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Syllabus

Syllabus

POL 150: American Government


Course Description:

This course will introduce students to the study of American politics. Students will learn many of the central concepts in political science to aid understanding and ability to comprehend the American political system. Of particular interest will be the theory and practice of democratic government in the U.S. and institutions and processes of American government as manifestations of democratic values.

Prerequisite(s):

  • ENG 101: English Composition 1
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:
  1. Describe how the rule of law establishes and maintains political stability.
  2. Illustrate the process of how to register to vote and voting.
  3. Discuss some of the major themes and conflicts arising from the foundation of the American political system to the present.
  4. Identify and describe the first ten amendments to the Constitution
  5. Assess the role of Congress, Presidency, Bureaucracy and Judiciary in our political system.
  6. Evaluate how political parties and interest groups influence and shape the public policy making.
  7. Present the steps involved in the passage of a bill through the legislature.
  8. Analyze the role of electoral process in the maintenance of democracy.
  9. Examine the role of women, discuss the meaning of class structure and its impact on American politics, and discuss the role race and ethnic relations and the impact on the American system of politics and governance.
  10. Discuss and evaluate the meaning and importance of civil rights and liberties issues in the past and present.

General Education Outcomes (GEOs):

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading:

Assignment(s)

Weight

Discussions (Weeks 1 - 8)

30%

Midterm (Week 4)

30%

Final Exam (Week 8)

40%

Optional Extra Credit Quizzes

NA

Total

100%


Required Text(s):
WARNING: The textbook(s) listed on this syllabus may have changed; go to the Charter Oak State College bookstore, MBS Direct, website at  http://bookstore.mbsdirect.net/charteroak.htm for updated textbook information.

  • Bardes, Barbara A., Mack C. Shelley, II. & Steffen W. Schmidt. American Government and Politics Today: The Essentials 2011 - 2012. 16th ed. Wadsworth Publishing, 2012. ISBN-10: 0-538-49719-X or ISBN-13: 978-0-538-49719-0

Course Schedule:

Week

SLOs

Readings and Exercises

Assignment(s)

1

1,3,4

Topic: Introduction to the American System
  • Learning Unit 1: Political Forces of Change in Today's World.
  • Learning Unit 2: The Constitution.
  • Learning Unit 3: Federalism.
Readings:
  • Bardes et al. Chapters 1-3
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in discussion

2

3,6,9,10

Topic: Civil Rights and Liberties
  • Learning Unit 4: Civil Liberties.
  • Learning Unit 5: Civil Rights: Equal Protection
Readings:
  • Bardes et al., Chapters 4-5
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in discussion

3

6,8

Topic: People and Politics
  • Learning Unit 6: Public Opinion and Political Socialization.
  • Learning Unit 7: Interest Groups
  • Learning Unit 8: Political Parties.
Readings:
  • Bardes et al., Chapters 6-8
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in discussion

4

2,8

Topic: The Process of Leadership Selection
  • Learning Unit 9: Campaigns, Elections, and the Media.
Readings:
  • Bardes et al., Chapter 9
  • Review assigned chapters
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in discussion
  • Midterm Examination Due

Midterm Exam Due

5

5

Topic: Political Institutions
  • Learning Unit 10: The Congress.
  • Learning Unit 11: The Presidency. Executive power, congressional power, checks and balances and the tensions between the two branches.
Readings:
  • Bardes et al., Chapters 10-11
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in discussion

6

1,5

Topic: Political Institutions continued
  • Learning Unit 12: The Bureaucracy.
  • Learning Unit 13: The Judiciary.
Readings:
  • Bardes et al., Chapters 12-13
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in discussion

7

3, 7

Topic: Public Policy
  • Learning Unit 14: Domestic and Economic Policy.
Readings:
  • Bardes et al., Chapter14
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in discussion

8

3, 7

Readings:
  • Bardes et al., Chapter15
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in discussion
  • Final Examination Due

Final Exam Due


Current as of:

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