Syllabus, POSC 202-20/1V

                                                             State and Local Government

                                    Th 4:00 to 6:30 p.m., Library, Room B8/Beckley Room E-34


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

Administration Building, Room 214, 384-6061,

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





Ann Bowman and Richard Kearney, State and Local Government:  The Essentials, Houghton Mifflin, 3rd edition, 2006.


Kevin B. Smith, ed., State and Local Government, Congressional Quarterly, 2007-2008 edition.


James R. Woodworth and W. Robert Gump, James R. Forrester, Camelot:  A Role Playing Simulation, 5th ed., Thomson, 2006.





This course explores the political and organizational structures and processes of state and local governments as well as the functions of these governments in the American federal system.  Examination of theory and practice will enhance student understanding of:  the pivotal role that state and local governments play in the lives of Americans; the forces that shape the development of state and local governments and policies; and salient contemporary issues facing state and local governments.  Students successfully completing the course should be well prepared not only for informed participation in the American political system but also for further academic study of and professional employment within that system.





Each student must obtain a “” e-mail address and participate in the course as directed via Blackboard.  Also, students must complete each section's reading assignments prior to the beginning of the first class in each section.  Additionally, students must participate in class and take all required examinations at the scheduled date and time.


Attendance and Class Participation


Students must attend class and contribute positively.  Students will also be required to participate actively in the Camelot simulation.




Students will be required to take three examinations, including a comprehensive final examination.


Failure to adhere to College policy on academic integrity will not be tolerated and will result in appropriate disciplinary action.



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:










Class attendance and participation






Exam 1






Exam 2






Camelot simulation






Final exam







August 28:  Fundamentals of State and Local Government

Bowman and Kearney (BK):  Chapter 1; Woodworth, Gump, and Forrester (WGF):  Chapters 1-2.


September 4:  Federalism

BK:  Chapter 2; Smith (S):  Chapter 1.


September 11:  State Constitutions

BK:  Chapter 3.


September 18:  Elections and Participation

BK:  Chapter 4; S:  Chapter 2.


September 25:  Exam 1


October 2:  Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Campaigns

BK:  Chapter 5; S:  Chapter 3.


October 9:  State Legislatures

BK:  Chapter 6; S:  Chapter 4.


October 16:  State Governors and the Executive Branch

BK:  Chapter 7; S:  Chapter 5.


October 23:  State Courts

BK:  Chapter 9; S:  Chapter 6.


October 30:  Exam 2


November 6:  Local Government

BK:  Chapter 11; S:  Chapter 8; WGF:  Chapters 3, 5, 7.


November 20:  State and Local Finance

BK:  Chapter 12; S:  Chapter 9; WGF:  Chapter 4.


December 4-11:  Camelot Simulation

Reading to be assigned.