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PPA 190: Internship and Thesis Seminar
Pomona College, Fall 2023
Prof. David Menefee-Libey
Prof. Fernando Lozano

Fridays at 1:15 - 4:00 pm
Carnegie 109

Prof. Menefee-Libey info: thg Office: Carnegie 4.
Office Hours: Mondays and Thursdays 2:00-4:00, and by appointment.
e-mail: DML@pomona.edu or DJML4747@pomona.edu (mail sent to either of these ends up in the same account)

Prof. Lozano info: Office: Carnegie 215.
Office Hours: Mondays 10:00-noon.
e-mail: Fernando.Lozano@pomona.edu.

A live version of this syllabus is available online at https://DML.sites.pomona.edu/PPASeminar.html

Find a list of sites with course-related information, data, and research at https://DML.sites.pomona.edu/DMLresources.html.. (Note: there are a lot of links on that page, and I do my best to keep them up to date. Please let me know if you run into a dead link, or if you have a suggestion of something I should add.)

Table of Contents for This Syllabus:
Go to Course Description and Goals
Go to Course Requirements, Evaluations, and Deadlines
Go to Class Schedule and Assignments

Course Description and Goals

This course is a practicum in connecting ideas and action. There are four objectives:

A. The Internship

First, the seminar will enable you to be more constructively engaged in and critically analytical about your internship. You will read, write, and talk about your internships in the contexts of courses you have had in your concentration in Public Policy Analysis, competing ideas about professionalism, and a series of analytic questions that will guide our discussions.

Most weeks, we will ask you to reflect on one or another specific aspect of your internship experience or the organization you're working for. I'll ask you to post those reflections on the Sakai Commons the night before we meet each week, and we'll discuss your postings during the seminar. Note: several PPA seniors did their internship last spring in CMC's Washington Semester Program. Though it has been several months since they left their internships, they'll answer these same reflection questions and participate actively in these discussions

B. Thesis Prospectus

Second, the seminar will help you prepare to research and write a prospectus for your PPA senior thesis. The thesis is a year-long project, and this semester we will work through several "scaffolded" assignments focused on different parts of your project work, culminating in the Thesis Prospectus you will submit in December. (We'll explain what "scaffolding" means.) You will return to complete the project in the spring. Your PPA thesis will demonstrate

In writing it, you will engage your home department or program's faculty, build on at least one literature within your field, and experience the challenges and joys of original research.

C. The Field of Public Policy Analysis

Third, the seminar will give you opportunities to synthesize your own thinking and learning about the field of Public Policy Analysis in a liberal arts setting. We will do that through readings and discussions of your internship, your thesis project, and what's happening in the world.

D. Presenting your work through writing and speaking

Finally, this course fulfills the college's Speaking Intensive graduation requirement, and we will focus on that challenge in direct and specific ways. You will have many opportunities this semester and next spring to gain experience presenting your ideas and research to peers, mentors, and supervisors orally as well as in writing. We will give you written feedback and guidance on your presentations this semester, and encourage you to draw on this aspect of the course as you prepare for the PPA Thesis Conference in April.

Books and materials

We haven't ordered any books for this course, but we've posted a substantial number of readings on Sakai (which we will mark with an *asterisk), which we'll also supplement with links to the web and handouts during our seminar meetings.

Back to Table of Contents

PPA 190: Internship and Thesis Seminar
Pomona College, Fall 2023
Prof. David Menefee-Libey
Prof. Fernando Lozano

Requirements, Evaluations, and Deadlines

We will assign several different kinds of work in a series of regular, small assignments that build up to the prospectus at the end. No single assignment counts for more than 20% of your grade, but you must complete all of these to receive credit for the seminar:

1. Seminar participation. Though we won't include class discussion in the semester grade, the value of our time together will depend on it. Some thing we value:

2. Sakai Discussion Forum postings on your internship (20%). Most weeks, the syllabus includes a question about the organization you're working for (or, if you were in DC last spring, the organization you worked for there). Post your response in the Sakai "Discussions" folder for that week.

3. Thesis review presentation (10%) Each group of 2-3 students will select and read a past PPA senior theses from the collection in the Carnegie library room, then make a ~15 minute presentation on the thesis they read, summarizing the author's

Each member of a group should read the entire thesis individually, and develop their own answers to these questions, along with notes on what they've learned from reading it. Each group's presentation should reflect the group's discussion - prior to the class meeting - of each individual's reading of the entire thesis. The group will lead a discussion with the class after their presentation, and I'll give each group written feedback.

4. Submit a log to Hilary LaConte of your internship hours, signed by your supervisor, for each month by the 5th of the following month. Late submissions will lead to a grade penalty for the semester, because they disrupt our ability to monitor your progress this semester. The full 180-hour internship must be completed and recorded by Tuesday, Dec 19 for you to receive credit for the course.

5. Five short papers (50%)

4. Thesis prospectus (20%). This seminar begins your year-long work researching and writing your PPA thesis. The prospectus is the culmination of the first stages of that work. In collaboration with your colleagues and us, you will pick a topic, find faculty readers, and develop a a paper that includes:

  • A clear research question with some explanation of its importance;
  • Intended audience(s): who they are, and why and how will you communicate with them through an academic project;
  • A partial review of the research literature in which others have addressed this or closely related questions, (supplemented if appropriate by a consideration of public debate about the issue), followed by a correctly formatted bibliography of sources;
  • A research design and work plan of how you will investigate your question, the data you will gather, the method you will use to analyze it, and how you'll respond to potential ethical issues;
  • A description of your qualifications to carry out this plan (prior related courses? reseach papers or projects? jobs or internships?);
  • Some preliminary findings from the first stages of your work, and a draft chapter outline of how you expect to organize your thesis; and
  • The names of two Claremont Colleges faculty members who have agreed to supervise your work (and to sign your prospectus form). At least one of your readers must be in your home discipline.
  • Notes on deadlines and submitting written assignments:

    All written assignments must be submitted in your Sakai "Dropbox" on the dates listed in the course schedule. (Please don't ask Sakai to send an email notifying us of your submission.)

    Important: When you upload a paper to Sakai, use the following format for the name of the electronic file, so that we can easily distinguish your paper from dozens of others after we download them all: PPASeminar.[Paper#][prospectus].LastName.doc, as in PPASeminar.FieldNotes.Arbery.doc. This may seem picky and trivial, but I'll really appreciate you doing it because I'll receive so many papers this semester that it's easy for me to lose track of papers the ones that aren't named this way. Please, also submit your paper as an MS Word-compatible document (not Apple Pages, Google Doc, or PDF), so we can insert comments into the document file. Any word processor you use will let you save your file in this format.

    To be eligible for Distinction in the Senior Exercise, students must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Submit signed documentation that they have completed their internship hours by the last day of the semester they take PPA 195;
  • Submit all assignments for the Internship and Thesis Seminar on time unless they have received an emailed exception from the instructor;
  • Submit their thesis rough draft on time; and
  • Earn an A on their Senior Thesis.
  • Those who have met these requirements will be considered for Distinction on the basis of their performance in the internship, senior seminar, and thesis, with primary emphasis on the thesis.

    Academic collaboration and academic honesty: We hope you study with other people in the class, and discuss the substance of the course with them.  As you do that, We encourage you to read each other's paper drafts and to give advice to each other.  When you do that, acknowledge in a footnote those who have helped you.  If you draw on a specific idea from someone else, cite them specifically in a footnote, just as you would cite any source you find helpful.

    We also encourage you to read Pomona College's Academic Honesty Policy, which you learned about in your ID1 class and which you can find online in the college catalog. We actually do have an honor code, and it's important.


    1. Sunday Afternoon Study Space: David M-L has reserved Carnegie 110 from 2:00 to 4:00 every Sunday afternoon for the whole semester. Partly, it's a help session: I'll meet on a first-come-first-served basis one-on-one with students in my classes about their papers, research, thesis projects, and internship issues. Partly, it's just a supportive study space: all students are welcome, you don't even need to talk with me, and you can stay any or all of that time to work on your projects and classes with other PPA and Politics students.

    2. The Library: Though most students do most of their research online alone and unassisted, the Claremont Colleges actually has a physical library with amazing resources and a staff of trained research librarians who can be of tremendous assistance to you in your work. One of these librarians, Mary Martin, has kindly created an entire resource page on U.S. government at https://libguides.libraries.claremont.edu/government. Dieter Mackenbach, another librarian there, has created a resource page on public policy analysis at https://libguides.libraries.claremont.edu/PublicPolicyAnalysis. We urge you to make use of these resources and the librarians who help to create them. Make an individual appointment with Ms. Martin, Mr. Mackenbach, or one of their colleagues, and they can help you find things you would never otherwise find and save you countless hours of unnecessary wandering on the Internet. Librarians can also help you with Zotero and with citation challenges.

    3. Zotero: Zotero is free, open-source, public domain bibliographic and citation software that works in most browsers and word processing programs. You download it from https://zotero.org, where you can also find links to instructional videos, faqs, problem-solving threads, and access to free cloud storage for your own bibliographic archive. The Claremont Colleges Library also offers extensive support for students installing and learning to use Zotero at https://library.claremont.edu/zotero/. If you haven't already installed Zotero on your own computer and started using it for research projects and papers, we'd strongly urge you to do it immediately. It will help you immensely with this class and any other research project you do.

    4. The Center for Speaking, Writing, and the Image (CSWIM, formerly The Writing Center) will open at full capacity after the second week of the semester, but will be holding limited appointments and drop-in hours as soon as classes begin. CSWIM peers meet one-on-one with students to talk about their work and provide feedback at any stage of their preparation process. Trained to think deeply about written, oral, and visual rhetoric and communication, these student peers facilitate conversations about everything from ID1 papers to senior theses, lab reports to creative writing, giving presentations to developing strategies for reading and engaging more deeply and confidently in class discussion. The CSWIM also offers specialized writing and speaking support for multilingual students navigating English as an additional language. (Email Jenny.Thomas@pomona.edu for more information about that.) To make an appointment with a Writing, Speaking, or Image Partner, please log onto the Portal and go to Academics > Writing Center. The email contact address is: writing.center@pomona.edu. They offer both in-person and virtual appointments, and have regular drop-in hours in Smith Campus Center 148. The website is: https://www.pomona.edu/administration/writing-center.

    5. The Quantitative Skills Center (QSC) provides academic support to Pomona College students in courses that feature a large degree of quantitative and/or scientific reasoning through our QSC Partners Program. QSC partners meet one-on-one with students to provide support for a variety of Pomona courses for course specific help. The QSC also offers non-course specific help in general quantitative skills and offers consultations for projects and theses involving quantitative methods. Additionally, Dr. Travis Brown, Director of the QSC, and Dr. Dylan Worcester, Associate Director of the QSC, are available to meet with you regarding your success in STEM at Pomona College. To make an appointment at the QSC, please visit pomona.mywconline.com, or contact us at qsc@pomona.edu. The QSC is located in SCC (Smith Campus Center) 228.

    6. The Sage Fellows Program is available to help all Pomona students become more effective and efficient learners. This program offers individual academic coaches, weekly drop-in office hours (no appointment required), and workshops designed to help students achieve academic success. Sage Fellows can assist students with: time management; organization; study habits and strategies; reading and note-taking skills; motivation and procrastination; stress management and wellness strategies; and more fully accessing campus resources. Pomona College students may apply to meet with a Sage Fellow by completing the Sage Fellow Meeting Request Form. Contact: Hector.Sambolin@pomona.edu or stop by SCC 228. The Sage Fellow website is: https://www.pomona.edu/administration/sage-fellows-peer-academic-coaches.

    7. Accommodations and Disability Services (ADS): We try to do my best to welcome every student into our classrooms, and to be committed to the full inclusion of anyone who may need an accommodation based on the impact of disability including mental health, chronic or temporary medical conditions. Given the current state of the world, we recognize that the challenges facing students vary widely and student accommodation needs may even change during the course of a semester. We encourage Pomona students who may need some accommodation in order to fully participate in this class to contact Pomona College's Accesibility Resources and Services office. Email: disability@pomona.edu. The following guide provides more information: https://www.pomona.edu/accessibility/student-accessibility/accommodation-policies-and-procedures. Additionally, students can receive assistance and resources from the 7C Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC). The SDRC hosts events, loans assistive technology, and offers student accommodation support. The ARS website is: https://www.pomona.edu/accessibility.

    8. Mental Health Resources: Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services (MCAPS) at https://services.claremont.edu/mcaps/ is the mental health resource to the five undergraduates of The Claremont Colleges. Their professional staff serves all enrolled undergraduates and provides in-person counseling. There are no fees for counseling services and all services are confidential. In addition, 7C Health (TimelyMD) at https://www.timely.md/faq/7c-health-the-claremont-colleges/ provides 24/7 access to on-demand medical care and “Talk Now” mental health support, along with links to short videos that support mental and physical wellbeing. The Student Assistance Program (SAP) at https://www.aetnasap.com/login is a free service available through Aetna for students. The SAP allows students to engage with a clinician for three free sessions. Phone: 909-607-2000. MCAPS Crisis Line: 909-621-8202; Dial “1.” The MCAPS website is at: https://services.claremont.edu/mcaps/.

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    PPA 190: Internship and Thesis Seminar
    Pomona College, Fall 2023
    Prof. David Menefee-Libey
    Prof. Fernando Lozano

    Class Schedule and Assignments

    -- Readings for a day are listed below that day's date
    -- We will change some details of this as the semester progresses. We'll let you know in advance, and we'll post the changes in a changed online syllabus. We will not move up any assignment deadline.
    -- An asterisk (*) means the a copy of the reading is posted on Sakai. Let me know if you don't have access to Sakai.

    Most meetings of the seminar will have at least two istinct parts, related to A. Your internships, and B. Preparation for writing your senior thesis. We'll also have occasional presentations by policy practitioners from outside the college. We'll take at least one break during the seminar every week.

    Week 1, September 1: First meeting

    Introductions and norms
    » Read (in class) *DML, "Class Discussion Norms"
    » Read (in class) *Bartholomae and Petrosky, "Reading With and Against the Grain."

    A. Internships
    » Plans for this part of our seminar agenda, including Commons postings responding to weekly questions.
    » Hilary: Internship placements and logistics, and the importance of personal safety on all dimensions.

    B. Senior Thesis
    » (In class) *DML, PPA 190 scaffolding for writing a prospectus
    » (In class) *PPA Prospectus and Senior Thesis Guide 2023-24"
    » Zotero, Part 1: getting it installed on your computer and linked to your browser and word processor.

    Week 2, September 8:

    A. Internships
    » Before seminar, post in Week 2 blog in Sakai "Discussion" forum Less than 200 words on: What's the mission of the organization you're interning for? How, when and why was the organization founded? Is there an explicit mission statement? Has Covid affected that mission? Have recent political developments in the US affected it? (Also to think about: Do employees understand and individually work toward fulfillment of the mission?)
    » If you have not yet done so, please make sure Hilary has your Internship contract signed by your supervisor:
    » In seminar: first impressions, then organizational missions.

    B. Senior Thesis
    » Before seminar, Hilary will assign students to groups for Thesis Review presentations. Instructions for the groups are in the "Course Assignments" section above.
    » Hilary on Thesis Pieces
    » Before seminar, read: *"PPA Thesis Research & Writing Lessons Learned," passed on from the PPA Class of 2012.
    » Before seminar, read: *"PPA Prospectus and Senior Thesis Guide, 2023-24"
    » Before seminar, be ready to talk about two professors who can work with you on your senior thesis project.
    » Discussion: What a thesis project is, how to find thesis "readers," and how to lay the groundwork for doing the work.
    » How to do an annotated bibliography.

    Week 3, September 15:

    A. Internships
    » Before seminar, post in Sakai "Discussion" forum less than 200 words on: What are the organization's finances (assets, annual budget, major revenue sources, major expenses)? [Sources for this information can include annual reports, the organization's website, the nonprofit reporting organization www.guidestar.com, which compiles the IRS Form 990 federal tax returns for nonprofit organizations, public budgets if you are working at a government agency, press reports (of grants, etc.), and employees or supporters of the organization (ask!).]
    » In seminar: checking in, then organization finances.

    B. Senior Thesis
    » Hilary on Thesis Pieces
    » Report from Thesis Reading Group 1.
    » Before seminar, read: Raul Pacheco-Vega, "Narrowing the Research Thesis Topic," July 15, 2017, posted on his blog at http://www.raulpacheco.org/2017/07/narrowing-the-research-thesis-topic/
    » In preparation for our meeting this week, interview a professor (preferably, one of your potential thesis readers) in your "home" discipline about whether there are standard approaches to literature reviews in your discipline. Ask her/him to point you at one or two refereed journal articles that exemplify one or another of these approaches.
    » Discussion: beginning to identify possible research questions. Be ready to write a first-draft research question on the whiteboard by the end of class today.
    » Zotero, Part 2. In class reading: *DML, "Annotated Bib Helpsheet." I'll show you how to annotate a bibliography entry for the 3-item annotated bibs due next week.

    Week 4, September 22:

    A. Internships
    » Before seminar, post in Sakai "Discussion" forum less than 200 words on: Who works for the organization (both paid employees and volunteers), and how are they selected? How are they motivated to continue their work?

    B. Senior Thesis
    » Hilary on Thesis Pieces
    » Report from Thesis Reading Group 2.
    » Come to seminar ready to write your current draft research question on the whiteboard. (We'll do this every week from now on.)
    » Research Ethics. Before seminar, enroll in the online Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI Program). On the home page, choose "Login through my organization" and select Pomona College. Login through Pomona's SSO and make sure it recognizes you. Start the "Social-Behavioral-Educational Reseacrh" course and complete the first three units: Please complete those before seminar and be ready to discuss them.
    » Literature Reviews again: be prepared to discuss three research articles you intend to use in your thesis, and what they might contribute to your literature review.
    » Due to be posted on Sakai today by 5:00: your 3-entry annotated bibliography

    Week 5, September 29:

    A. Internships
    » Before seminar, post in Sakai "Discussion" forum less than 200 words on: Who are the "clients", "customers", "partners", "constituencies," and competitors of the organization? Who do they consider valuable? How does the organization make its services known to and available to them?

    B. Senior Thesis
    » Hilary on Thesis Pieces
    » Report from Thesis Reading Group 3
    » Before seminar, read: *Lipson, ch. 4, "Refining Your Topic, Writing a Proposal, and Beginning Research." [Connect this with your use of Zotero!]
    » In seminar: research design exercise in groups

    Week 6, October 6:

    A. Internships
    » Before seminar, post in Sakai "Discussion" forum less than 200 words on: What is your organization's culture? Do people use symbols, heroes, slogans to express this culture? What is the decision-making culture? (command-and-control? committee? consensus?) Is culture implied or clearly expressed? Is there a gap between the formally declared culture and the informal culture of the organization?

    B. Senior Thesis
    » Hilary on Thesis Pieces
    » Report from Thesis Reading Group 4. We're more than halfway through these reviews. Do you think about them any differently now than you did when we discussed the first one?
    » Before seminar, read: *DML, "Literature Review Helpsheet."
    » Before seminar, read: *Dave Harris, "Writing a Literature Review," ch. 7 of Literature Review and Research Design: A Guide to Effective Research Practice (Routlege, 2020), 137-155.
    » Before seminar, read: Raul Pacheco-Vega, "How to Undertake a Literature Review," April 18, 2017, posted on his blog at http://www.raulpacheco.org/2017/04/how-to-undertake-a-literature-review/
    » Due today by 5:00: 8-entry annotated bibliography on your research topic.

    Week 7, October 13: Fall Break. No seminar.

    Week 8, October 20:

    A. Internships
    » Before seminar, post in Sakai "Discussion" forum less than 200 words on: How does your organization monitor conduct and secure compliance with its rules and norms?

    B. Senior Thesis
    » Hilary on Thesis Pieces
    » Report from Thesis Reading Group 5.
    » Discussion: What is a prospectus? What is research design?
    » (for discussion): McCombes, Shona, and Pritha Bhandari. 2021. “What Is a Research Design | Types, Guide and Examples.” Scribbr. June 7, 2021. https://www.scribbr.com/methodology/research-design/.
    » In class today: Research Design QuickWrite (Upload it to Sakai by the end of the day. Call it PPASeminar.QuickWrite2.YourName.docx or .pdf.)

    Week 9, October 27:

    A. Internships
    » Before seminar, post in Sakai "Discussion" forum less than 200 words on: For a particular project that interests you within your organization, what is the goal? Who is on the team? Are there alliances outside the organization? How does the project fit with the organization's mission? Where did it come from? How is it going? What inducements/constraints affect the project?

    B. Senior Thesis
    » Hilary on Thesis Pieces
    » Report from Thesis Reading Group 6.
    » For fun, Before seminar, read: *Annie Lamott, "Shitty First Drafts," from Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (New York, NY: Anchor, 1995).
    » Discuss: Using Zotero to handle citations in your literature review, which is due in two weeks. Which format to use?

    Week 10, November 3:

    A. Internships
    » Before seminar, post in Sakai "Discussion" forum less than 200 words on: How would you evaluate the effectiveness/success of your organization? Could you use cost/benefit analysis? Ethical considerations? Evaluation outcomes compared with mission statement? Other methods? What indicators/metrics would you use?

    B. Senior Thesis
    » Write your research question on the board again when you arrive. Then write the school of thought in the research literature that is most important for your thesis.
    » Hilary on Thesis Pieces
    » Bring a rough draft of your literature review for peer review during the seminar.

    Week 11, November 10:

    A. Internships
    » Check-ins, thinking about finishing up and leaving your internship.

    B. Senior Thesis
    » Hilary on Thesis Pieces
    » Developing the research design, research plan, and timetable you'll include in your prospectus.
    » Due today by 5:00: your Literature Review. Cite a minimum of 8 scholarly articles, reports, or books.

    Week 12, November 17:

    A. Internships
    » Reflections on your internships at this point? Any common themes?

    B. Senior Thesis
    » Hilary on Thesis Pieces
    » More on the prospectus and research design: How to develop a work plan and draft chapter outline? How might you go about developing some "initial findings" from your research, for inclusion in your Prospectus?

    Week 13, November 24: Thanksgiving Break, no class

    Week 14, December 1: Last seminar meeting

    A. Internships
    » Final reflections on your internships

    B. Senior Thesis
    » Finishing up your Prospectus

    Due by 5:00 pm Monday, December 11:
    » Thesis abstract "signed" by readers
    » Prospectus

    Due by 5:00 pm Tuesday, December 19
    » Final internship hours documentation

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    Last modified: October 20, 2023