COURSE SYLLABUS

Political Science 261

Principles of American Government – National and State

3 Credit Hours, Fall 2006

Location : AB 1, Room 306

Class Meeting Time : Tuesday & Thursday, 2:00 – 3:20 PM

Instructor : Professor Jenny Mobley

Office Location : AB1, Room 319-A

Contact Information : E-mail: JLM001@shsu.edu , Office Telephone: 936.294.4021

Office Hours : Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30 – 1:30 pm or by appointment

 

Course Description:

This course deals with the origin, development, and Constitution of the American governmental system, citizenship and civil rights, suffrage, the national party system, the national executive, organization of congress, national judiciary, federal-state relations, and the Constitution of the State of Texas. This course meets the legislative requirement for a course on the Constitutions of the United States and Texas .

 

Course Objective :

 

Text and Supplies Required:

Patterson, Thomas E., Gary M. Halter. The American Democracy. Alternate 7 th Edition. Boston : McGraw Hill Custom Publishing, 2005.   (ISBN 0-07-322651-3)

 

For each exam the student will need to bring two number 2 pencils and a Scantron for answering test questions (Form No. 882-E 50 questions/front and back)

 

Attendance Policy:

*Visitation slips issued by the University Health Center are not considered formal documentation, unless the slip clearly indicates that the student was too ill to attend class.

*“Work-related” excuses are typically not considered legitimate.

* Tardiness will count as half an absence. Students leaving class early without prior clearance will be counted absent.

 

 

 

Student Absences on Religious Holy Days Policy:

Holy day absences are treated like other excused absences. Provide me documentation of the absence before or after the absence and arrange to make up any missed work within two weeks of the absence.

Classroom Rules of Conduct :

According to Section 5 of the Student Handbook, students are expected to assist in maintaining a classroom environment that is conducive to learning.

1) Students will refrain from behavior in the classroom that intentionally or unintentionally disrupts the learning

process and, thus, impedes the mission of the university.

2) Cellular telephones and pagers must be turned off before class begins.

3) Students are prohibited from eating in class, using tobacco products, making offensive remarks, reading newspapers, sleeping, talking at inappropriate times, wearing inappropriate clothing or engaging in any form of distraction. Inappropriate behavior in the classroom shall result in a directive to leave class. Not conforming to this directive could result in being reported to the Dean of Students for disciplinary action according to the above SHSU policy.

  

A FURTHER NOTE FROM THE INSTRUCTOR TO THE STUDENT:

PLAINLY SAID…LADIES AND GENTLEMEN DO NOT WEAR YOUR HAT, CAP OR DOO RAG IN MY CLASSROOM. PLEASE REMOVE IT BEFORE ENTERING. SECONDLY, DO NOT EXPECT ANY TOLERANCE CONCERNING ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT USAGE DURING CLASS. THIS MEANS TURN OFF THE CELL PHONES (this does not mean vibrate!!) OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES. IF I SEE ONE BEING USED DURING CLASS/EXAM TIME YOU WILL BE ASKED TO LEAVE AND YOU WILL RECEIVE AN ‘F' FOR THAT CLASS PERIOD.

 

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR COOPERATION.

 

Academic Dishonesty :

All students are expected to engage in all academic pursuits in a manner that is above reproach. Students are expected to maintain complete honesty and integrity in the academic experiences both in and out of the classroom. Any student found guilty of dishonesty in any phase of academic work will be subject to disciplinary action. The University and its official representatives may initiate disciplinary proceedings against a student accused on any form of academic dishonesty including, but not limited to, cheating on an examination or other academic work which is to be submitted, plagiarism, collusion and the abuse of resource materials (Academic Policy Statement 810213). The penalty of any of the above will result in a zero on that work, could result in the failing of the course and will be accompanied by a letter to the Dean of Students.

 

Americans with Disabilities Act

SHSU adheres to all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and guidelines with respect to providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. If a student has a disability that may affect adversely his/her work in this class, the student is encouraged to register with the SHSU Counseling Center and to talk with the instructor about how best to deal with the situation. All disclosures of disabilities will be kept strictly confidential. NOTE: No accommodation can be made until the student registers with the Counseling Center .

 

Grading Plan :

There will be four (4) non-comprehensive exams. All are of equal weight in determining the course grade. I will use objective questions for your exams drawn from both your text and class discussion – so you will want to take notes during the lectures. Check your syllabus, but exam dates will still be confirmed in class. Standard grading for the course is: 90=A; 80=B; 70=C; 60=D; 0-59=F. Grades are rounded up at .5 (i.e. 89.5=A). I give only the exams for your grades – there is NO extra credit offered for this course –so study for the exams, they are your grade.

 

Exams :

Exams for this class will require a Scantron and will be in either multiple choice or true/false format. Each exam will typically be worth 100 points. You will need 2 number two lead pencils and a Scantron for each exam. Be advised, torn or wrinkled exams jam the grading machine causing errors in grading. Please be sure you do not present a “mangled or bent” test answer sheet.

 

Visitors in the Classroom :

Unannounced visitors to class must present a current, official SHSU ID card to be permitted to the classroom. They must not present a disruption to the class by their attendance. If the visitor is not a registered student, it is at the instructor's discretion whether or not the visitor will be allowed to remain in the classroom.

 

Course Assignments :

Please note that this syllabus is to serve only as a guide, and may change or have additional reading assignments given at the instructor's discretion .

 

Further, we will be using Blackboard so check your account often. Class information from me to you will be placed there to help better understand the course. This can be found on the SHSU homepage. Use your university account name and password for access. Please check the Announcements section periodically. I may also email the class using your student computer account address so look for my notes.

 

We will be covering a lot of material this semester and I will be more than happy to clarify any area where you may have a question. I welcome you to stop by or drop a note in the email. I am on campus all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I do have classes thru the day but in between I am yours and we are certainly not limited to office hours. However, please don't wait until right before my class to catch me. If you find you are struggling, come see me as soon as you need help; the end of the semester is generally too late. Lastly, check out the essays and websites noted along the way in the reading—they add event insight and a history base to the assigned readings. I truly look forward to our time together.

 

Course Outline : Instructor reserves the right to change the scheduling of class work.

 

Concerning reading assignments, please note that our text book, The American Democracy (7 th /Alternate/Texas Edition) consists of two parts. The first section will cover the American government information and behind it, in the back of the book, is the second text discussing Texas government information; Government & Politics of Texas , A Comparative View .

 

Week 1 – August 22 and   24

       First Day of Class for POL 261

Reading Assignment:   American Political Culture: Seeking a More Perfect Union , CH 1

Class Activity:     Review syllabus, discuss upcoming reading assignments

      Class Discussion of Political Culture in America

 

Week 2 – August 29 and 31

Reading Assignment:   Constitutional Democracy: Promoting Liberty and Self-Government, CH2

Class Activity:     Lecture and Class Discussion

 

Week 3 – September 5 and 7

 

Reading Assignment:    Federalism: Forging a Nation, CH 3     

Class Activity:     Lecture and Discussion

 

Week 4 – September 12 and 14

Reading Assignment:   Civil Liberties: Protecting Individual Rights, CH 4

Class Activity:     Lecture and Discussion – The Bill of Rights, See pages A12-A13 First 10 Am endments   

 

Week 5 – September 19 and 21

Reading Assignment:   Equal Rights: Struggling toward Fairness –   CH 5

Class Activity:     Lecture and Discussion, specifically “The Brown Decision”

  *******Thursday, September 21 – EXAM 1

 

Week 6 – September 26 and 28

Reading Assignment:   Public Opinion and Political Socialization: Shaping the People's Voice, CH6

Class Activity:     Lecture and Discussion   

Week 7 – October 3 and 5

Reading Assignment:   Political Participation and Voting: Expressing the Popular Will, CH7

Class Activity:     Lecture and Discussion

 

Week 8 – October 10 and 12

Reading Assignment:   Political Parties, Candidate and Campaigns, CH 8

Class Activity:     Lecture and Discussion

  ***** Thursday, October 12 –EXAM 2

 

Week 9 – October 17 and 19

Reading Assignment:   Congress, CH 11

Class Activity:     Lecture and Discussion

 

Week 10 – October 24 and 26   

Reading Assignment:   The Presidency: Leading a Nation, CH 12

Class Activity:     Lecture and Discussion concerning political parties, interest groups and federal           bureaucracy

 

Week 11 – October 31 and November 2

Reading Assignment:   The Federal Judicial System, CH 14

Class Activity:     Lecture and Discussion

   *****Thursday, November 2 –EXAM 3

 

Week 12 – November 7 and 9

Reading Assignment:   See Part Two of Textbook for Texas Government

        Introduction to Texas Government, CH 1   

Class Activity:       Lecture and Discussion

 

Week 13 – November 14 and 16

Reading Assignment:   The State Constitution and the American Federal System, CH 2

Class Activity:     Lecture and Discussion

  

Week 14 – Tuesday, November 21 – HAPPY THANKSGIVING!   

Reading Assignment:   The Texas Legislature, CH7

Class Activity:     Lecture and Discussion

 

Week 15 – November 28 and 30

Reading Assignment:   The Office of Governor and State Agencies in Texas

Class Activity:     Lecture and Discussion

 

*Week 16 – December 5 and 7

Reading Assignment for May 2:   The Court System in Texas

Class Activity:       Lecture and Discussion

 

NOTES:   December 7 is last class day.

  ***FINAL EXAM (Test #4) Date and time to be announced

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!