Course Syllabus


Mr. Michael Reidy

781-446-6290 x4631


Welcome to International Politics after the Cold War, and thank you for choosing to take this class! The beauty, excitement, and yes, rigor of the course rest in the interpretations you will offer when encountering theories, when examining cases or broad trends, and when building policy options for actors.  Curiosity, initiative, and persistence are three traits that will carry you this semester – nurture and hone these traits at all times.  Fulfilling this charge complements other behaviors.  Treat everyone in the class with respect.  Listen to and address your classmates in discussion.  Commit yourself to personal development and not simply getting the work done.  Risk.  We will all benefit. 

In this course, you will...

  • explore, critique, and apply principles that guide international relations
  • examine concrete cases and documents illustrative of changes and trends since the end of the Cold War
  • formulate and advocate policy options for state and non-state actors in an informed manner
  • improve the quality and independence in your thinking, writing, reading, collaborative, research skills.
  • demonstrate creativity and ownership in the learning process
  • take risks that lead to successes and failures

As juniors and seniors, you are ready for the academic freedom and responsibilities that this course offers.  Expect to be challenged, and know that when this occurs it is from deep intellectual and emotional respect for you.  I will maintain an environment that supports the open exchange of ideas, growth, and always strive for integrity and fairness in our interactions.  Remember that what we do is important – you can do it – I will help. I look forward to working with you. 

Parent Night Slides


You will be graded on a combination of class engagement and summative assessments.

Class engagement counts for 25% of your grade.  Engagement includes the completion of short-term assignments and activities.  It also includes demonstrating a collection of behaviors that our department identifies as essential to collaboration.  Refer to the handout for behaviors that are indicative of collaborating effectively.  In a nutshell, the behaviors speak to active involvement in class activities, such as showing a consistent willingness to meaningfully discuss material in class, and contributing to our collective understanding. Fulfilling roles within organized debates and conducting simulations are both part of your engagement grade.

Summative assessments count for the remaining 75% of your term grade. There will be multiple opportunities to demonstrate your learning.  These may consist of cycle quizzes, projects, papers, or any tests, each of which carries a point value commensurate with the significance of the work.  Point values are announced with the introduction of each assignment.  Nothing unusual so far – read more carefully and slowly now.  For every assignment you have the opportunity to earn points based on the quality of what you produce.  For example, a typical project or test might allow you to earn points along a 3-2-1-0/NY scale, with points earned dependent on the degrees of ambition, content mastery, skill proficiency, and nuance shown in the execution of the product.  Any time you demonstrate sound understanding of material (e.g.: content mastery) within the parameters of the targeted skill work, you earn points.  Occasionally there may be times that assignments allow for revisions and you don’t earn points, earning a ‘NY’ instead.  This signifies that the product has ‘not yet’ met expectations and needs to be improved before earning points.  So big picture, don’t think average when you earn a 3-2-1-0/NY, for it is the aggregate number of points earned within a term that determines this part of your grade.  Use the point ranges in the table below to help track/understand your progress within this category.  Note: each term offers the opportunity to earn at least 12, and more often 15 points.  

H 8-10 A- to A ACP 7-10 A- to A
5-7 B- to B+ 4-6 B- to B+
3-4 C- to C+ 2-3 C- to C+
<3 D/F <2 D/F

There are always a few required assessments each term, yet generally you may choose which assignments to complete and, often, how to complete them.  Here’s a representative list of assessments and their point values for work in this course:

  • conference demonstration of process mastery and initiative (1 point/term)
  • graded seminars (1-2 points/seminar, 1 or 2 seminars/term)
  • short papers, journal entries, simulation reflection (2 points/assignment, up to 3 assignments/term)
  • cycle quizzes (1 point/quiz, 3 per term)
  • projects (up to 3 points/project, 1-2 projects or tests/term)

Bottom line, I want whatever you produce to be meaningful and durable learning.  If you have an alternate idea for how to satisfy a particular prompt, pitch the idea to me and get it approved!

ImageI believe that this system offers you the best opportunity to learn in this class, and promotes success and inquiry more than a traditional, average based system.  However, I am open to your wish to be evaluated using what your are used to, but we'll need to discuss how to do so very soon.

Extra Help/Office Hours

There may be times when you need extra support in this class, or want to further discuss topics. Awesome! I want you to succeed, am here to help, and can encourage your curiosity.  The best ways to meet:

  • drop-in hours in 406 from 8:00-8:25 on Day 1
  • drop-in hours in 325 from 8:00-8:25 on Day 6 and from 2:30-3:00 on Mondays
  • by appointment
  • in the Social Studies Lab (with different teachers)

Remember, unless an assignment or circumstances calls for email or electronic support, we need to meet in person for extra help.  Also, if emailing quick questions, please keep in mind that teachers and students keep very different hours - responses to email questions may not happen the same evening, and I may even choose to wait until we meet in person to address questions.

Attendance and Late Work

Make an effort to limit the number of absences or tardiness from class, as what we do together is often not reproducible. When you miss class for any reason, be responsible for obtaining missed handouts, assignments, and notes from the class; the completion of make-up work is in your hands.  Always start with Canvas, and then work with friends and/or me. In short, be as prepared as possible when returning to class. If you miss a deadline for an assignment, the missed deadline will be reflected in the engagement score.   


You will need each of the following in class every day:

  • a binder or organizer for handouts, class notes, and reading
  • a charged computer/chromebook
  • working writing utensils
  • hard copy of any assignment where you were asked to annotate/mark up
  • an open mind and a commitment to growth

Again, welcome to the class!

Course Summary:

Date Details