Syllabus, POSC 104-02

                                                            American Federal Government

                                      MW 2:00 to 3:15 p.m., Administration Building, Room 208

 

Instructor:    James A. White, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science

Administration Building, Room 214, 384-6061, jwhite@concord.edu

Office hours:  MWF 11:00 a.m.—12:00 noon, TTh 1:00--2:00 p.m., and by appointment

Website:  http://academics.concord.edu/jwhite

 

REQUIRED TEXTS

 

Robert E. DiClerico and Allan S. Hammock, eds., Points of View:  Readings in American Government and Politics, 10th edition, McGraw Hill, 2007.

 

You must also purchase an i-clicker for this course; these are available from the campus bookstore.

 

DESCRIPTION AND PURPOSE

 

This introductory course seeks to prepare students for informed participation in the American political system while also providing a solid foundation for future study of and/or employment in that system.  This course will explore the theory and practice of the American federal system of government, examining political institutions and individual and group behavior.  Contemporary political, administrative, and policy issues will be used to explore enduring debates regarding the scope of government, the roles of rival institutions, and the balance between democracy, equality, and liberty.

 

REQUIREMENTS

 

Each student must obtain a “concord.edu” e-mail address and participate in the course as directed via Blackboard.  Also, all students must purchase and must register an i-clicker.  Students must complete each section's reading assignments prior to the beginning of the first class in each section; this required reading includes PowerPoint presentations and other material uploaded to Blackboard, relevant reserve readings, and Points of View chapters.  Also, students must regularly read The Washington Post (on-line).  Additionally, students must participate in class, complete all written assignments, and take midterm and final examinations.  All written assignments must be submitted by the beginning of the class period on the due date, and exams must be taken at the scheduled date and time.

 

Attendance and Class Participation

 

Students must attend class and contribute positively.  Two key aspects of daily class participation will include discussion of Washington Post articles (students will be expected to participate in Blackboard discussion of Washington Post articles) and participation in daily quizzes taken via i-clicker.  Additionally, interested students will have the opportunity to present their book reports during the last week of the course.

 

Written Assignments

 

Each student must submit an e-mail to the member of the House of Representatives representing the district in which the student permanently resides.  These e-mails, which must be sent from the aforementioned “concord.edu” e-mail address and on which the instructor must be “blind copied,” should express the student's informed opinion on how the Representative should vote on potentially-forthcoming legislation regarding off-shore drilling.  This assignment must be completed by September 3rd.

 

Also, students must submit, via Blackboard, nine written summaries of the Points of View textbook readings.  These summaries, written in paragraph rather than outline form, must be no longer than two double-spaced pages and must be submitted by the beginning of the first class period of each section.  Students may choose to submit summaries for any nine of the ten sections between September 15th and December 8th, inclusive.

 

Additionally, each student must also complete a written report on What’s the Matter with Kansas.  This report should be at least five but no longer than ten typed, double-spaced pages.  Additional information regarding this assignment will be provided during the first few weeks of class.

 

Quizzes, Midterm and Final Examinations

 

As mentioned above, there will be daily quizzes administered via i-clicker.  There will also be weekly multiple-choice quizzes on the reserve readings.  These quizzes will usually, but may not always, be administered via Blackboard.  The midterm and final examinations will include multiple-choice questions as well as essay questions.

 

All students will be expected to sign an Honor Pledge regarding Blackboard quizzes and other assignments that the students will complete.  Failure to adhere to University policy on academic integrity will not be tolerated and will result in appropriate disciplinary action.

 

GRADES

 

The instructor will grade each assignment, assigning A's for work demonstrating mastery of all major and minor concepts, B's for work demonstrating mastery of all major and most minor concepts, C's for work demonstrating mastery of all major and some minor concepts, D's for work demonstrating mastery of only some major concepts, and F's for work demonstrating mastery of no major concepts.     

 

The final class grade will be determined as follows:

 

 

                               ASSIGNMENT

 

DUE DATE

 

          VALUE

 (% OF TOTAL)

 

Congressional letter and summaries

 

Varied

 

15

 

Class participation (including i-clicker quizzes and Blackboard discussion participation)

 

N/A

 

15

 

Midterm exam

 

10/13, 10/15

 

20

 

Book report

 

11/19

 

25

 

Final exam

 

12/15

 

25


CLASS SCHEDULE

 

August 25:  Introduction

 

August 27—September 3:  American Values and Political Culture:  Basic Tenets

Points of View:  Chapter 1; appropriate reserve reading.

 

September 8-10:  The Constitution; Federalism

The Constitution of the United States of America; Points of View:  Chapter 2; appropriate reserve reading.

 

September 15-17:  Public Opinion; Political Participation

Points of View:  Chapter 3; appropriate reserve reading.

 

September 22-24:  Political Parties; Interest Groups

Points of View:  Chapter 4; appropriate reserve reading.

 

September 29—October 1:  Congress; the Presidency

Points of View:  Chapter 5; appropriate reserve reading.

 

October 10:  The Bureaucracy; the Courts

Points of View:  Chapter 8; appropriate reserve reading.

 

October 13, 15:  Midterm

 

October 20-22:  The Constitution; Federalism

Points of View:  Chapter 9; appropriate reserve reading.

 

October 27-29:  Public Opinion; Political Participation

Points of View:  Chapter 10; appropriate reserve reading.

 

November 3-5:  Political Parties; Interest Groups

Points of View:  Chapter 11; appropriate reserve reading.

 

November 10-19:  Congress; the Presidency

Points of View:  Chapter 12; appropriate reserve reading.

 

December 1-3:  The Bureaucracy; the Courts

Points of View:  Chapter 13; appropriate reserve reading.

 

December 8-10:  Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

Points of View:  Chapter 14; appropriate reserve reading.


Textbooks on Reserve/Chapters Covering Content areas

 

 

Berman and Murphy,

Approaching Democracy,

Pearson, 5th Edition

Fiorina, et.al.,

The New American

Democracy, Pearson,

Alternate 5th Edition

Gitelson, et.al.,

American Government, Houghton Mifflin,

8th Edition

Magleby, et.al.,

Government by the People, 21st Edition, Basic Version

O’Connor and Sabato,  American

Government, Pearson,

2008 Edition

Patterson and Halter, The American

Democracy, McGraw Hill,

8th Edition

American

Values/

Political

Culture

1

1, 4

1

4, 5

1

1,6

Constitution

2

2

2

1, 2

2

2

Federalism

3

3

3

3

3

3

Public

Opinion

8

5

5

8

11

6

Political

Participation

10

6

5

8

13

7

Political

Parties

9

8

6

7

12

8

Interest

Groups

11

7

8

6

16

9

Congress

4

11, 12

7, 10

9, 11

7

11

Presidency

5

10, 13

7, 11

9, 12

8

12

Bureaucracy

7

14

12

13

9

13

Courts

6

15

13

14

10

13

Civil

Liberties

13

16

4

15, 16

5

4

Civil

Rights

14

17

4

17

6

5

Domestic

Policy

15

 

14

 

17, 18

13, 16