TO: Dr. Petterson
FROM: Faisal Alsaif
DATE: November 23, 2015
SUBJECT: Was the participation democratic?
Now, we are at the end of the semester of the Democratic Values and Public Administration (PAD 6042) class. With this personnel portfolio, I have attached a cover memo, participation rubric, four worksheets and the printed copies of four essays with your feedback rubrics. In addition, I have attached an envelope in the left side that contains all participation cards with the relevant scores.
During this class, I have learned a lot about democracy in the United States and the way people benefit from it these days. It appeared to be much more complicated than what I had expected being just an engineer. Things have changed; this class has changed my views and attitude. In addition, it helped me extend my knowledge and improve understanding by reading the assigned books and taking some notes while filling the assigned worksheets. Moreover, writing things about those democratic values have also helped me learn more about democracy. In fact, I had the chance to know myself better by having the opportunities to fill some surveys passed to us during the class about things that I really value or about my understanding of professional values. Numerous democratic values that I used to be aware of were different from those learnt in this class. I also got to know how the professions and professionals are linked to each other; I realized that professionals are members of the profession, although I have never thought about it that way. Also, it was a revelation to me that not all jobs are called professions. I used to look at the word ‘profession’ as at a synonym to an ‘occupation’.
On the other hand, we have done a lot of things related to democracy in this class. First of all, at most of the classes we had a group discussion based on a certain topic. The main aim was getting oneself to speak in the group while others were listening; the group members always respect other people’s opinions notwithstanding the fact whether they agree with it. Secondly, we usually submit a participation card at the beginning of each class. The card has at least two discussion questions that we usually discuss with the group. So, that is also considered as a democratic participation. Thirdly, some of the decisions are made in class on the basis of voting; for example, we decided how to cut the cake or which office hours we should submit the portfolio. So, counting my vote in that would be definitely a democratic participation. Fourthly, I remember explaining to the whole class what the difference between a regular engineer and a professional engineer is and what the regular procedures for being a professional engineer are. That would also be considered a democratic participation for me because I had the chance to speak while everyone was listening with subsequent questions to ask to make everything clear.
Based on those things mentioned previously, I can conclude that my participation was democratic in your class. I have enjoyed being one of your students for this semester and I also benefited a lot from learning new things that I have not known before. I hope to have more classes with you in the near future.