Political Science & Social Justice

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Why Not Be an Idealist?
The Flag for all People (pictured above), designed by John Michael O’Keefe, is a representation of the ideal of a world dedicated to the expansion of the “life chances” of people everywhere. This image represents a dream that people might use this vision as a catalyst to become world problem solvers, each of us in our own unique way.

The place to be a hero is here, the time is now. You can choose to live an extraordinary life and change the world with each choice you make… Each moment of your life is a vote for the future in which you will live (Francis Moore-Lappe). Futurist Robert Theobald noted this is the human project, to see just what we are capable of becoming. This is politics.

Our purpose is to open minds and to make the agony of decision making so intense you can only escape it by thinking.

 — Fred Friendly

The “Politics” program at College of Alameda seeks to prepare individuals for effective “Global Citizenship” in a 21st Century Knowledge Economy in a “Democratic Republic” guided by an “ethic of service.”  In all of our work; our Area of Emphasis is Social Justice!

In addition to an AA & AA-T degree; College of Alameda offers three Pathways to Career Success in: 1) Violence Prevention, 2) Public Administration, and 3) Law

WHY STUDY POLITICS AT ALL THEN?

 We must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry,music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.

~ John Adams

This said: Politics is the search for “the good society” which is one wherein people are free to pursue “happiness” as they define this for themselves. Freedom is always the right to be different without causing harm for others… As Thomas Jefferson argued:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident…” that all are equal and endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Governments are instituted to secure these rights — deriving their just powers from the consent of “We the People…”

Political Science then, is the study of politics using the skills of social scientific inquiry. Politics is about power in relationships and the operation of human society. Inquiry into politics then explores the exercise of power in its myriad forms and consequences for people as individuals, in groups, and in society. And it is therefore the study of the unfolding of the human story on Planet Earth and just who it is we humans are going to become. This study of power is an integrated field of study drawing upon all the disciplines including most notably sociology, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, economics, and urban and organizational studies.

Public Administration is the application of Politics in the administration of the public’s business, in the public interest, keeping hte public trust. society’s vision of itself as a society. This is called “governance” which includes not only the government (public sector) but also the market place (the private sector) and private life (the social sector). All the power decisions made in society impact upon the lives of people and how this power is used determines whether we are an authoritarian or democratic society.

The study of politics provides students with grounding to build the critical intellectual and practical tools they will need to become effective leaders in the public and social sectors.

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

 ~ John Adams

 The Sub-fields of Political Science include:

  • American Government and Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • Formal Theory and Methodology
  • International Relations
  • Political Behavior
  • Political Theory/Philosophy
  • Public Law and Jurisprudence
  • Public Organization, Administration, and Policy
  • Area Studies

The political science program at College of Alameda prepares graduates to go onto a four year institution prepared to pursue majors and careers in these areas of “public service.” We seek to instill a sense of commitment to social purpose, the public interest, and effective public problem-solving. Students in these majors are encouraged to explore such central issues as:

  •  Ethical problems in the exercise of power;
  • The diversity of political systems in the world
  • The relationship between economic, social, and political change;
  • The causes of war and peace;
  • The history of political ideas such as “liberty,” “justice,” “community” and morality” which people use to change the world.

….Asking these central questions of politics:

  •  Who gets what, when, where, how, and why?
  • How and by what means is value assigned to various activities, priorities, persons, and groups?
  • What is the good society and How do we make such a society a “desired future” and make that future “more probable” than merely possible?

Career Directions:

The Politics Program at College of Alameda is an “Applied Politics Department.” Majoring in politics at College of Alameda can prepare you to move in one of three directions: the traditional major, Violence Prevention, Justice Studies and Public Law; and Public Affairs and Administration (i.e. careers in public service).

Political Science majors learn to be strong writers, public speakers, and researchers. Students receive assistance in finding and receiving credit for internships. We promise to work with you in being better prepared with “life long learning to learn” life success skills — empowering you as you seek employment and in your efforts to transfer to four year institutions.

Careers for Political Scientists include government employment, public service, public administration, public policy analysis, legislative advocacy, business, international relations, and teaching.

 What do you want to do?

For more information, please contact the department chair, Robert J. Brem, at 510-748-2276.
 

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

  • Demonstrate a degree of proficiency at the life skills of critical political thinking and futures consciousness to better access, evaluate, and interpret ideas found in political philosophy and theory and information enabling people so disciplined to communicate effectively, reach conclusions, and solve problems as citizens – part of the governance structure of a political world – such that they may apply these in their professional pursuits should they choose a path of public service or community leadership, of simply community participants.
  • Demonstrate a degree of mastery of the state of the discipline of political science {theoretical and practical knowledge of the historical background and the foundational principles of government and governance (utilizing: description, definition, summarization & explanation )}; and a working knowledge of these in use; with respect to inter-relatedness of humans in the environment, engaging with people from diverse backgrounds, and in understanding and acknowledging the significance of daily individual and social actions relative to global issues and the emergence of our shared future.
  • Demonstrate a degree of capacity to assume responsibility consistent with democratic republican values – in the application of socio-political concepts explored in this learning experience (class, classes, program) in a meaningful manner to a persona’s own self defined reality in the public, private and social sectors (a) as part of their everyday life as engaged citizens in the modern world system; and (b) in the context of global environmental (and other) challenges. {Personal Enrichment & Lifelong Learning Psycho-Socio-Political Efficacy}Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) may be assessed using:
  • Surveys
  • Questionnaires
  • Review of collected data
  • Other methods