Polarized Politics

Full Course Title: 
Polarized Politics: The Myth of a Divided America
Course Number: 
Section Number(s) and Day/Times Taught: 
112: TR 9:30-10:45 am
Fall 2016
Global Issues
Civic Engagement

Who defines us? Students will be asked to examine personally held beliefs in light of those held by classmates, the campus, the state, and the nation. Additionally, you will create proposed legislation after researching a public policy issue.

Public policy provides a multitude of opportunities to identify differences of opinion and various ideas for resolving problems facing the nation.

This course will address how the American public generally holds moderate political preferences, but political elites are by definition extremists. This course will discuss the role of contemporary media (internet, blogs, cable TV, etc…) in propagating the idea of a divided America. Students will research individual issues which supposedly divide the country. Ultimately the solutions with the most likely probability of working can be found within moderate policy proposals.

NOTE:  This is a Learning Community section. Co-enrollment in (15417) P S 1100-601 is required.



Melissa has been an avid follower of politics since she first participated in Youth in Government in 9th Grade.  As an undergraduate at West Virginia University, she spent a semester working as a legislative assistant for a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, and after graduating with a BA in political science, she interned for the West Virginia Democratic Party at the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.  She then moved to Washington, DC, where she worked as a grassroots organizer for a non-profit public interest organization.   Although she eventually stopped working in politics in order to spend more time with her family, she continued to diligently keep up with current events.   In January 2014, she entered the master’s degree program at Appalachian, and she subsequently began teaching American National Government and Politics.   Melissa enjoys incorporating local current events into the class lessons to encourage students to get involved, and to realize their ability to effect change.

When she is not teaching or studying politics, Melissa enjoys hiking and traveling to national parks around the country.  She has visited 24 of the 59 national parks so far, and she is always planning her next trip.  

Contact FYS

The First Year Seminar is part of the General Education Program located in Anne Belk Hall, Room 250.

Phone: 828-262-2028

Our mailing address:
First Year Seminar
ASU Box 32065
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608

Director of First Year Seminar:
Dr. Martha McCaughey

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