Department of History and Political Science

Undergraduate Course Syllabus
Spring 2014

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

Section A. Course Information

Research and Writing

POLI 300-01 (11100)
TuTh 11:25AM - 12:50PM
Ronald Center Room 137

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 on my home phone (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

Course Catalog Description

This is an upper-division writing intensive course emphasizing the research and writing skills common to the disciplines of history and political science. Meets the general studies upper-division intensive writing requirement. Strongly recommended before taking any 300- or 400-level courses.

Course content as I have modified it:

The course objectives are threefold: (1) to improve your writing skills; (2) to learn about religion during the American Revolution; and (3) to develop sophistication in footnote, bibliographic, and research methods.

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 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

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

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

Identify and critique the variety of Christian responses to our material.

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

As we proceed through this semester together, I will add additional faith- and content-based learning outcomes for our course.

Section F. Course Goals

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.

Check out my background by reviewing the material on the About Me page of this wiki:

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, 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 the following page on the Learning Professor wiki for course assignments:

Section H. Recommendations

For a more extensive list of recommended books and websites, consult Section N below as well as the following pages of this wiki:

Writing Resources:

Research using online databases:

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

Details for our daily work will always be posted here:


Tuesday, 14 January
Introduction to our course

Thursday, 16 January
Writing Handbook


Tuesday, 21 January
Paper #1: Autobiography due

Thursday, 23 January
Writing Handbook


Tuesday, 28 January

Scan the listing on each page of the following websites:
Which items do YOU want to know more about?
Read at least two of the items from each website and be prepared to tell our class about each page you chose.

Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Writing Center Handouts

Thursday, 30 January
Writing Handbook


Tuesday, 4 February
Writing articles

Thursday, 6 February
Database analysis


Tuesday, 11 February
Paper #2: 5 page event analysis due

Thursday, 13 February


Tuesday, 18 February
Writing articles

Thursday, 20 February
Database analysis


Tuesday, 25 February
Paper #3

Thursday, 27 February
Database analysis


Tuesday, 4 March [Common Day of Learning—no class]

Thursday, 6 March
Writing articles

Tuesday, 11 March
Thursday, 13 March

WEEK #10

Tuesday, 18 March
Paper #4

Thursday, 20 March
Database analysis

WEEK #11

Tuesday, 25 March
Writing articles

Thursday, 27 March
Database analysis

WEEK #12

Tuesday, 1 April
Writing articles

Thursday, 3 April
Database analysis

WEEK #13

Tuesday, 8 April
Writing articles

Thursday, 10 April
Writing articles

WEEK #14

Tuesday, 15 April
Paper #5

Thursday, 17 April
Writing articles

WEEK #15

Tuesday, 22 April

Thursday, 24 April

Section K: Evaluation

1. Factors contributing to final grade:

a. Four five-page papers: 100 points each=400 points

b. Participation: 50 points

[Deduct unexcused absences @ 10 points each]

Total maximum points: 450

Classroom attitude/participation

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:



Grading papers is not a scientific process.
In overall terms, an "A" paper will be well edited with virtually no mechanical (punctuation, grammar, and spelling) errors and will deal with the topic in a thoughtful manner.
Lower grades will be awarded as the mechanical errors increase, the thinking skills lessen, and the editing weakens.

Page numbers.
Paragraph indentation and length.
Clear printer output.
12 point type.

Clear evidence of pre-writing phase.
Advantage taken of spelling and grammar checking.
Effective proofreading.

Paper demonstrates clear understanding of subject matter.
Distinction made between major and minor points.
Quotes are appropriate.

Unified: obvious topic sentence.
Coherent: effectively organized; appropriate transitions between sentences.
Developed: supporting details are necessary and accurate.

Effective transitions between paragraphs.

Progress from coordination to subordination.
Varied sentence patterns.
No sentence fragments.
Active voice.
Consistency in tense, mood, person, and number.

Nonessential words eliminated.
Appropriate words employed.
Clear pronoun references.

Correct punctuation.
Varied use of punctuation—going beyond commas and periods.

Quantity of turnovers and unforced errors.

Section L: Course Policies

1. General policies

a) Class attendance

Attendance is required and will be taken. You are allowed two unexcused absences without consequences. After those unexcused absences, your grade will be reduced 10 points 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

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 .