PO 200 American National Government
SP 2010 HO
Office Hours M, 9:30-12:00; T, 11:30-1:00; W, 9:30-1:00 R, 11:30-1:00; (or by appointment). I am in my office at other times and when I am, feel free to stop in and see me.
1:00 - 2:15 PM
Welch, Gruhl, Comer, Rigdon, Understanding American Government: The Essentials, first edition.
Diana Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual.
Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore
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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.
This is a course about the three constitutional branches of our government. We will examine the roles of each of the branches separately and we will investigate how the process of government works as the three branches join as a system.
We will study the formal constitutional arrangements of our government as well as the informal relationships that have been created. We will also look at the bureaucratization of the three branches and what affect that has had on the process of government.
The purpose of this course is to give you an understanding of the design of our national government, how it works and why it works the way it does. We will refer to ideas discussed in the Constitutional Convention in the late 18th Century as well as contemporary issues such as the crisis in the Mideast and the 2004 presidential election. In doing so, you will have the opportunity to become a well-informed participative citizen.
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
Link to Class RubricClass Assessment:
Who and What Does Your Representative Represent?
One of the most puzzling questions facing citizens in a republic is: Am I being represented? This paper provides you with an opportunity to discover what your representative in the United States House of Representatives is doing. The research and paper will also provide you with a system for examining this question for the rest of your life.
You begin the paper by deciding which of the 435 congressional districts you want to be your “home” district. The district that you choose must be one that is represented by someone who has held that seat for at least six years (three terms). This will provide you with an adequate amount of information to go on.
Having determined which district you will study, you then begin to research the following questions about your district.
1. How did the people in the district vote in recent elections?
2. What was the turnout in the district?
3. What is the party predisposition of the district?
4. What is the history of that particular congressional
seat, in terms of which party wins it?
5. What are the major economic forces in the district?
6. Who gave the member money to run for office?
7. Who gave money to his/her opponent?
You should then be able to present the following data/information:
1. A map of the member’s state with her/his district highlighted.
2. The amount of money spent in the last three elections by both
the member and his/her opponents.
3. The percentage of the vote the member received in the past
three primary and general elections.
4. A description of the district in terms of its
demographics, economics, voting patterns, distinctive
regions and/or cities.
Having examined and discussed the district, you then move on to do research on your representative. The information and data you will present with regard to the person representing your district are:
1. Congressional committees and subcommittees on which the member
has served and is now serving.
2. Congressional party leadership positions the member holds, if any.
3. Informal congressional groups to which the member belongs, noting any leadership positions held.
4. The title and brief description of five bills for which the member was the principle sponsor in the previous sessions.
5. The member’s ratings by the following groups:
American Conservative Union
Americans for Democratic Action
American Civil Liberties Union
League of Conservation Voters
National Taxpayers Union
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Be sure to explain what each of these ratings means and give your overall impression of the ideology of the member based upon these ratings.
From these two groups of data/information you will then present your opinion as to how well the district is currently being represented. This section is the analysis section and it is very important for you to be detailed and give adequate evidence of the conclusions you draw. In other words, tell what you think and why you think it in such a way that the reader will be able to understand what and why.
To make sure that you are making adequate progress, the following “reports” will be due on the dates indicated:
The district you have chosen – January 26
Detailed Outline – March 16 (20% of paper grade)
Paper – April 13 (80% of paper grade)
Each of these reports must by typed, double-spaced. Each report but the District Choice will be graded. The Outline will be graded for completeness. The Paper will be graded for completeness as well as grammar, punctuation, spelling and references. Late reports will reduce your final grade for the paper at the rate of one letter grade per day.
See the handout “Research and Termpaper Guide” and the book A Pocket Style Manual for hints on doing research and writing the paper.
Course grades will be determined on the following bases:
80-89 =B Midterm Examination 20%
70-79 =C Final Examination 20%
60-69 =D Participation and
0-59 =F Current Events 20%
Research Paper 40%
Late Submission of Course Materials:
Late assignments will have their grade lowered one letter for each day or part of a day they are late. Anything handed in after class on April 29, 2010 except the final exam, will be counted as a zero.
Classroom Rules of Conduct:
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND POLICIES
1. Attend classes regularly. Each absence will lower your cumulative grade for the course by 2 %. 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 each day 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 will be missing a lot of classes due to health, consider dropping the course or taking an incomplete for the course.
2. Students are responsible for all material covered in class while they are absent.
3. Be prepared for class. This means that you have read the assignment and are prepared to discuss it in class. This course is a combination of lecture and discussion and you are expected to take part in the discussions. Up to as much as 20% of your final grade will be determined by your in-class participation.
4. There will be two examinations including the final. Examinations will be a combination of short answer and long essay. A few days before each of the examinations you will be given a list of terms and concepts for review. No late or early examinations will be given except in extreme cases such as illness attested to by a Doctor, or family deaths. Missing an exam, except in those extreme cases, will result in an “F” for the course.
5. A research assignment is required for this course. Details will be given on a separate handout.
6. You are required to keep abreast of current affairs. It is suggested that you take out a subscription to a daily newspaper and read it. There may be several current events quizzes.
7. Seniors in their last semester need not take the final exam if they have an “A” going into the final exam.
8. Late assignments will have their grade lowered one letter for each day or part of a day they are late. Anything handed in after class on April 29, 2010, except the final exam, will be counted as a zero.
9. Cheating or plagiarism will result in an “F” for the course and a recommendation to the Dean that you be dismissed from Park College.
10. No portable telephones or pagers are allowed in class except for security or emergency medical personnel.
11. If you have any questions or problems come and see me or email me. Emails will be answered during office hours only.
12. Any student with special needs or who has a disability in the classroom environment, please see me immediately after the first class.
13. No assignments will be accepted via email.
12 Intro to Class
Preface and Chaper 1
19 Constitutional Government
21 Constitutional provisions
Ch. 2 to p.28
Ch. 2 to p.35
District Choice Due
Finish Ch. 2
2 Public Opinion
9 Interest Groups
11 Political Parties
Ch. 6 to p.147
16 Parties and Elections
No new reading
2 Review for Exam
4 Midterm exam. Bring unmarked blue books with you.
9 Spring Break
11 Spring Break
Ch.8 to p.224
18 Video presentation
No new reading.
23 Congress Continued
Ch.9 to p.261
Finish Ch. 9
Ch. 10 to p.301
Finish Ch. 10
Paper due in class
15 the Judiciary
Ch. 11 to 328
Finish Ch. 11
22 Civil Liberties
Ch. 12 to p.357
Finish Ch. 12
4 Civil Rights
Ch. 13 to p.406
Finish Ch. 13
Review for exam.
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 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87
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 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92
Attendance Policy:Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.
Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95
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:12/7/2009 12:05:16 PM