Information portal for Dr. Farrah's politics courses at Oakland Community College (Oakland County Michigan, USA)
Auburn Hills campus:248-232-4018 D-344 Dept. of Social Sciences; for the Royal Oak Campus- B-223)

Current Events, Announcements, Assignments and Exercises

Over 200 students attended the 2nd Annual Student Advocacy Day in Lansing March 20th, 2018 from Oakland Community College, Henry Ford College, University of Michigan, and Wayne State University.  Students lobbied legislators and their staff on voting issues, increasing funding for colleges and universities, stricter human trafficking laws, and taking on hate.   The multi-institutional and regional coalition included ACCESS (Dearborn, MI) and The Roosevelt Institute (UM-Ann Arbor chapter).  Communities, students and faculty working together to energize democracy from the grass roots to the globe- Look for the Student Political issues Convention in October 2018-

Looking at the Constitution of the USA: HERE

Another Look at Inequality in the USA: HERE

Segregation and the US Supreme Court- Problems from 1968 Still Persist via Housing Patterns: HERE

Looking at Data and Drawing Conclusions_ Exploring the Pew Foundation and ideological trends in the USA: HERE

 Political Conflict and Issue Convergence: The Affordable Care Act, Budgets, and Debt Ceilings Talking Students

Early Feminism from 1848: HERE
   What is the difference between an inaugural address and the Presidential State of the Union address?   Supporting Reading HERE (on mainly the inaugural address through time), with State of the Union basic information HERE.

  (Fall 2016)----National Student Political Issues Convention 2016----Held on Friday, October 7th at Henry Ford College from 9:00am-1:30pm

Information:  HERE   FALL 2016 IN November at Henry Ford College!

Events and Activities:

Below are pictures from one of the many student political issue conventions (the 2011 MI student political issues convention in Dearborn, MI November 11, 2011).  Between 600-700 students from Oakland, Wayne, Monroe, and Macomb counties voted in an issues agenda and presented it to members from the US Congress, officials from the state legislature in Lansing, and local mayors.  The League of Women Voters (LWV) also helped organize the event with teaching faculty primarily (political scientists) from Henry Ford Community College and Oakland Community College.  Last year for the 2015 Convention, US Senator Debbie Stabenow, US House of Representative Debbie Dingell, and state legislators attended a great event that included participation with students from Beirut, Lebanon via an interactive webinar.  In (2014), HFCC, UM-Dearborn, OCC, the LWV, and other partners converged on October 31st at HFCC.  The event brings Congress and Lansing, even a Municipality to the classroom; and political engagement becomes real for participating students and faculty (all in one semester!).  In 2012, over 750 students gathered right before the presidential election of 2012, continuing the tradition of collaborative and student-driven projects that are part of a grassroots and national movement to build voice in the political process through primarily educational institutions (and the introduction to the American Government course).  The November 15, 2013 convention at HFCC from 9:00am-1:30pm drew over 500 students, so with the important non-presidential electoral cycle (2014), October 31st brought an important voice to students in the SE Michigan region----Open Plenary held at FORFA Auditorium, workshops at Liberal Arts Building, the FORFA, and other venues.  

Some ongoing projects, assignments, and other information:

To get updated information on the annual Student Political Issues Convention held on October 31st (Fall 2014), go here    Mark your calendars for future Michigan Student Political Issues Conventions!  Vote! Speak after the vote as you prepare for the next election in 2016!!  Look for 2016 Student Political Issues Conventions in your community and lets communicate please (see contact info below).

Reading the US Constitution (click on the link from the US Senate): HERE

Important News on Great Lakes Water Quality: HERE

For a description of the POL 1510 Online Assignment go HERE

A New discussion forum can be found here: Talking Students 
             Talking Students is an open Google Group that covers a broad range of issues.  Check it out!  Anyone can participate.

Sample Class Overviews and other related themes:  here

The Introduction to American Government course (POL 1510)
My face-to-face class is basically set up like this:  I lecture and try to get the class to discuss the themes from the lecture, and I give three quizzes based on the lectures (approx. 50% of your grade).  I lecture from outlines based on PowerPoint slides, and I give students (you) a copy of the outlines (PowerPoint slides).  I am currently in the process of revising my "slide show," but here is one version of the basic lecture or outlines that I use in a semester (look above for the actual link!).  It is basically a PowerPoint slide show with links, key themes, and basically everything that I will at least try to cover in the class (and my multiple choice quizzes/exams basically stick to the lectures and outlines- the outlines are also useful for tools when taking notes from my lectures, depending on your note-taking style).

The remaining 50% of your grade comes from four assignments, all of which are generally student-directed and experiential in design.  We watch at least two documentaries and use the internet (YouTube/Daily Show/The Onion/news networks) when useful, and I encourage students to attend OCC-sponsored educational events and get involved in politics too.  The goal of the course is to awaken or encourage in the student an increased sense of social responsibility, and also to appreciate and understand government and governance so as to be active and informed participants in the political process.   Perhaps the best way to bring this goal to my students is through participation in the Student Political Issues Convention, this year on November 15th, 2013 at HFCC in Dearborn, MI.   My classes have been participating in the project (from the Urban Agenda to the current Student Political Issues Convention) since 1993 when I was a graduate student at Wayne State University  

Intro to International Relations (POL 2530) 
I treat this topic in a traditional sense, so we read a standard text (for Fall 2012- Perspectives on International Relations: Power, Institutions, Ideas by Henry Nau 3rd edition) and I lecture and lead discussions on the chapters of the text each class.  Because globalization has become central to understanding politics at any level, especially international, I also focus on globalization, including the relationship between nations, states, international organizations, local action, and globalization.   Instead of the scantron-style exams I utilize in the POL 1510 course, the exams are essay-style (take home or in class) and usually include research papers or written evaluations of group research projects chosen by the student(s) and class.  Exploration of current events (in the context of international politics) and participation in the Student Political Issues Convention (currently at HFCC in Dearborn- on November 15th 2013) round out the course. (Fall semester at AH campus)  If possible, participation with the Oaxaca/OCC Cyber-community can be explored.  An experimental project with students from a couple of ESL classes (Talking Students) through a distance learning module (Google groups) rounded out the course during Fall 2011 and 2012.

Topics in Political Science: Globalization and the Environment (POL 2990)

This course is occasionally offered (please check OCC online catalog) at either the Auburn Hills or Royal Oak campus (usually winter semester).  As the title of the course implies, two distinct but related themes are explored via readings, lecture, and discussion: the political processes of globalization and the politics of the global environment.  The class will decide the themes and structure of a group project and a distance learning exercise, along with traditional essay-style exams.     

Global Studies:  The Global Politics of Food (team taught with Dr. Richard Lamb, biology and geology faculty from the RO/SFLD campus) (GLS 2901)
Offered once (so far) at the Royal Oak campus.  Raj Patel's Stuffed and Starved and the Food, Inc. reader, other assorted readings, a service learning component, plus occasional speakers and guest lecturers (Raj Patel actually came and spoke to the class, just as we finished reading his book!).   From the farm to your fork, you will probably look at food a bit differently after taking this course.    

Urban and State Politics (POL 2520)

Exploration of the intersection of politics at the state, urban, and metropolitan levels, along with a discussion of the interface between the USA (as a nation-state) and the 50 states and diverse urban physical environments that make up the nation.  There is a possibility that I will be teaching this during the Winter 2015 semester so check back for details.  

Interested in getting involved in Student Government at the Auburn Hills campus or at Oakland Community College in general?   Contact me at  jsfarrah@oaklandcc.edu


for questions or comments about this website please email jeff.farrah@gmail.com