by Professor Peter Kakela (Michigan State University) at

In that ideal world, we would not have grades.

2) Yet I must award grades.

3) In the grades I award, I want to act justly and be merciful .

a. Micah 6:8 "And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

b. Such a just and merciful approach might well argue that everyone should get a high grade. I wish.

4) Grade inflation is an issue on college campuses across the nation.

I must take into account the admonitions about grade inflation from the Dean of our College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as well as from the chair of the Department of History and Political Science.

5) So I face a conflict.

6) This excellent article from the New York Times concerning student grade expectations illustrates that conflict:

a. "Student Expectations Seen as Causing Grade Disputes"

b. On the one hand, students want an "A"; on the other hand, many professors often feel that a "C" should be the default grade.

7) How do I personally try to resolve the dilemma?

I choose to use a "B" as my default grade.


Let this be your motto: "Be the kind of student in this course that you as a teacher would want your own students to be." [I borrowed this from Paul Kress, a long-time colleague and great friend.]

1) Your semester grade is not so much about the grade I give you.

Your grade will be what YOU have earned.

Your grade is based on your own effort and consistency over the course of the entire semester.

What you do in our course will be quite visible (to me and to your classmates as well):

a. your personal wiki page (your "portfolio")

b. your contribution to our class time.

2) Our course differs from others you are taking:

a. The pacing is different.

b. I ask you to work all throughout the semester.

c. Our course is more like going to work each day. It won't appear to have many big "ups and downs."

As in life, just showing up is essential.

NOTE: Excess absences (more than 3 in MWF classes and more than 2 in TTh classes) can push your grade lower.

3) Remember: You are not being asked to take exams or write a term paper.

4) What you learn over the course of this entire college semester will be demonstrated by the reactions on your wiki page.

5) Those reactions should demonstrate depth of thought at a college level and a semester-long engagement with the material.


1) I will evaluate the sum total (a holistic grading of your wiki page, your entire portfolio as it were) of your reactions.

2) I can't possibly read everything you put on your wiki page. (I have at least 100 students each semester, each writing the equivalent of 40 typewritten pages.)

Refer to this excellent article from the University of Hawaii at Manoa Writing Program:

"Tips for Teachers of Writing-Intensive Classes"

Scroll all the way to the bottom to "Tips for Saving Time."

Notice: Teachers don't need to read everything that students write for a course.


The semester grade is a holistic one, not just a mechanical calculation.

The following four components comprise the overall grade:

The general weights are guidelines.


Note: Reactions are required even if you miss class.

Characteristics of "Good" reactions:

1) Reactions that go beyond just merely reciting what happened.

2) Reactions that are thoughtful and evaluative, not shallow and obvious.

3) Reactions that are consistently more than the threshold minimum word count.

The word requirement (MWF classes 250-words; TTH classes 500-words) should be considered a threshold level for a B.

4) Reactions that make connections to other things you are learning.

Characteristics of "not-so-good" reactions:

1) Reactions in which the thinking level is thin, shallow, standard, obvious, or superficial.

2) Reactions that are barely up to the threshold word requirement.

The word requirement (MWF classes 250-words; TTH classes 400-words) should be considered a threshold level for a B.

3) Reactions that read more like a first draft than a thoughtful, polished entry.

4) Reactions with an overabundance of proofreading mistakes.


1) General guidelines:

a. Put the most recent reaction on top of your personal wiki page.

b. Separate each reaction with a horizontal line.

c. If you didn't do an entry, put the title in anyway and leave the rest blank.

2) There should be an attractive "look and feel" both to your reactions individually and to your wiki page as a whole.

a. Make your page easy for me to read, like using regular black print on the white background

b. Employ the same font size throughout.

3) You don't necessarily need to insert pictures but they do add a certain pizzazz to your page.

4) The reaction needs to be posted on the wiki page to count.

5) Your reactions should be posted on time (generally within 24 hours of our class session) to count.

6) How much you have written over the course of the semester will be assessed. Your word count over the course of the semester matters.

7) The word requirement (MWF classes 250-words; TTH classes 500-words) should be considered a threshold level for a B.


1) Key to this portion of your grade is the correctness and clarity of your prose.

2) "A" reactions will have virtually no mechanical (punctuation, grammar, and spelling) errors.

3) Your reactions should give evidence that your work is not just a first draft.

4) Your reactions should be carefully proofread.


1) Come to class. Attendance is required and will be taken. Success in life is often merely showing up.

Excess absences (more than 3 in MWF classes and more than 2 in TTh classes) can push your grade lower.

2) Make an effort to insure that your facial expression and body language demonstrate enthusiasm and a positive attitude toward our class sessions.

A positive attitude and demonstrated enthusiasm are important to your career success.

3) Verbally participate in class through comments or questions.

4) Look toward me and make eye contact periodically. [More on this below.]

5) Look at your fellow students when they offer a prayer request or make a comment

6) Be faithful in appropriately using your laptop during class time. [More on this below.]

7) Don't distract your classmates from learning.


NOTE: I will provide an individual assessment (in writing) of your portfolio at least twice during the semester.

1) To make sure I connect with you personally and not just through email, at your request we can have one-on-one huddles as the semester rolls on.

2) Your response to my feedback can help you grow professionally.

3) I myself have needed to learn how to accept feedback.

4) Demonstrate a positive attitude toward whatever feedback I may provide.

Resolve to get better, not bitter.


Here is some of what I grapple with—as a teacher facing a room full of laptops.

1) I am thrown off stride when only a few students ever seem to look at me when I am talking.

2) I ask myself if your lack of eye contact is an issue of good manners? (I am probably wrong in thinking so.)

3) When you look continually at your computer, I question—perhaps unfairly to you—what you are doing and assume--again, perhaps unfairly--that you are not working on class-related things.

As a teacher yourself, you will learn to recognize some of the signs of this:

a. a student is laughing when nothing has been said that is particularly funny

b. a student is looking continually at his or her laptop when there is no particular reason to do so

4) Such behavior presents a real dilemma for me.

5) I don't want to go around patrolling the room to see who is not on our wiki page.

6) I have to put my trust in you to be faithful in using your laptops appropriately during class time (not doing email or surfing the web).

[Note the reference to eye-service in both Ephesians 6:5-6 (NAS) and Colossians 3:22 (NAS).]

7) There are times when I would like you to concentrate up front:

a. during our prayer time and our Friday songs

b. when I introduce the material for that day

c. at other times

8) Help me figure out how best to signal to you my desire for you to partially close your laptop at those times.

Some possible ways could be having me say:

a. "Tracking"

b. "Eyes"

c. "Code Yellow" (computers half closed)

9) I certainly accept multitasking but somehow am not comfortable with too much of it during our class.

10) So let's try to "write the book" on how a laptop class can best meet your needs and mine.