PO 100 American Politics and Citizenship
FA 2006 HO
Tuesday, 10 -1; Thursday, 10-1, or by appointment
12:25 - 1:40 PM
Tinder: Political Thinking
Schattschneider: The Semisovereign People
Hacker: A Pocket Style Manual
Textbooks can be purchased though the Parkville Bookstore
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An examination of the role of the citizen in the American political system on the local, state and national levels of government. The impact of urbanization, bureaucratization and technology will be emphasized with reference to their historical development and international dimensions.
Many Americans claim not to understand government and politics. A lack of understanding in these matters can lead to apathy, which is democracy's worst enemy. This course will provide an understanding of government and politics. At Park College we call this understanding “civic literacy”.
The goals of “civic literacy” and this course are fourfold. First is the goal to give you an understanding of the American political, social and economic systems and their interrelationships, and taking cognizance of the various subcultures in America and the role they play. The second goal is to help you recognize that there are many different political, social and economic systems in the world; yet, they too are interrelated. The third goal is to foster within you an appreciation of the geographical, historical and cultural factors that shape those alternative political, social and economic systems. The fourth and final goal is to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to become responsible, participating citizens.
This course will provide you with the basis upon which you can build an enriching citizenship.
Educational Philosophy: The facilitator's educational philosophy is one of interactiveness based on lectures, readings, quizzes, dialogues, examinations, internet, videos, web sites and writings. The facilitator will engage each learner in what is referred to as disputatious learning to encourage the lively exploration of ideas, issues and contradictions.
Learning Outcomes: Core Learning Outcomes
University courses must
include a core assessment that measures Departmental Learning Outcomes. The purpose of this assessment is to
determine if expectations have been met concerning mastery of learning outcomes
across all instructional modalities. The
core assessment for this course is a portfolio of written work and will account
for at least 20% of the total grade for the course and cover all five of the
Core Learning Outcomes.
Course grades are determined on the following bases:
90-100=A Project 30%
80-89=B Participation 10%
70-79=C 1st Exam 10%
60-69 =D 2nd Exam 20%
0-59 =F Final Exam 20%
Self Assessment 10%
Course grades are determined on the following bases:
90-100=A Project 30%
80-89=B Participation 10%
70-79=C 1st Exam 10%
60-69 =D 2nd Exam 20%
0-59 =F Final Exam 20%
Self Assessment 10%
In teaching a general education course I try to get the students to see and use as many different resources for learning as possible. The college, as a whole, also takes this viewpoint and provides a variety of special programs for enlightenment and entertainment.
Two of these special programs are Convocations and Faculty Lectures. Announcements of them will be made in class. To further encourage students to broaden their horizons, my representative, or I will have a sign-up sheet at each Convocation/Faculty Lecture. If you attend either (that means really attend, not just sign up and leave), you will get on extra point added to your final grade for the course up to a total of three points. So in other words, I hope everyone will attend at least three Convocations/Faculty Lectures.
BRIEF ANALYSIS PAPER
Course Project, Option #1
The purpose of this paper is two-fold: first, to familiarize you with the mechanics of writing a paper based on research and, second, to allow you to examine an issue in some depth.
This paper can be no less than five (5) double-spaced typed pages and no more than ten (10) such pages (excluding title page, footnote and bibliography pages). In other words, the body of your paper must be between five and ten pages.
Your paper must incorporate footnotes/references. How you do that is explained in the HACKER book which you have purchased for this class. Use one of the systems from that book, I would suggest the MLA system.
The subject matter for your paper will be one of the two following issues:
1) Stem-cell research in America
2) The fear of nuclear proliferation in North Korea.
Choose one that is of most interest to you. However, if you have another topic in mind, come and see me to discuss the possibility of using it as a substitute before Friday, September 1, 2006
Your research will be limited to the following sources: You must have at least one citation from each of the following:
THE NEW YORK TIMES
THE NATIONAL REVIEW
THE NEW REPUBLIC
No other sources will be permitted. This is done so that you learn how to use resources while still keeping this paper brief. All of these resources are available in the Park College Library and on line.
Your paper must answer the following questions:
1. What is the issue about? (Give both sides a fair presentation.)
2. What has been the policy regarding this issue in the U.S.?
3. What ought to be done? Why? (Here, you are expected to give your judgment on the issue.)
To complete this assignment, you must hand in four separate reports each of which will be graded. The relative weights of each are listed below. The dates are as follows:
September 25 Thesis statement and preliminary bibliography 20%
October 23 Outline 20%
November 20 Paper 50% or 60%
December 8 Corrected Copy (if needed) 10%
The handout on how to write termpapers will explain what each of these four reports should include.
Each of the reports must be typewritten, double-spaced. As each of the reports is handed in, all previous work must be handed in as well.
For every five spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors in each report, your grade for the report will be reduced by three points.
ONE LETTER GRADE WILL BE ASSESSED ON THE GRADE FOR EACH REPORT FOR EVERY DAY OR PART OF A DAY A REPORT IS LATE.
Course Project, Option #2
One of the best ways to understand what government is doing is to go and actually see what government and political groups are actually doing. To that end, this assignment will get you out into the real world of government and politics by having you attend several governmental and/or political meetings.
To fulfill this alternative to the termpaper, you must attend four (4) different political/governmental functions. These can be either formal or informal functions.
Examples of possible functions:
Park College Student Senate
Any city council meeting
Any school board meeting
Any political party meeting
Any interest group meeting
Interview with a government official
Interview a candidate for office
Any of various commission meetings or hearings
Many other possibilities exist as well. You may only use one from each type of function.
On the following dates, you must return to me an Active Citizenship Proposal Form that is available from me. These will tell me the function you wish to go to and I will either grant approval or withhold approval to use it for part of the assignment. You will lose 10% of your grade for each day a proposal or report is late.
Proposal forms are due on the following dates with the actual reports due on the second dates on the line:
Proposal due, Sept. 15; report due, Sept. 29
Proposal due, Oct. 9; report due, Oct. 27
Proposal due, Oct. 30; report due, Nov. 13
Proposal due, Nov. 17, report due, Dec. 1
The Reports: After you have attended an approved function, you must type up a report. The information in this report will include the following: What was the function? When and where was it held? Who, in general, was in attendance? Who said what and who did what? Beyond these questions, you must also give a CRITICAL REVIEW of what happened. Using your own judgment, express what you thought about what you saw and heard. What do you think the organization is supposed to do? How well is it carrying out these functions? Among other observations you should make, tell whether you thought what you saw and heard was interesting. Who benefited from whatever outcome occurred? Who lost? What improvements in how things worked would you make? Did you agree with what was said and done? In other words, ANALYZE what you saw and heard.
Your greatest sources of information for the kinds of meetings you will use are the local newspapers.
Each report will be graded separately. Each report will count as 5% of your final grade for the course.
AMERICAN POLITICS AND CITIZENSHIP
Due: December 1, 2006
The purpose of this activity is to assess your own performance over the entire semester. Properly done, this report will make it possible for me to see what you have learned and not learned this semester in terms of politics, government, critical thinking, values literacy and civic literacy. Please note that I use the criteria listed below in arriving at your grades in this course. In fact, this report will display your capabilities in terms of critical thinking and values literacy.
Begin by stating the grade you think you have the evidence to support. Build a case for your grade using the criteria below and presenting examples from your work (exams, papers, in class discussions) to substantiate your claims. The more evidence you give, the stronger your case.
Please note that a well-reasoned case for your getting a low grade may well justify your getting a higher grade, while a poorly-reasoned and weakly supported case for a high grade will certainly result in a lower grade.
This report must be typed except for examples presented from exams.
CRITERIA FOR GRADES IN PO 100
The grade of F
This grade represents either a failure to grasp the major content of this course or a failure to do the work required for this course. This grade can also represent a combination of both of the above.
If your ideas on politics, government, ideology, the U.S. governing system and your own political values after this course are as vague, imprecise, and superficial and not based on reason as they were at the start of this course, then this denoted a failure to adequately handle the course content.
Your work (class discussions, paper, exams, etc.,) demonstrates this failure. For example, you cannot use political terms and make distinctions clearly nor do you show any appreciation for differing value systems. You cannot put together information in a form which communicates clearly. You are unable to distinguish between the relevant and irrelevant information on government and politics you possess. You use questionable assumptions incautiously, while you do not clarify key concepts in politics and government. You do not take proper notice of competing points of view nor does your reasoning on politics and government progress from clear premises to formulation and on to conclusions and consequences.
Your paper and exam answers tend to be unorganized, lack definitions and cover the subject matter only superficially. The paper shows little effort or understanding of library research of current events and shows an apparent unwillingness or inability to successfully develop a research project over a semester.
The other problem you may have had is that you failed to do a significant amount of the work required for this course and/or you may have missed a significant number of classes. Moreover, your work may have been turned in late, incomplete and lacking proper form.
The grade of D
This grade reflects a low level of understanding about politics, government and one's own political philosophy. Although some development is noted in communication and the use and evaluation of information, little understanding of the full potential of critical assessment is evidenced. Your work generally shows a lack of careful thinking and planning and most, or all, of your assignments are poorly done.
For example, you rarely use the terminology associated with government and politics and when you do, you usually do not successfully make clear distinctions among the terms. You do not give clear evidence that you understand how the social, political and economic systems of the United States function nor how they are interconnected. Rarely do you link features of the United States' system to international affairs.
You take little interest in current events and do not keep yourself well-informed on political, social and economic matters. Your papers and exams show little in the way of initiative. Suggested corrective measures are not heeded and little improvement is shown over the semester so that what is handed in is at a very low level of development.
You don't often show an understanding of the variety of values and evaluation of them, nor is there much movement on your part toward developing a personal set of values about politics and government. You rarely make distinctions between relevant and irrelevant data, you rarely recognize that you make questionable assumptions, and you almost never show the ability to reason effectively from carefully stated premises to formulation, conclusions, and consequences.
The grade of C
This grade represents an elementary understanding of what politics and government are and how they are related to the social and economic structures. Some development of critical skills is shown along with recognition of what is gained by their use. By the end of the course, evidence of understanding emerges but on the whole, work is inconsistent with pronounced weaknesses. Some assignments may be done well but others will be done poorly. The paper will show some improvement as it is developed over the semester. Exams will have some organization but will lack precise definitions and interconnections.
For example, you sometimes may use the terminology of Political Science effectively, but just as often you use it ineffectively. You can make distinctions among some terms but others elude you. At times you make connections among the political system here and others in the world at large, but these comparisons will only be at a very rudimentary level. There is some evidence that you are developing a personal philosophy concerning politics and government but parts of that philosophy may be inconsistent or absent.
On occasion your work reflects a mind getting control of ideas, assumptions, inferences and the intellectual process as a whole. On other occasions, however, your work shows a lack of clarity and discipline. At times your analysis is clear and concise, you sometimes make distinctions between the relevant and irrelevant and you sometimes correctly identify relevant competing points of view. You sometimes show a general tendency to reason carefully from stated premises through formulation and you occasionally recognize important implications and consequences.
The grade of B
This grade represents achievement in grasping what politics and government are, as well as a clear development of a range of critical skills with an appreciation of their appropriate use. The work by the end of the course shows understanding based upon clear, precise, and well-reasoned approaches with only occasional lapses into weak reasoning, misuse of concepts and narrow vision.
Typically you will use precise terms and make distinctions effectively. You will be able to show how the United States' political, economic and social systems are interrelated and what relationships our systems have with the rest of the world. You will have an appreciation for the geographical and historical influences upon politics and government and you will be well on the way to acquiring the tools for responsible citizenship. You are taking the time to become informed on current events and you make some attempt to discover the historical background of current events.
Over the course you will demonstrate that you have gone beyond simply beginning to take charge of your intellectual processes. Occasionally your work may lack clarity and discipline, but for the most part you show that you have gained the tools for gathering, retrieving, evaluation and communication information. You will often make distinctions between relevant and irrelevant data and information. You will often recognize the role assumptions play in reasoning and you will likely clarify key concepts effectively. You will usually show a genuine appreciation of the diversity of value systems and an openness to different ways of reaching answers to value questions. You will have developed a nominal set of personal values that you apply in many situations.
In short, you will show a general tendency to reason carefully from clearly stated premises to substantial formulation and recognition or important implications and consequences.
The grade of A
This grade is awarded for significant achievement in understanding the political world and your relationship to it. You must show a superior grasp of what thinking about politics is, along with a clear development of a range of critical skills or abilities. The work at the end of the course is almost invariably clear, precise and well-reasoned.
You will consistently use the terminology associated with Political Science effectively and frequently. Distinctions will be made as will connections among systems internal to the United States as well as internationally. You will develop ways to contribute to the solution of political problems through effective citizen participation.
Throughout the course you will have demonstrated that you have acquired the ability to gather, evaluate and communicate information in a variety of ways. You will also have given evidence that you recognize that there are many processes and methods of critical thinking and problem solving. You will have also acquired the tools for analyzing value questions as well as developed a set of personal values that you use and test on many occasions including in papers and exams.
Again and again, your work shows that you are in charge of your ideas, assumptions, inferences and intellectual processes. You routinely analyze issues clearly and precisely, distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant, clarify key concepts and identify competing points of view.
You reason carefully from clearly stated premises to formulation of complete ideas with a great deal of sensitivity to the implications and consequences of such ideas.
Grading for Exams
Essays were complete, thorough and insightful in describing and relating concepts and terms to one another. All important terms and concepts used were defined. Appropriate conclusions were drawn given the evidence produced.
Complete paragraphs and sentences were used throughout the exam and in a logical flow from the introduction of the essay through the presentation of evidence to the summary and conclusions.
Essays were mostly complete, mostly thorough with some insight as to how concepts and terms fit together. Though there were omissions, they were not major and detract only slightly from the essay. Some information presented may have been in error, but again, not in a major way. Some support was given for conclusions drawn. Definitions were given for most terms.
The essays for the most part were grammatically correct and organized in a relatively meaningful fashion. Complete sentences and paragraphs were used most frequently.
Essays were only somewhat complete in describing terms and concepts. The answers offered only shallow or infrequent insights into how concepts were related. Some information may be missing. Some definitions may be missing or incomplete. Conclusions may be presented without valid evidence or in opposition to the evidence presented.
While the essays were readable, they lacked logic and coherence. Complete sentences were frequently used while paragraph structure may have been weak.
Essays reveal little information and little insight into the relationship among terms. While a basic grasp of an idea may be evident, it is not developed deeply nor explained well and generally stands alone without reference to other aspects of the essay. Definitions, if used, are too brief or in error. Conclusions, if any are given, are merely asserted and unsupported by evidence.
Answers are not given in true essay form. Instead, they may simply be phrases or sentence fragments that are not really linked together. The logic of the essays, therefore, is not immediately evident.
Essays lacked great amounts of information, definition and cohesion among ideas. Concepts are used inappropriately and definitions are lacking altogether or in almost complete error. Answers are brief with little structure
.Grading for Participation
The quality and quantity of participation are superior. The student never misses class without an adequate explanation. The student comes to class fully prepared with, very often, questions and comments from the reading as well as questions and observations from current affairs that are relative to the subject of the class.
While actively participating, the student is never intrusive. She/he allows others to have their complete say; actively and intensely listens to others; and responds to others on an intellectual, not a personal basis.
The student speaks clearly, uses appropriate language correctly and sophisticatedly, and uses the proper tone and inflection.
The quality and quantity of participation is significant, although quantity is sometimes attempted as a substitute for quality. The student occasionally misses class but is well-prepared when he/she does attend. The student raises questions from the readings several times over the semester and also makes some comments about the readings. The student will make connections with the headlines of current affairs, but some depth in the understanding of the issue may be lacking.
When participating, the student most of the time observes the common courtesy rules of discourse, but may at times simply blurt out comments or interrupt other speakers.
The student speaks plainly with little trouble finding the appropriate language. He/she may at times use inappropriate tone (sarcasm, disbelief) and inflection.
The quality and quantity of the participation is common; neither is noteworthy. The student generally shows up for class and may be prepared for class but just as often may not be. Infrequent participation is the norm, and usually only when called upon. She/he does not often relate the reading or current events to what goes on in class.
Participation is in the form of short responses to questions or brief assertions. The building of an oral argument does not occur often. Listening is not done carefully and others' points of view are not seemingly appreciated.
Appropriate language occasionally finds its way into discussions.
The student misses class without giving reasons and comes to class unprepared. There is little quality or quantity to the participation and rarely are comments offered.
Listening is done poorly, if at all, and appropriate language, tone and inflection are missing.LITERACIES IN PO 100
American Politics and Citizenship
The following is taken from “A Proposal for Implementing General Education in the Park College School of Arts and Sciences.”
Civic Literacy at Park means:
1. Understanding of the working of American social, political, and economic systems.
2. Recognition of the existence of diverse alternatives systems and their necessary global relationships.
3. Appreciation of the geographical and historical roots which are shaping these systems.
4. Acquisition of tools for responsible citizenship involvement and for participation in economic and social endeavors.
The student with civic literacy will be able to see the complexity of social, political, and economic systems and problems on the national and international scene, and then develop ways that would contribute to the solution of such problems through effective citizenship participation.
Values literacy at Park means:
1. Understanding of the importance of value concerns in human life, and the ability to distinguish them from factual matters.
2. Recognition of the major ways proposed for resolving value questions, and the ability to evaluate them and use them where appropriate.
3. Appreciation of the diversity of value systems and their interconnection with the cultures in which they are found, yet openness to the possibility that there may be common goals and principles that can serve as the bases for inter-cultural judgments.
4. Acquisition of tools for analyzing value questions, and acquisition of a set of personal values that are continually held up for review even as one tries to live by them.
The student with values literacy is sensitive to value questions, appreciatively and critically aware of differing value systems, in possession of tools for analyzing value questions, and engaged in the process of putting these things together into a constant set of personal values and testing them for life.
Critical literacy at Park means:
1. Understanding and mastery of the basic skills in communication, computing, and information management.
2. Recognition of the diversity in the processes and methods of critical thinking and problem solving, and recognition of standards of excellence.
3. Appreciation of the history and variety of approaches for examining and using information, and their technological applications in contemporary life.
4. Acquisition of tools for gathering, retrieving, evaluating, and communicating information and data for various purposes. These tools should include the basic skills in writing, speaking, listening, computing and the use of computers, and problem solving.
The student with critical literacy will be able to gather, evaluate, and communicate information effectively; meet the basic computing demands of contemporary life; know standards of excellence; recognize varieties of problem-solving strategies; and be able to contribute to desirable changes or help preserve and transmit fundamental knowledge for the good of society.
Late Submission of Course Materials: Late papers or assignments will be assessed one letter grade for each day or part of a day they are late. Anything handed in after class on December 8, 2006, will be counted as zero.
Classroom Rules of Conduct:
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND POLICIES
1. Attend classes regularly. EACH unexcused absence will lower your cumulative grade by two percent (two points on a 100 point scale). There are no excused absences except in extreme cases of illness attested to by a Doctor, or a family death.. You may regain one point for your cumulative grade by handing in a typed summary of the reading for the day(s) you miss. These summaries are due one week after the class is missed. They will not be accepted for credit after that time. If you are missing a lot of classes due to health, consider dropping the course or taking an incomplete for the course. Students are responsible for the material covered in class while they are absent.
2. Be prepared for class. This means that you have read the assignment and are prepared to discuss it. This course is a combination of lecture and discussion and you are expected to take part in the discussions. 10 percent of your final grade will be determined by your in-class participation.
3. There will be three regularly scheduled examinations, including the final in this course. Exams will be long essay. No late or early exams will be given except in extreme cases such as illness attested to by a Doctor, or family deaths. Missing an exam, except in these cases, will result in an “F” for the course..
4. You are expected to keep abreast of current events.
5. Two options for a course project are offered. You must choose one of them. Option #1 is a brief analysis paper and Option #2 requires your participation at several political events. See the separate handouts on each option.
6. Late papers or assignments will be assessed one letter grade for each day or part of a day they are late. Anything handed in after class on December 8, 2006, will be counted as zero. Cheating or plagiarism will result in an “F” for the course and a recommendation to the Provost that you be dismissed from Park University.
7. You are required to do a student self-assessment for this course. A separate handout explains the process.
8. Course grades are determined on the following bases:
9. Any student with special needs or a disability in the classroom environment should come and see me immediately after the first class.
10. If you have problems or questions come and see me or email me. Emails will be answered during office hours only.
11. If you are a graduating senior and you have an “A” going into the final exam, you may opt not to take the final exam.
12. Portable telephones and pagers are not allowed in class except for security or emergency medical personnel.
13. No assignments will be accepted via email.
14. Students must sign and return to the instructor the “course agreement” before the course begins.
15. Required textbooks:
Tinder: Political Thinking
Schattschneider: The Semisovereign People
Hacker: A Pocket Style Manual
21 Introduction to the course
25 Civic Education
28 Principles of Political Analysis
Why Political thinking?
4 No Class
Tinder, chapter 1
Tinder, Ch. 2 to p.30
To p. 39
Active Citizenship proposal due
Finish Ch. 2
Ch. 3 to p.77
Finish Ch. 3
Thesis Statement and Preliminary Bibliography due
29 Review for Exam
Active Citizenship Report Due
2 EXAM. BRING UNMARKED BLUE BOOKS FOR EXCHANGE
Ch. 4 to p.111
9 Power Continued
Active Citizenship Proposal Due
13 Power Continued
Finish Ch. 4
Morality in Government
Ch. 5 to p.141
16 Fall Break, no class
20 Fall Break, no class
23 Constitutional Limits
27 Private Property
Finish Ch. 5
Whose Interests Are Served?
Ch. 6 to p.172
Finish Ch. 6
3 Video: Roger and Me
10 No class
13 Review for the exam
Active Citizenship Report due
17 EXAM: BRING UNMARKED BLUE BOOKS FOR EXCHANGE
20 Does History Control Us?
Political Science and Theory
Schattschneider, Preface and Introduction
24 No Class
27 Conflict and Democracy
Ch. 1 Schattschneider
Active Citizenship Report due
4 Winners and losers
Chs. 3 and 4
8 Corrected copy of paper due
Active Citizenship Report due.
Review for exam.
11 Final exam. Bring Blue Books for Exchange 1:00 – 3:00.
Academic Honesty:Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89
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 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87
Attendance Policy:Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.
Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90
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. 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 .
Last Updated:7/26/2006 11:43:32 AM