“Welcome to Political Science 101
Online… I’m Jeff Sulcer, and I hope to make this class an educational and even
fascinating experience for you. Throughout this Syllabus, I have inserted
comments such as this to (I hope) explain and clarify the content and
expectations of the course. These comments are what I would say to a class in
going over a first day handout. Please read all of these notations; hopefully
they will reduce and/or eliminate confusion.”
– Professor Jeff Sulcer
My office hours will be posted at the beginning of every
semester. Do not hesitate to email, call, or stop by to talk to me about the
course. I will do my best to respond in a prompt fashion to any and all
inquiries. – J. S.
This course is designed to acquaint
the student with the basic premises, institutions, and policy-making process of
American National Government. Topics for
consideration include the colonial background and constitutional basis of the
American political system; federalism; nominations and elections; interest
groups; political parties, the legislative, executive and judicial branches;
civil rights and civil liberties; foreign and domestic policy. The above topics are studied against the
background of current affairs. This
class satisfies the statutory requirements of the State of Illinois, 122-27-3 and 4.
James Q. American Government. D.C. Heath, 2000.
Our textbook is a very well-written and important component
of the course. You will want to read all assigned chapters as the course
schedule and pay close attention to what you are reading – J.S.
A. To present
the historical evolution of American national Government so that the student
can place contemporary events in
B. To examine
the institutional means by which people participate in the national political
C. To describe
and analyze the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of American
national government so that students can under stand the decision making
D. To present
the foreign and domestic policies of American national government.
should be able to communicate an understanding of and analyze comparative
political systems, with an emphasis on systems of the United States.
General Learning Outcomes:
Students should be able to communicate an understanding of and analyze
comparative political systems, with an emphasis on systems of the United States.
Related knowledge includes: A. Basic principles of the
national government as expressed or implied in the Declaration of Independence,
the federal and state constitutions, and other major historical documents and
court decisions. B. Rights and responsibilities of citizenship under the United
States Constitution. C. Election
processes at all levels of government including the impact of communication
systems. D. Structures and functions of the political systems in the United States
E. Influences of political action by individuals and interest groups on the
development of the political system of the United States. F. Factors that have contributed to the
political and economic development of the United States. G. Political
interdependence among the Illinois,
United States, and world communities. H. Political impacts of decisions made by
federal, state, and local governments. I. Structures and functions of major
political systems in the world. J. Major political events in the contemporary
world and their impact on changing structures and functions of governments. K.
International organizations like the United Nations and their roles and
functions in the modern world. L. Evolution and nature of rules and laws that
govern human interactions. M. Implications of gender and the United States
METHODS OF EVALUATION
The grading scale
is: A=100-90, B=89-80, C=79-70, D=69-60, F=59-0.
grades will be derived from an average of:
The examinations will cover all
material presented in the textbook,
assigned readings, and web quizzes. The format of the exams will include
multiple-choice, true/false, matching, listing, identification/short
essays, and essay questions. The final is comprehensive, including
material from Exams 1 - 3.
Exam 1 (20%)*,
Chapters 1-3; to be completed by the end of Week #3 (Spring 2005: February 4)
Chapter 1: Introduction
If a student has not completed these materials within these
time limits, and has made no effort to contact the instructor with an
explanation, the student will be dropped from the class.
Exam 2 (20%)*, Chapters 4-6, Completed by the end of Week #7 (Spring
2005: March 3)
Chapter 6: Interest
Exam 3 (20%)*, Chapters 7-9, Completed before the end of Week #12 (Spring
2005: April 1)
Final Exam (25%),
Chapters 10-12, plus material from previous exams, Completed by the end of Week
#17 (Spring 2005: Friday May 6, the last day of the week before Semester Exams)
Local Government/ Sum-Up
* Your lowest scoring exam will be worth 15%. The Final Exam
will be worth more than other exams, as it contains several review
questions. Students will be given only
one opportunity to take these exams – J.S.
TERM PAPER (20%)
Information about this assignment is
provided in a separate section at the end of the handout.
Quiz will be set up as a preview exam. Chapter quizzes, assorted readings, and
other projects may be assigned. At the
end of the course, the lowest quiz score will be dropped.
EXTRA CREDIT (Up to 5%)
Students will have an opportunity to
earn extra credit. Information will be posted on the website later in the
CHEATING AND PLAGIARISM
of any kind will not be tolerated. This includes plagiarism, purchasing of
tests & research papers, using information or work that was not your own,
etc. To plagiarize is to take and use ideas and passages from another's work,
while representing them as your own. Students caught involved in any of the
aforementioned will be subject to sanctions determined by the instructor
ranging from warnings, grade reduction, and failure or withdrawal from the
course or referral to the college administration for further action.
not the instructor - are responsible for their work. The student has the
responsibility to complete all assigned material.
not the instructor - are responsible for their success. Each student is
expected to do their work as assigned. An important part of college life
involves personal responsibility. The student has the responsibility to
withdraw from the class when the student decides to quit working. This is
accomplished through the office of student services. A student who disappears
without explanation (i.e., stops working on all materials and does not email)
will receive a failing grade.
If a student has not completed the assignments
for Part One of class by the deadline, and has made no effort to contact the
instructor with an explanation, the student will be dropped from the class.
For the most part,
students will be working at their own pace on the course material, but the work
must be completed in a timely manner. Completing Part One in a timely manner is
a good way to start the class, and also shows “good-faith” effort. A “window of opportunity” to take each exam
will be posted; a specific request must be made to modify this arrangement –
PART 1: Chapters 1-3
Chapter 1: Introduction
PART 2: Chapters 4-6
PART 3: Chapters 7-9
PART 4: Chapters 10-11
Local Government/ Sum-Up
POLITICAL SCIENCE 101 TERM PAPER
Students are required to write a short
Using at least five or more documented sources to
supplement their topic. The sources used
must include at least one social science or government journal, a public
document, or a specific paper of a scholarly nature.
The topic must be:
one of the items discussed at any political meeting or
gathering that you attend.
Examples of meetings: political party meetings, city councils, county
boards, state legislature, interest groups, school boards, etc. Examples of topics: zoning issues, grant funding, governmental
structure, or any other specific topic.
Students will be requested to pre-approve a
meeting and topic with the instructor.
Keep your topic narrow.
Specifications: Your term paper should be three to five pages. Papers must be typed and double-spaced,
using only 10 or 12 point type. The paper should be emailed to me as an
attachment, or of course you could drop it by campus. At minimum, the use of six sources- including any number of
the following: books, newspaper/magazine articles, computer information
resources, and personal interviews - is required. Papers having less than six
sources will be penalized 10% for each shortfall. History papers are based on
historical information. The source of that information must be cited. At
least one letter grade will be deducted from papers which do not follow this
standard. Please use a standard style.
1) Begin with an introduction, explaining the meeting
attended and the topic of the paper
Continue with the main body of the paper, which will be the majority of your
3) An opinion section, in which the student should
note their interpretations
A conclusion, reviewing the student’s general thesis.
Your paper should be written carefully with attention to the subject matter,
style, spelling, and punctuation. Papers are expected to be clear, coherent,
and of college-level quality. Research is necessary to provide a factual base
to support your paper. Your papers should be grammatically correct and free of
typographical errors. Papers with large numbers of errors will be returned for
correction. Carefully proofread your work, and then have a friend proofread for
you. Use your spell check program, your grammar check program, and even a
dictionary. Ask for help (as early as possible) from the instructor if you need
it. Students who have concerns regarding their writing skills are urged to seek
assistance, beginning with the Success
Center, which provides a variety
of academic services to all students.
proofread your papers to make sure you do not do any of the following:
Avoid all contractions in formal writing. Be especially careful with the
usage of its/it's: "Its" is a possessive form of "it." "It's"
is a contraction for "it is."
Common errors of grammar, style, and spelling. This is a college course
and papers should be, as stated above: clear, coherent, and of college-level
Evaluation and Grading criteria:
DUE DATE: Spring 2005: Friday March 18
papers will be penalized a minimum of one letter grade.
Your term paper is a
very important part of the course. This is the assignment that perhaps best
shows the instructor the depth of your knowledge and interest in the course
subject. A well-conceived, thoughtful, and factual paper is expected. Try to
choose a topic on a subject that interests you.