POLI 301 (Governance, the Public Sector and Corporate Power) is a three-credit course that explores the changing relationships between business, society, and government in contemporary Canada. This course has no prerequisites; however, a previous course in political science, public policy, or public administration/management is recommended. This is a senior course and as such students are expected to have advanced analytical and writing skills. There is a Challenge for Credit option if interested.
Students should note that this course is a cross-listed course, meaning that it is listed under two different disciplines (GOVN 301 – Governance, the Public Sector and Corporate Power and POLI 301). POLI 301 may not be taken for credit by students who have obtained credit for GOVN 301.
Governance, the Public Sector and Corporate Power is made up of eight units, and student grades are based on one paper worth ten percent, a midterm examination weighing twenty percent, a second paper weighing thirty percent, and the final examination that is worth forty percent. POLI 301 / GOVN 301 examines the changing patterns of governance; the position of corporate Canada in society’s power structure; the phenomenon of globalization and the international extension of business power; the role of the mass media in shaping culture and dominant ideas within society; the restructuring of economic and social policy; constitutional change; the marketization of the state; the transformation of citizens into customers; and the increased threat to social cohesion. Finally, it considers the future of the public sector in Canada.
To receive credit for POLI 301 / GOVN 301, students must complete all of the assignments, achieve a mark of at least fifty percent on the final examination, and obtain a course composite grade of at least fifty percent. The final examination for this course must be taken online with an Athabasca University approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation center
Dr. Lorna Stefanick has been working at Athabasca University for twenty years and has been the course coordinator for POLI 301 / GOVN 301 since 2004. Alongside POLI 301, she also coordinates all the GOVN courses at Athabasca University and teaches GOVN/HSRV 380 (Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Governance), GOVN/POLI 405 (Innovative Public Management) and GOVN/LGST/CRJS 377 (Issues in Information Access and Privacy Protection). She states, “I am the coordinator of the Bachelor of Professional Arts Program, Governance, Law and Management Major (BPA: GLM), which is the academic “home” of this course. I have a PhD from Queen’s university in Political Studies, specializing in Canadian politics and Public Administration. I publish on a wide spectrum of topics, from imprisoned mothers, environmental activism, government accountability, access to information and protection of privacy, and children in foster care. What ties this all together is my interest in social justice and public policy.”
When asked to describe the course to someone who has not yet taken it, Dr. Stefanick explains “This course is cross listed as a Political Science and a Governance course (which means you can take it under either name and apply it to either degree). This course is typically the first course BPA: GLM students take after they enroll in the program. These students often have no background in Political Science. The course is not an introduction to political science as a discipline; it is an introduction to politics, specifically, the relationships among governments, corporations, non-profit organizations, and the media. We tend to think of politics as just about governments, but this course shows how politics permeates everything, and, how some actors are better positioned to “win” in the political arena than others. Change is happening around us extremely fast – this course helps to understand these changes.”
Dr. Stefanick describes the structure of the course, stating “There are two written assignments, the first is a three page “critical concepts” essay, and the other is an eight- to ten-page research paper. There is an online mid-term comprised of two short essay questions (five hundred words each) and an invigilated final exam.”
She states that students will “need to be able to work independently and not become intimidated by new discipline specific language or concepts if they have never taken a political science course. They also need to be open to new ways of thinking about things.”
She also provides advice for students who are currently enrolled (or planning to be) in the course, stating “Courses like this help students to think critically and to express arguments effectively. Excellent writing can be learned, but students must be open to working hard to improve how they express themselves, including providing evidence for their assertions.”
Dr. Stefanick states that “students will learn that politics is deeply rooted in the economy, and that one cannot understand one without understanding the other. They will also become aware of the constraints that media work within, which is particular important in today’s “post truth” world. I would recommend this course to anyone who is interested in changing patterns of governance, and in particular the relationships between various actors who use politics to promote their interests.”
Whether POLI 301 / GOVN 301 is a degree or program requirement of yours, or the topics above seem to be of interest to you, this course will have you examining changes in relationships between businesses, societies, and the government in Canada.