American National Government, Fall 2010

 

Political Science 151

 

Instructor:  Mike Nagle

M/W 8:00-9:20 ASC 366

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION

 

This course will survey the origins and evolution of the government of the United States.  It will describe the development of the Constitution and the functions of the legislative, executive and judicial branches.  The impact that political parties, interest groups, and the media have on the government will also be covered.  Basically, it is designed to demonstrate how the American political system actually works.

 

REQUIRED TEXTS

 

          Thomas Patterson, We The People

 

          Melba Patillo Beals, Warriors Don’t Cry

 

Jeff Greenfield, The People’s Choice

 

Three Blue Books

 

GRADING

 

First Mid-term

17.5%

Second Mid-term

20%

Final Exam

22.5%

Quiz over Warriors Don’t Cry

  7.5%

Quiz over The People’s Choice

  7.5%

Summary/Analysis of either Warriors Don’t Cry or The People’s Choice

15%

Letter to an elected official

  3.5%

Discussion/Participation

  6.5%

 

OFFICE HOURS

 

M/W 10:00-10:30, 2:00-2:30; T/Th 9:30-10:30; my office is in the ASC room 379.  If you cannot meet during office hours, just let me know and we’ll set up another time.

          Phone:  (231) 843-5905

          E-mail: mwnagle@westshore.edu

          Homepage:  http://www.westshore.edu/personal/MWNagle/

 

TUTORIAL ASSISTANCE

The Support, Tutoring, and Resource Services (STaRS) program is available to provide free tutorial, disabilities, and other support services to West Shore Students.  Contact Diann Neil Engblade at ext. 5906 or stop by her office in the Campus Center Room 761.

 

COURSE GOALS

 

1.     Students will be able to describe how the constitutional basis of the United States government was formed and how it has evolved over time.

2.     Students will be able to identify how the political process in the United States actually works and be able to become involved themselves, if they so choose.

3.     Written work, reading materials, and course requirements are designed to develop and enhance students, analytical, writing, communication skills, and computer literacy.

 

COURSE OUTLINE AND READINGS

 

Note:  Specific dates for discussions, assignments, and exams are included in this calendar.  Some changes may need to be made, if so, they will be announced in class.

 
Section 1:  Foundations of American Government/Civil Rights and Liberties

 

Week I

Sept 1

Begin Warriors Don’t Cry

Course Intro

Week II

Sept 6, 8

NO CLASS MEETING 9/6:  LABOR DAY HOLIDAY

Read Patterson Chapter 2, continue Warriors Don’t Cry

Survey & pre-test

Week III

Sept 13, 15

Read Patterson Chapter 2, 4 continue Warriors Don’t Cry

Constitution

Week IV

Sept 20, 22

Read Patterson Chapter 5, continue Warriors Don’t Cry

Discussion 9/20:  Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights & Civil Rights

Week V

Sept 27, 29

Read Patterson Chapter 5, finish Warriors Don’t Cry

Quiz & Discussion 9/27: Warriors Don’t Cry

Discussion 9/29:  Plagiarism & Exams

Civil Liberties

Week VI

Oct 4, 6

Summary/Analysis of Warriors Don’t Cry due:  10/4

MID-TERM EXAM #1:  10/6

Review, Exam

 
Section 2:  The Political Process:  Links Between the Government and People

 

Week VII

Oct 11, 13

Read Patterson Chapter 3

Federalism

Week VIII

Oct 18, 20

Read Patterson Chapters 6 & 10

Letter to Official due & Web Assignment due:  10/18

Public Opinion

Week IX

Oct 25, 27

Read Patterson Chapters 7 & 8, begin The People’s Choice

Political Parties

Week X

Nov 1, 3

Read Patterson Chapter 9, continue The People’s Choice

Interest Groups, Money & Politics

Week XI

Nov 8, 10

Read Patterson Chapter 9, continue The People’s Choice

MID-TERM EXAM #2:  11/10

TBA & Exam

 
 
Section 3:  Political Institutions

 

Week XII

Nov 15, 17

Read Patterson Chapter 11, continue The People’s Choice

Congress

Week XIII

Nov 22, 24

Read Patterson Chapter 11, continue The People’s Choice

Congress II

Week XIV

Nov 29, Dec 1

Read Patterson Chapter 12, finish The People’s Choice

Quiz & Discussion 11/29:  The People’s Choice

Congress & Presidency

Week XV

Dec 6, 8

Read Patterson Chapter 12

Summary/Analysis of The People’s Choice due:  12/6

Presidency

Week XVI

Dec 13, 15

Read Patterson Chapter 14

Judiciary, Review & Exam

Week XVII

Dec 20

FINAL EXAM DATE:  12/20

 

 

POLICIES

 

1.     Exams can only be made up if arrangements are made PRIOR to the exam dates.  Students have up to two weeks to make up missed exams, or they CANNOT be made up.  If you are sick or have experienced an emergency contact me, prior to or the day of an exam, to let me know so that we can determine when/if a make-up can be administered.  Make-up exams will be all essay exams.

2.     Incompletes are only used in an emergency and students must have completed at least 50% of the course with a 70% or above to receive an Incomplete.

3.     There will be several discussion sessions during the term, much of it will take place in small groups.  To earn at least a “C” students must attend every discussion session.  To earn a higher grade, students must participate in each session. The class also will be required to attend one performance of an event of your choice included in the WSCC Performing Arts Series.  More information (including free tickets) will be forthcoming throughout the semester.  Web assignments and possible questions concerning movies seen in class will also be included in the discussion grade.

4.     Attendance for each class meeting is mandatory.  It will not be taken as a part of your grade on lecture days (only for discussions), and there is no set penalty for missing lectures, but much of the course material is presented in lecture and final grades will reflect each student's attendance record.  Students are responsible for ALL information presented in class, including such announcements as changes in exam or discussion dates.

5.     Making it to class on time is very important as lateness can distract everyone enrolled in class.  You are all paying a lot of money to be here.  Please give your fellow students the courtesy of arriving to class on time every day.  If you have an appointment or other conflict, schedule it outside of class time; do not leave in the middle of class except in an emergency as this will interrupt the learning environment for all other students.

6.     Please turn all cell phones and pagers off while in class and put away iPods, BlackBerrys, etc.  They are a potential distraction to everyone.

7.     Plagiarism can be defined as “to steal and use the ideas and writings of another as one’s own” (American Heritage Dictionary).  Written assignments must acknowledge when a direct quote is taken or another person’s ideas are paraphrased.  If a source is not cited, this is plagiarism.  Copying another student's ideas and/or paper is cheating.  Sometimes the class will work together in groups, but each student must turn in their own paper with their own ideas.  If you are unsure what you should do, ask me.  Copying another student's answers and/or bringing crib notes are cheating.  The exams are closed note/closed book (with the exception of the quizzes over each supplemental book).  Plagiarism and/or cheating are grounds for failing an exam, assignment, or even the entire course.  If you are unsure what you should do, ask me.

 

EXAMS AND WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS

 

There will be two mid-terms and one final exam.  The format of the exams will include all or some of the following:  essay, multiple choice, and matching, short answer.  The mid-terms and final will be based primarily on lecture material, but students are responsible for information included in the required readings, handouts, discussions, and films.  The text is required reading for this class, but you will not be tested on anything from the text except for specific items I will place on the study guide for each exam.  Use the text to fill in any “gaps” in lecture notes.  The quiz over each of the supplemental books will be open note/open book (but timed).  You may use any handwritten notes you have written yourself. A set of questions will be handed out for the additional writing assignments.  Correct grammar and spelling are important.

 

GRADING POLICY

 

Late assignments are accepted for up to one week, but they are penalized 10% for the first late day, and 5% for each additional late day.  If you want, you may turn in papers as an e-mail attachment.  They must be turned in by 11:59 PM the date they are due, but with some restrictions.  Students (not me!) are responsible for sending the attachments correctly.  I will try to respond with an e-mail within 24 hours letting you know I’ve received the attachment, if you don’t receive an e-mail confirming my receipt, that means I didn’t receive it.  Any “glitches” can lead to penalties for late papers. 

 

A

94-100

 

Superior work; essays contain strong thesis and logical argument; includes analysis, supporting facts and relevant information; well organized and well written.  Includes information from lectures, outside readings, films, speakers, and discussions.

A-

90-93

B+

88-89

Above average work; essays contain strong thesis, but might lack focus and organization; includes analysis; generally well written and argued; information is strong but missing some points; arguments could use more support.

B

84-87

B-

80-83

C+

78-79

Average work; essays contain no thesis or thesis is weak; pertinent information is included, but could use more evidence and stronger organization; understanding of course content is shown but contains little analysis.

C

74-77

C-

70-73

D+

68-69

Poor work; essays lack coherent argument and are poorly written; information is missing and/or incorrect.

D

64-67

D-

60-63

F

Below 60

Failure; lacking correct information; lack of effort is shown.