POLI 1: Introduction to American Government and Politics
Course Syllabus (a.k.a. your most valuable tool in the course) Spring 2014
Office Hours: M from 2-4pm 5021
Email (during the week, I commit to a “next day” turnaround time). Messages sent over the weekend or school breaks may not receive a reply until sometime on the first regular school day. firstname.lastname@example.org
COURSE OBJECTIVE: As described in the course catalogue, this course focuses on a “contemporary analysis of the structure and function of American Government, its constitutional and political systems at the federal, state and local levels. Focus on the following topics: paradigms in the social sciences, models of justice and models of democracy, evolution of American elites and American constitutionalism, role of media in American political culture, political parties and political socialization, concept of the separation of powers: legislative, executive and judiciary branches, protest and protest movements, Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1991”.
As we progress through all of these topics, we will be keeping one overarching theme in mind, and that is a focus on democracy – what it means and how well our system fulfills its requirements in both design and practice. I believe the question, “How democratic is the American system of government?” is an interesting lens through which to examine the government of the United States, and I hope you will find it an interesting way of looking at things too.
STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES: According to the established student learning outcomes, at the completion of the course, the student will be able to: 1. Understand and utilize a variety of theoretical approaches to the analysis of institutional/policy outcomes of government 2. Demonstrate an analytical use of concepts and research to support hypotheses and conclusions. REQUIRED TEXTBOOK: All students are required to have the 6th edition of Keeping the Republic, the Essentials by Christine Barbour and Gerald C. Wright. (There are a few different ISBN #’s for this book, depending on if it comes with online access or not. If you get the 6th edition and “the essentials” you should be okay.) This book should be available at the bookstore. Quizzes WILL reflect material from the book, and it will be difficult (if not impossible) to be successful without it. Compared to many textbooks on American government, it is pretty reasonably priced. REQUIRED SUBSCRIPTION: I also require students to subscribe to the NY Times for the duration of class. Visit http://www.nytimes.com/subscriptions/edu/lp1999.html?campaignId=384XW to read about their special college rates. This is a low-cost subscription. I take many articles from the NY times, and you are certainly welcome to access them for free as long as possible, but if you exceed your limit and/or come upon a required subscription problem, you will need to solve it so you can view the articles. CLASS MEETING / SCHEDULE / ONLINE PORTION: This class meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10am-11:50am OR 12pm-1:50pm (depending on which you signed up for. Classroom space does not permit you to attend the alternate session.) Attendance will be taken daily and absences/tardies will be noted and can affect your grade (see grading). Our in-class time will consist of lecture, discussion, small group/pair work, and student presentations. Some of our readings will be posted online, and you are expected to access the class etudes site regularly. This is a way that I am able to save you money, as all online readings are available free of charge.
In addition, this course includes one “hybrid” hour(s) per week. These “hybrid” hours are conducted via the Internet and not in a face-to-face class session on campus. In order to fulfill the participation requirements for these “hybrid” hours, students are expected to complete the following online activities each week: Online quiz, online discussion and...
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