Faculty Spotlight

Jeffrey Sikkenga

Jeffrey Sikkenga is Professor of Political Science and co-director of the Ashbrook Scholar program at Ashland University. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in political thought, the American Founding, and American constitutional law. He is deeply interested in the relationship between politics and religion in liberal democracy and America in particular. He has published articles and reviews in journals such as Political Theory, History of Political Thought, Journal of Politics, Journal of Markets and Morality, and Religion and Liberty. He co-edited History of American Political Thought (Lexington Press, 2003), edited Transforming American Welfare (1999), and co-wrote The Free Person and the Free Economy (2002). He is currently working on a book on the natural right to freedom of religion in the political thought of John Locke and the American Founders, exploring the foundations and political implications of religious liberty as a human right.



Students who anticipate completing their degree in time for the May 2019 commencement must register for graduation with the AU Registrar's Office.


Students who anticipate completing their degree in time for the August 2019 conferment must register for graduation with the AU Registrar's Office.

Course Descriptions

American History and Government courses

AHG 501: The American Revolution (2)
This course focuses on three topics: political developments in North America and the British empire and the arguments for and against independence, culminating in the Declaration of Independence; the Revolutionary War as a military, social and cultural event in the development of the American nation and state; and the United States under the Articles of Confederation.

AHG 502: The American Founding (2)
This course is an intensive study of the constitutional convention, the struggle over ratification of the Constitution, and the creation of the Bill of Rights. It will include a close examination of the Federalist Papers and the antifederalist papers.

AHG 503: Sectionalism and Civil War (2)
A study of the sectional conflict beginning with the nullification crisis. The course will not only examine the political, social and economic developments in the period leading to the civil war, but will emphasize the political thought of Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, and John C. Calhoun.

AHG 505: The Progressive Era (2)
The transition to an industrial economy posed many problems for the United States. This course examines those problems and the responses to them that came to be known as progressivism. The course includes the study of World War I as a manifestation of progressive principles. The course emphasizes the political thought of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and their political expression of progressive principles.

AHG 506: The Rise of Modern America, 1914-45 (2)
With the exception of the Civil War era, it is difficult to find another thirty-year period in U.S. history during which the nation underwent such dramatic change. In 1914 the United States was no more than a regional power, with a primarily rural demography and a relatively unobtrusive federal government. Thanks to the experience of two world wars, a major cultural conflict (the 1920s), and a disastrous economic crisis the country was transformed into the global economic and military power that it remains to this day. This course will examine the cultural, economic, military, and diplomatic events and trends of the period 1914-1945.

AHG 510: Great American Texts (2)
This course is an intensive study of one important text in American history, politics or literature. Examples might include The Federalist Papers, Franklin's Autobiography, Tocqueville's Democracy in America or Twain's Huckleberry Finn. The text may change from course to course, and the course may be repeated up to two times with the permission of the Chair.

AHG 601: Sources of the American Regime (2)
This course examines the European heritage of ideas and arguments upon which the American Founders drew as they devised a new government for the United States.

AHG 602: European Discovery and Settlement (2)
An examination of the motives behind and the consequences of the expansion of European power beginning in the 16th Century. The course focuses on the European settlement of North America and the interactions between Europeans and indigenous peoples.

AHG 603: Colonial America (2)
This course focuses on the development of an indigenous political culture in the British colonies. It pays special attention to the development of representative political institutions and how these emerged through the confrontation between colonists and King and proprietors. The course also considers imperial politics through a study of the Albany Plan of Union.

AHG 604: The Early Republic (2)
Having adopted a form of government, the Americans had to make it work. This course examines their efforts to do so, as the Republic took shape amidst foreign dangers, political conflict, westward expansion and religious revivals.

AHG 605: The Age of Enterprise (2)
In the last decades of the 19th Century, the United States took decisive steps away from its rural, agrarian past toward its industrial future, assuming its place among world powers. This course examines that movement, covering such topics as business-labor relations, political corruption, immigration, imperialism, the New South, and segregation and racism.

AHG 606: America between World Wars (2)
In the 1920s, changes in America that had been underway for several decades came fully into view. This is the period when cultural wars first appeared (e.g., The Scopes Trial) and the transformative effects of industrial capitalism touched every part of American life. In the 1930s, an economic crisis challenged received views of the proper relationship of the government to the economy. The course examines various political and economic changes that occurred in this period, with a special emphasis on the New Deal.

AHG 607: America during the Cold War (2)
The simmering conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union from 1945 to 1989 was the defining phenomenon of the age, affecting not only the country's foreign policy but its politics, society, economy, and culture as well. In this course students will examine the most important events, ideas, and personalities of the 44 years from the end of World War II to the end of the Reagan administration.

AHG 608: Civil War and Reconstruction (2)
This course will examine military aspects of the war, as well as political developments during it, including the political history of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural. The course also examines the post-war Amendments and the Reconstruction era. Note: This course was previously listed as AHG 504.

AHG 610: American Foreign Policy (2)
Students examine events and issues in the foreign policy of the American republic. Topics include the major schools of thought and approaches, the connection between domestic and foreign politics, and the connection between the principles of the American regime and its foreign policy. With the permission of the Chair, a student may take this course twice.

AHG 611: The American Way of War (2)
The course examines how Americans have used military force, focusing on the relationship between civilian and military leaders, characteristic strategic approaches, and the connection between our political principles and our military practices.

AHG 620: The Reform Tradition in America (2)
America has lived through three periods of sustained interest in reforming its political and social life, the first in the decades preceding the Civil War, the second in the decades preceding the First World War and the third in the decade or two following World War II. The course examines aspects of these reform movements, particularly their connection to religion and Protestant theology.

AHG 621: Race and Equality in America (2)
This course explores the history of black Americans as they strove to secure their dignity as human beings, and rights as American citizens, in the face of racial prejudice. Students will examine the writings of leading black intellectuals and activists about human equality, slavery, self-government, the rule of law, emancipation, colonization, and citizenship. The course will also review laws, constitutional amendments, court cases, and social criticism addressing civil and political rights in America.

AHG 622: Religion in American History and Politics (2)
From the time that the first Europeans arrived in America, religion has been an important part of American life. This course examines the various ways in which religion has played a role in American history, with particular emphasis on the role of religion in American politics.

AHG 623: Gender and Equality in America (2)
This course explores the history of women in America from the early 19th century to the present, especially the political struggle to gain increased civil and political rights. Using primary source material from leading female intellectuals and activists, this course will consider the myriad ways that women have helped to shape the course of United States history.

AHG 630: American Statesmen (2)
Even though the powers of the American Executive are controlled and limited, extraordinary acts of statesmanship are possible. This seminar examines those presidents who have demonstrated extraordinary political leadership. We will examine such statesmen and the political circumstances in which their prudence revealed itself. Among those examined will be Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt. With the permission of the Chair, this course may be taken more than once.

AHG 631: American Political Rhetoric (2)
This course examines the principles and practice of American political rhetoric through the careful reading of the speeches of its leading statesmen.

AHG 632: The American Presidency I, Washington to Lincoln (2)
This course is an examination of the political and constitutional development of the office of president from the Founding era through the Civil War. It focuses on how the presidency shaped American political life as the country grew and struggled with rising sectional tensions.

AHG 633: The American Presidency II, Johnson to the present (2)
This course is an examination of the political and constitutional development of the office of president from Reconstruction to the present. It focuses on how changing conceptions of the presidency have shaped American political life in the 19th and 20th centuries, especially as America has become a global power.

AHG 640: The Congress (2)
This course focuses on the legislative branch of the U.S. government. It examines topics such as the constitutional powers of Congress, the relations between Congress and the other branches of the federal government and the states, and the changing structure and internal politics of Congress.

AHG 641: The Supreme Court (2)
This course is an intensive study of the highest court in the federal judiciary, focusing on the place of the Supreme Court in the American constitutional order. Areas of study may include the relationship between the Court and the other branches of the federal government as well as the states; the Court's power of judicial review; and judicial politics and statesmanship. We will examine these kinds of issues by investigating how the Court has interpreted the Constitution in some of its most historic decisions.

AHG 642: Political Parties (2)
This course examines the development of American political parties, focusing on the meaning of parties and historic moments in the rise and fall of political parties from the Founding era to the present. Topics may include re-aligning elections, changing coalitions within American parties, and the contemporary Democratic and Republican parties.

AHG 660: Topics in American History and Government (2)
Topics courses allow faculty to meet the needs of small groups of students by offering a course specifically designed to meet their needs. Faculty may also use topics courses to develop and test a course for possible inclusion in the standard curriculum.

AHG 670: Directed Study (2)
Students wishing to develop expertise requiring study beyond what is offered in other courses may arrange with a professor to work individually on a topic. The program Associate Director must approve all directed studies. Prerequisites: Permission of the Chair and instructor.

AHG 680: Seminar in History, Government, and Civics (1-4)
Note: No more than four hours of AHG 680 credit may be applied to MAHG or MASTAHG degree requirements.
An intensive study of topics related to American political, diplomatic, social, and economic history (including state and local history); the origins, philosophies, structures, and practices of national, state, and local government in the United States; and/or the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a self-governing society.

AHG 691: Thesis (4)
Prerequisites: AHG 690: Research Methods and approval of thesis proposal by student's faculty committee.
In order to complete requirements for the degree, each student must complete a thesis or a capstone project. The purpose of either is to show mastery of both subject matter and analytical and interpretive skills.

AHG 692: Capstone Project (4)
Prerequisites: AHG 690: Research Methods and approval of capstone project proposal by student's faculty committee.
In order to complete requirements for the degree, each student must complete a thesis or a capstone project. The purpose of either is to show mastery of both subject matter and analytical and interpretive skills.

AHG 693: Qualifying Examination (0)
Prerequisites: Completion of all required coursework (32 hours for MAHG; 24 hours of AHG coursework for MASTAHG) and permission
The qualifying examination evaluates the candidate's understanding of significant ideas, events, persons, and texts in American history and government. Additionally, the exam will evaluate the candidate's ability to analyze and use documentary evidence in academic writing. Exams are offered as arranged by the student and the student's examination advisor.

AHG 6XX: Effective Writing for MAHG & MASTAHG (0)
Prerequisites: Permission.
Students in this course will work to improve basic writing skills, with the specific intent of becoming more effective writers in general, and during their time in the MAHG or MASTAHG programs. The purpose of the course is for the student to develop an extended essay meeting at least the minimal requirements specified in the MAHG and MASTAHG grading rubric for content knowledge, analysis, and interpretation. The focus will be on improving the organization, structure, and logic of written work; improving clarity and readability; and identifying and correcting errors in grammar and usage. The course is offered concurrently with other courses and may be taken more than once upon the recommendation of the chair.

Education courses

EDAD 683: Educational Leadership (3)
Organizations and leadership and their interrelationship are examined in this course. Various facets of educational leadership are emphasized, specifically human behavior within the context of the school organization. Leadership theories and findings are applied by considering both the skills and the underlying meaning of one's leadership agenda. Attention is given to the integration of human resources leadership in educational bureaucracies. The integration of theory and research with actual practice is at the heart of both the curriculum for this course as well as the means of evaluating student performance. This course meets the requirements for the Social and Historical Foundations standard in the MASTAHG Core.

EDCI 522: Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century Classroom (3)
This course provides teachers with an overview of how theoretical and curricular foundations have evolved to form the current 21st century model of classroom instruction. It provides practical instruction on how key technologies are being utilized to meet the needs of the 21st century student. Instructors provide a theoretical framework for technology integration that find praxis with critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation. The meshing of instructional methods, curriculum, and technology are the thematic focal points of content with a practical emphasis on learning how these technologies work. This course meets the requirements for the Curriculum Foundations standard in the MASTAHG Core.

EDCI 523: Reading and Literacy Curriculum (3)
A course designed to provide advanced study of the forces that have shaped literacy curriculum and instructional practices. Theoretical understandings about reading and writing as well as philosophical, political, and economic influences on will be explored in order to identify their influence on the purpose, content, organization, and implementation of literacy instruction. This course meets the requirements for the Curriculum Foundations standard in the MASTAHG Core.

EDCI 533: Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners (3)
Field/Clinical Hours: 20. There are no prerequisites for this course which is open to all graduate education students. While it is aptly suited for every teacher in our diverse classrooms, this course is required for candidates seeking Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Endorsement. This course explores historical, social, and policy issues surrounding the education of diverse learners particularly English Language and limited English proficient learners in K-12 settings in the U.S.  With the population changes and demographics realities of the 21st Century, educational professionals will be better prepared by investigating theories and themes of cultural identity, intragroup differences, migration, language use, and how these factors intersect with school performance. This course will emphasize the roles of school in collaboration with family and community structures to elicit strengths and enhance positive outcomes for students.  This course meets the requirements for the Diversity standard in the MASTAHG Core.

EDFN 503: School and Society (3)
School and Society is a course designed for students to reflect on antecedents of the current educational system (philosophical, political, economic, and social influences which have shaped it) and societal interactions which continue to affect it.  Using this understanding, students will focus on the role of the educator in developing schools as educational communities.  This course meets the requirements for the Social and Historical Foundations standard in the MASTAHG Core.

EDFN 504: Action Research for Educational Improvement (3)
This course provides graduate students interested in improving instruction with an introductory experience in designing, conducting, and analyzing action research in their classrooms, schools, and/or community-based learning sites. Action research is a systematic, reflective process driven by real-life questions, needs, and problems of a particular context. Students will learn fundamental principles of research design, refine their skills to evaluate and critique research, and consider the role of systematic, reflective practitioner-inquiry in guiding one's own professional practice and profession collaboration activities. This course meets the requirements for the Inquiry standard of the MASTAHG Core.

EDFN 505: Introduction to Applied Educational Research (3)
This course is designed to introduce education professionals to both qualitative and quantitative sources of information across research in a way that is directly relevant to their professional practices.  Students will review and critique recent qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods studies to synthesize an understanding of both research methods and the mechanisms for linking research to practice. Students will locate and collect three types of data: qualitative, quantitative, and literary, and will use these data to structure a creative product that demonstrates knowledge of both research and practice. This course meets the requirements for the Inquiry standard of the MASTAHG Core.

EDFN 506: Qualitative Research (3)
This course acquaints students with a qualitative inquiry. In addition to providing an introduction to the theoretical perspectives informing qualitative research, the course focuses on techniques for and issues of gathering, analyzing, and reporting qualitative data. The social and ethical issues of research are emphasized. This course meets the requirements for the Inquiry standard of the MASTAHG Core.

EDFN 507: Understanding Statistical Research for Classroom Professionals (3)
This course is designed to prepare non-mathematicians to critique and understand statistical research and research designs as they apply to classroom and school practices.  Students will analyze a variety of research questions in education and learn to follow these questions through relevant research studies, to learn how to structure links between research and practice that are reasonable, and that protect and justify the experiential knowledge of eduation professionals.  This course meets the requirements for the Inquiry standard of the MASTAHG Core.

EDFN 510: The World in Your Classroom: Mulitcultural and Global Education (3)
The goal of this course is to equip educators with the knowledge and practical skills necessary to implement multicultural curricular and pedagogical strategies, thereby enabling them to meet the diverse learning needs of all students. By developing multicultural competence, using culturally relevant instruction and pedagogy, and practicing culturally responsive teaching, educators will improve their ability to positively impact student achievement both individually, and holistically. Also, by developing an understanding of the prevailing conditions, developments, and trends associated with world educational issues, educators will be equipped to prepare their students for the increasingly globalized world. This course meets the requirements for the Diversity standard in the MASTAHG Core.

EDFN 512: Teaching and Learning Process (3)
This course deals with the major theories of human development, motivation and learning.  Planning of instruction, teaching strategies, assessment and classroom management are examined.  Authentic pedagogical practices are used to gain an understanding of the teaching and learning process. This course meets the requirements for the Diversity standard in the MASTAHG Core.

EDFN 521: Theory and Practice of Curriculum Development (3)
Students examine the impact of curriculum theories and practices, including contemporary curriculum discourses; technology utilization and management; major groups and individuals in society who influence curriculum; trends and innovations in curriculum, approaches to evaluation of curriculum experiences; professional techniques of curriculum development; and the role of students, teachers, administrators, scholars, parents, and other groups in shaping curriculum. Current literature and research are emphasized. This course meets the requirements for the Curriculum Foundations standard in the MASTAHG Core.

EDFN 524: Democracy in Education (3)
Democracy in Education explores curriculum theory related to democracy in education, along with historical examples of democratic schools. Current practices that shape democratic and peaceable schools will be studied with a view to application in schools and classrooms. This course will add depth to understand of curriculum in education and democratic schools. This course meets the requirements for the Curriculum Foundations standard in the MASTAHG Core.

EDFN 645: Educational Psychology and Human Development (3)
The course addresses theories of human development, the scientific worthiness of the theories, and assists in developing an understanding of how the theories may be applied to schooling. Students will apply research related to human development and educational psychology for the improvement of instruction, curriculum and administration. This course meets the requirements for the Social and Historical Foundations standard in the MASTAHG Core.

EDIS 550: Social and Educational Perspectives of Disability (3)
The application of a deficit model to define and respond to individuals with disabilities in schools contributes to community marginalization and social stigmatization. This class focuses upon the interpretative framework of the perceptions and implications of disability within society and the educational community. It will utilize diverse perspectives to explore how the construct of disability impacts the community identity and participation rights of individuals with disabilities. The promotion of socially just practices will be explored. This course meets the requirements for the Diversity standard in the MASTAHG Core.

EDIS 579: Special Education Laws, Policies, and Procedures (3)
The class covers the interpretive framework encompassing recent judicial decisions that emphasize inclusion for students with disabilities. Students review the American legal system and laws governing special education at federal and state levels and address issues from a teaching perspective. The course includes procedures specific to programs for learners with need for educational intervention. It also addresses topics such as relationships between school personnel and parents, funding sources, consultative procedures, interpersonal communication skills, enhancing team performance, and cultural and linguistic diversity. This course meets the requirements for the Social and Historical Foundations standard in the MASTAHG Core.