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 POLITICAL SCIENCE 101
KASKASKIA COLLEGE
COURSE HANDOUT - SPRING 2005
JEFF SULCER, INSTRUCTOR
Office: HB 214, Phone: 545-3344
 jsulcer@kaskaskia.edu

 Office: HB 214, Phone: 545-3344

 

“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.

COURSE DESCRIPTION

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.

TEXTBOOK

Wilson, 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.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

A. To present the historical evolution of American national Government so that the student can place    contemporary events in perspective.

B. To examine the institutional means by which people participate in the national political process.

C. To describe and analyze the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of American national government so that students can under stand the decision making process.

D. To present the foreign and domestic policies of American national government.

E. Students should be able to communicate an understanding of and analyze comparative political systems, with an emphasis on systems of the United States.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

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 and Illinois. 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 political system.

METHODS OF EVALUATION

The grading scale is: A=100-90, B=89-80, C=79-70, D=69-60, F=59-0.

Student grades will be derived from an average of:

EXAMS 70%

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                                               

Chapter 2: US Constitution                                         

Chapter 3: Federalism

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 4: Campaigns

Chapter 5: Political Parties

Chapter 6: Interest Groups 

·        Exam 3 (20%)*, Chapters 7-9, Completed before the end of Week #12 (Spring 2005: April 1)

Chapter 7: Congress

Chapter 8: Presidency

Chapter 9: Bureaucracy  

·        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)

Chapter 10: Judiciary

Chapter 11: Civil Rights

Chapter 12: 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.

QUIZZES/READINGS (10%)     

Your first 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 semester.

CHEATING AND PLAGIARISM

Cheating 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.

STUDENT RESPONSIBILITY

Students - not the instructor - are responsible for their work. The student has the responsibility to complete all assigned material.

Students - 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 – J.S.

COURSE OUTLINE

PART 1: Chapters 1-3                                              

Chapter 1: Introduction                                               

Chapter 2: US Constitution                                         

Chapter 3: Federalism

Exam #1

PART 2: Chapters 4-6

Chapter 4: Campaigns

Chapter 5: Political Parties

Chapter 6: Interest Groups 

Exam #2

 

PART 3: Chapters 7-9

Chapter 7: Congress

Chapter 8: Presidency

Chapter 9: Bureaucracy  

Exam #3

 

PART 4: Chapters 10-11

Chapter 10: Judiciary

Chapter 11: Civil Rights

Chapter 12: Local Government/ Sum-Up  

Final Exam

POLITICAL SCIENCE 101 TERM PAPER

Students are required to write a short paper:

1.                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.

2.                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.

3.                Keep your topic narrow.

4.                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.

5.                Paper Format:

              1) Begin with an introduction, explaining the meeting attended and the topic of the paper

              2) Continue with the main body of the paper, which will be the majority of your work

              3) An opinion section, in which the student should note their interpretations

              4) A conclusion, reviewing the student’s general thesis. 

6.    Expectations: 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.

          Please 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 quality.

7.      Evaluation and Grading criteria:

                   CONTENT                              30%

                   GRAMMAR                                      30%

                   STYLE                                    20%

                   EFFORT/THOROUGHNESS         20%

8.      DUE DATE:  Spring 2005: Friday March 18

Late 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.

Copyright(c) 2005
jsulcer@kaskaskia.edu