This course analyzes the United States government’s historic origins, philosophical and theoretical justification, and constitutional structures and how these institutions work. It examines and describes the procedural aspects of the political system including holding elections, campaigning, voting, lobbying, legislating, and executing and adjudicating law. The course provides an analysis of contemporary problems and issues. It also describes California state and local governments’ constitutional base, structures and functions, political process, problems, and issues. Student Learning Outcomes Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to: 1. Describe the nature of government and its theoretical foundations and functions. 2. Relate American political thought, the Constitution, and governing institutions to one another. 3. Identify and explain the structures and functions of the United States and California governments prescribed by their respective constitutions. 4. Compare and contrast the federal, state and local governments with respect to their political foundations, functions, and contemporary problems. 5. Explain the civil liberties and civil rights of individuals as articulated in the United States Constitution and federal court decisions. 6. Identify and evaluate political processes within the United States and California, including the development of political ideologies, voting behavior and other forms of political participation. 7. Evaluate the relationship between the governing process and public policy at both the state and federal level. 8. Discuss and analyze contemporary political issues and operations in the United States and California. 9. Analyze the role of culture, diversity, and ideology in shaping public opinion and public policy in the United States and California. My Objectives I hope you find this course fun, challenging, extremely informative, and that you will reflect back after the course and say that was a great class, I learned a lot, and I would take it again. I also hope you will have a great understanding of how and why the United States and California political system works the way it does, how and why you should be involved, and be able to critically evaluate and think through the news that you read, hear, and see and also discuss with others. Class Format This course combines in-person sessions that include lecture, discussion, multi-media, writing, and required out-of-class reading. Approximately four to six hours of homework time will be needed for each week of class. Political Science 301 – Introduction to Government: United States, Class Syllabus 2 Please note that this course requires critical reading, writing, and thinking. You are advised to have taken the following classes to prepare you. If you have not had these classes, it does not preclude you from success in this class; however, these classes will help you achieve your class goals in POLS 301. Here are the advised classes: Completion of ENGWR 102 or 103 and ENGRD 116 with a grade of “C” or better; or ESLR 320 and ESLW 320 with a grade of “C” or better; or placement through the assessment process is recommended prior to taking this class. Texts 1. Required: Schmidt, Shelley, Bardes, American Government and Politics Today, 2014-2015, 8th/Brief Edition. ISBN #9781285436388. Wadsworth, Publishing. 2 Recommended: Mona Field, California Government and Politics Today, 14th Edition, paperback. ISBN #13 9780205251780, Pearson. Class Protocol The following responsibilities apply to all students: 1. Attend and participate in the weekly classes and discussions. 2. Arrive to class on time and not leave early without the instructor’s permission. 3. Be courteous to people with different perspectives and values. 4. Complete three class examinations and term paper. 5. Read assigned chapters from the two class books. 6. Do not disrupt the class (this will be explained during the first class meeting). 7. It is expected that all cell phones will be turned off during class and that you will not use blackberries, surf the web, listen to ipods or such during class. I will ask you to stop doing so if you are doing any of the above during class. Attendance, Late Submission of Assignments, and Make-Up Exams Non Attendance at First Class – As stated in the Los Rios Community college District (LRCCD) Regulation R-2222, students who fail to attend the first session of a class may be dropped by the instructor. If a student does not show on the first night, does not contact/inform me about the absence in advance, and if there are students on the waiting list, then I plan to drop the no-show student on the first night and add student(s) from the waiting list. As stated in LRCCD R-2222, students who have not attended at least one of the first three sessions of a class will be dropped as a No Show following the third session of the class per Title 5 section 58004. If a class is scheduled for only one session per week, then students who have not attended at least one of the first two sessions of a class will be dropped as a no show following the second session of the course. Attendance Policy/Excessive Absences – The Los Rios Community college District (LRCCD) attendance requirements are as follows: Per Policy P-2222, students are expected to attend all sessions of the class in which they are enrolled. Any student with excessive absences may be dropped from class. Any student who is a no show shall be dropped from a class (CA Code of Regs., Title 5, 58004). Excessive Absence Defined – As stated in LRCCD Regulation R-2222, a student may be dropped from any class when that student’s absences exceed six percent (6%) of the total hours of class time. For POLS 301, evening class, excessive absences shall be missing a total of 1 or more classes, it matters not if they are consecutive or randomly spaced throughout the term. If you are absent, the following constitute excused absences according to ARC: an absence due to personal or a child’s illness (when verified in writing by the Health Center or yours or your child’s Physician), and ARC authorized athletic events, field trips, as well as jury duty and military service requirements will be excused (when the Professor is notified in advance). For an absence due to an ARC authorized event or field trip Political Science 301 – Introduction to Government: United States, Class Syllabus 3 please submit an absence card to me prior to your scheduled absence or if this is not possible, email me and submit the card immediately afterwards. In the case of an ARC excused absence due to personal illness verifiable by a doctor’s note for that day on the day of an exam you may make up the exam provided you do the following: contact me immediately (within 24 hours) if you wish to make up the exam. You must provide proper documentation for the day you were absent immediately upon your return – there will be no makeup of exams without proper documentation. The exam must be made up at the next class meeting of the exam. If I do not hear from you the day you missed the exam then you will not be allowed to make it up. In the case of an excusable absence due to an ARC authorized field trip, military duty or jury duty on the day of an exam, and you wish to take the exam, you must take the exam the night of the final exam. Withdrawal from the Course Withdrawing from a class is the responsibility of the student. Students who fail to drop the class and stop attending will earn an “F” for the final course grade. Statement of Standards and Students with Special Needs Students enrolled in this course are expected to use literate and effective English in their speech and in their writing. All papers/assignments submitted must be well-written; grades on written work will be based on expression as well as content. If you are a student with special learning needs and you think you may require accommodations please see me and/or the appropriate office on campus. ARC wants you to succeed so please do not delay in attending to this important need. Please refer to the following web site for additional information: http://www.arc.losrios.edu/Support_Services/DSPS.htm Method of Evaluation Tests – There will be a total of three examinations/tests (two mid-terms and a final). Each test will include two sections: 25 true or false and 25 multiple-choice questions. Each question will be worth two points, and there will be 100 total possible points for each test. Term Paper – In addition to the tests, there will be one term paper. You are required to choose any policy issue and present competing arguments (pros/cons), as well as your own opinions, recommended policy improvements, and conclusions regarding the policy issue. You can focus on any policy issue in the course books; such as federalism, civil rights, civil liberties, interest groups, models of democracy, a court ruling, eminent domain, livable community issues, general plans, or other policy issues. The assignment will be worth a possible 100 points. Refer to the term paper section below for additional information about your paper requirements. Grade – A maximum of 400 points is possible for the course. Your total points (400 maximum) will be divided by 4, and that percent (points) will reflect your grade accordingly: A=90% or above, B=80-89%, C=70-79%, D=60-69%, and an F=0-59%. Extra credit will be discussed by the instructor during class. Total earned grade points and resulting grade: Grade – Points A – 360 to 400 B – 320 to 359 C – 280 to 319 D – 240 to 279 F – 0 to 239 Political Science 301 – Introduction to Government: United States, Class Syllabus 4 Academic Integrity and Honesty Academic integrity is critical to the learning process and is an essential component of academic excellence. This means that your work, whether on an exam or term paper, must be your own. Cheating, according to the Webster’s New World Dictionary “is dishonesty or deception in dealing with someone, to obtain some advantage or gain,” (p. 242). Acts of academic dishonesty will result in a zero (0) for the assignment/test, and you may be referred to the Dean of Behavioral and Social Science for further disciplinary action. You are encouraged to read the following web link that explains your rights and responsibilities at American River College: http://www.arc.losrios.edu/Support_Services/Campus_Life/Student_Rights_and_Responsibilities.htm Desire2Learn This class will use Desire2Learn (D2L), a learning management system to assist you with this class. Our D2L site will include the class syllabus, optional reading information, lesson summaries, important class reminders and updates, and special announcements. Hard copies of the class syllabus will be provided to each student and a copy will be in the D2L site. Students have access to a Help page, with detailed information on how to use D2L, including a 24/7 help-line. The D2L website can be accessed at: http://d2l.losrios.edu. This site is also where you will log-in to view our class’ syllabus and other information from me. I will explain more about how D2L works in our class and answer any questions at our first class meeting. Suggestions for Success in this Class Success can be measured in many ways, such as whether or not you learn something new about government, if you earned the grade you wanted for the class, and many other measurements. Here are some suggestions to assist you in being successful in this class: 1. Read the syllabus carefully and all important dates. 2. Attend all classes and be on time and do not leave early. 3. Prepare and review for all tests. 4. Read the assigned text book chapters before class. 5. Ask questions and for clarification when a concept or item is unclear to you. 6. Complete and submit your term paper on time and be sure to follow the term paper instructions. 7. Participate in class discussions. Instructor Requirements 1. Be prepared for each class/lesson. 2. Provide valuable and interesting information pertaining to government issues. 3. Begin and end each class on time. 4. Listen and respond to questions and comments from the students. 5. Be respectful and positive in supporting the students. 6. Be responsive and return exams and term papers in a timely fashion. 7. Provide a respectful, positive, pleasant, and informative environment for student learning. 8. Be available to meet with students as needed to assist with class related information and issues. Disclaimer The instructor reserves the right to make any necessary adjustments in the operation of the course that in his professional judgment are warranted to better meet the needs of the students. Class Schedule, Assignments, and Office Hours The following schedule (page 5) includes a list of weekly assignments and office hours that will be in the classroom one hour prior to class and one after class. The assignment information includes the applicable text chapter(s) to read, two mid-term tests, final test, and the term paper due date. Political Science 301 – Introduction to Government: United States, Class Syllabus 5 Class Schedule and Assignments Class Week Class Dates – Tuesday nights 2016 Book/Chapter(s) Subject, Office Hours, Tests, and Term Paper 1. Jan. 19 Start reading the Schmidt book, chapter 1. Class Introduction and Purpose of Government – Dilemmas of Democracy: Freedom, Order, & Equality. 2. Jan. 26 Be sure to finish the Schmidt book, chapter 1 this week. Models of Democracy – Majoritarian and Pluralist Democracy. Office hours – One hour prior to the start of class and twenty minutes after class. 3. Feb. 2 Read the Schmidt book, chapter 2. The United States Constitution 4. Feb. 9 Read the Schmidt book, chapters 3 and 6 (pages 116-131). Federalism, Public Opinion; and Political Socialization. Office hours – One hour prior to the start of class and twenty minutes after class. 5. Feb. 16 Read the Schmidt book, chapter 6 (pages 131-142). The Media and Test 1 (Test 1 includes the Schmidt book; chapters 1, 2, 3, and 6). 6. Feb. 23 Read the Schmidt book, chapters 7 (pages 154 -170) and 8 (pages 186 [bottom of page] -195). Political Parties; and Participation and Voting. Office hours – One hour prior to class and twenty minutes after class. 7. March 1 Read the Schmidt book, chapter 8 (pages 171 -186 [top of page]). Nominations, Elections, and Campaigns. 8. March 8 Read the Schmidt book, chapter 7 (pages 143 -154 [top of page]) Interest Groups Office hour – One hour prior to the start of class 9. March 15 Schmidt book chapter 9 United States Congress 10. March 22 No class – spring break 11. March 29 Read the Schmidt book, chapters 10 and 11. The Presidency and Bureaucracy Office hours – One hour prior to the start of class and twenty minutes after class. 12. April 5 Read the Schmidt book, chapter 12. The Courts and Test 2 (Test 2 includes Schmidt chapters 7 – 12). 13. April 12 Read the Schmidt book, chapters 4 and 5. Order/Civil Liberties and Equality/Civil Rights. 14. April 19 Read the Schmidt book, Chapter 13. Policymaking and Domestic Policy. Office hours – One hour prior to the start of class and twenty minutes after class. 15. April 26 Read the Schmidt book, Chapters 13 (continued) and 14; and Mona Field book, Chapters 1-7. Economic and Global/Foreign Policy and California Politics – Overview and Perspectives. 16. May 3 Read the Mona Field book, Chapters 8-12. Understanding California’s Legislature, Executive, Judicial, and Financial Perspectives. Your Term Paper is due tonight (May 3rd). 17. May 10 Read the Mona book, Chapters 13-15. Local Government and Contemporary Issues; and, your Office hours – One hour prior to the start of class and twenty minutes after class. 18. May 17 Final Exam/Test 3 – Includes all assigned books/chapters noted in “class week” column for numbers 13 through 17; all information after test 2. The final exam will be tonight, May 17th , 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Please remember the final test start time is at 8 p.m. (not 6:30 p.m.) Political Science 301 – Introduction to Government: United States, Class Syllabus 6 Term Paper Assignment/Information 1. Prepare a term paper pertaining to any policy issue and present competing arguments (pros/cons), as well as your own opinions and conclusions regarding the issue. You can focus on any policy issue in the books; such as a court ruling, eminent domain abuse or the general concept of eminent domain (the taking of private property for public use or benefit), livable community issues (such as high density housing, mixed land-use, walkable communities, providing transportation choices/alternatives, etc.), general plans (provides policy and strategies for future city/county growth/development…every California city and county has a general plan), or other policy issues within the books. You also have the option to select any public policy issue that is not included in the class books. 2. Your paper is required to include your first and last name, course and paper title, date, have a minimum of 2,500 words (this would be approximately four pages if single spaced), and include a minimum of two references. 3. The hard copy of your paper must be submitted by the end of class on May 3rd (Tuesday night). When you come in to class, please be sure to place your paper at the indicated location. Late papers must be turned in the following class meeting and you will lose 10 points on the paper. This deduction is in addition to any points deducted from your paper for not meeting the paper requirements in number five (5) below. Please do not email me your paper; I do not accept emailed papers. 4. Maximum points possible for the term paper are 100. 5. Term paper format/requirements include the following: Paper title with your name, topic/subject title, class name, and date. Include and address the following section headings (these section headings are required): 1. Introduction, 2. Background Information, 3. Analysis/Competing Arguments (pro/con), 4. Observations and Recommended Policy Changes, 5. Conclusion, and 6. References (identify a minimum of two different references [i.e. text book and other books, interview, web site, newspaper, survey, etc.]). The writing style is your choice. The term paper will be assessed and evaluated based on the following: 1. Content – complete-ness and accuracy of the information presented; 2. Organization – the logic, order, and readability of the information; 3. Expression – the presence of a personal style and the ability to generate interest in the information; 4. Usage – the use of writing standards and conventions appropriate to the occasion (this includes spelling, punctuation, word use, grammar, etc.); and 5. Following Instructions – such as the minimum word count of 2,500 words, using the paper headings, etc. 6. Please contact me if you have any questions concerning the term paper assignment or other class questions. You can contact me by calling my cell phone at (209) 747-3198 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.