Course Description: A survey of the functions and processes of the three branches of American national government. The changing roles of the branches and their relationship to the public will be emphasized. 3:0:3
Educational Philosophy: We will learn through discussion and dialogue. It is critical that all assigned material be read so that students can actively participate in discussions. Questions will be posed to require students to think about issues. The Socratic dialogue will be used to demonstrate the relevance of American Government to today's issues.
Learning Outcomes:The objective of the course is for students to understand the American political system. We will begin by examining the historical, social, and philosophical influences on the creation of the American state. We will focus on the Constitution. Next we will examine the impact of the people on American government, including interest groups, political parties, and the media. We then move to an analysis of the three branches of government and their current interrelationship. Finally, we will discuss the process of policy development and implementation.
At the end of the class, the student should be able to explain not only the formal structure of American government, but also be able to analyze and explain critically how policies and decisions of government are developed.
Course Assessment: Students will be assessed on mastery of the course content through examinations, short papers, and class participation.
Grading: There will be two exams and a final. Each unit examination will count 20% of the final grade (40% of the total). The final examination will be worth 30% of the final grade.
American democracy requires a knowledgeable electorate. Knowledge for the average citizen can best be gained by reading newspapers and news magazines. To support the student in his/her reading, the student will submit a current news article for each of the first four parts of the textbook. The article must be accompanied by a brief (approximately two typewritten pages) analysis of how the article illustrates information covered in class. Each article will count 5% of your final grade (i.e., 20% for all the articles).
Factors such as class participation, contribution to the class (i.e., respecting others'ability to participate) and attendance will count for 10 % of the final grade.
In addition, any student who misses three classes, regardless of whether or not the absence is excused, will be administratively withdrawn
Late Submission of Course Materials: Late work will not be accepted. Assignments are provided in the syllabus and may be turned in advance if a class is to be missed or may be e-mailed. If there is a significant illness, death in the family or similar event which impacts your ability to attend class and meet course requirements, I must be notified ahead of time (Telephone or e-mail).
Classroom Rules of Conduct: Computers make writing and revising much easier and more productive. Students must recognize though that technology can also cause problems. Printers run out of ink and hard drives crash. Students must be responsible for planning ahead and meeting deadlines in spite of technology. Be sure to save copies of your work to disk, hard drive, and print out paper copies for backup purposes.
Honest disagreement and differences of opinion on issues are critical to the American system. All individuals are expected to treat each other with respect and encourage classmates to articulate their views.
Plagiarism:Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing.
Park University 2004-2005 Undergraduate Catalog Page 101
Attendance Policy:Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.
Park University 2004-2005 Undergraduate Catalog Page 100
Disability Guidelines:Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all learners that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to learners concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding learners with disabilities and, to the extent of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .
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