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UNLV PSC 101 - Syllabus

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PART ONE: Foundations and Framework of American (& Nevada) GovernmentPART THREE: The Politics of Democracy Date Topic Reading Assignment[March 12-18 Spring Break]PART FOUR: Governing InstitutionsPSC 101-017 Introduction to American Politics Spring 2006; 4 Credit Hours Instructor: Joseph C. Bebel E-mail: [email protected] Location: CHE 101 Phone: 895-5246; Office: WRI-A222 Time: Thursdays, 5:30 - 9 PM Office Hours: Thursdays, 4:15 – 5:15 PM or, by appointment Scope and Purpose: This course has two main goals: (1) to impart a good understanding of both American and Nevada government and politics; (2) to instill skills necessary to achieve informed political participation and a willingness to use them. It is expected that after taking this course you will have a greater knowledge of the following course objectives: 1. Define democracy and demonstrate how it differs from other forms of government. 2. Explain the purpose of government, fundamental values, and political ideologies. 3. Define federalism and its relationship to the American governmental system. 4. Identify the various steps by which the Constitution was written and ratified. 5. Identify the powers of each branch of government. 6. Explain the process of a bill going through Congress. 7. Identify the major offices within the executive branch. 8. Provide a brief history of, and understand the chief players in, the bureaucracy. 9. Explain the importance of an “Iron Triangle.” 10. Explain the structure of the federal and state court system and explain its various jurisdictions. 11. Identify the various ways that a case can reach the Supreme Court. 12. Analyze the influence of public opinion on how government and politicians function. 13. Trace the process by which the media influences the political process. 14. Understand the role that lobbyists play in the American political process. 15. Explain the importance of political action committees in the campaign process. 16. Discuss the genesis of political parties. 17. Explain the difference between civil rights and civil liberties. 18. Understand the Bill of Rights and additional amendments to the Constitution. 19. Define the important elements within domestic policy making. 20. Identify the major factors and the major players within foreign policy making. Lastly, this course supports the following political science department degree objectives/learning outcomes: (1) to enhance students’ ability to communicate orally and in written form; (2) to enhance students’ ability to think through and compare competing theories and information using logic and analytical means; (3) to enable students to become knowledgeable in one of the six sub-fields of the discipline (i.e., American Politics); (4) to help prepare the student for graduate study in political science or a related discipline. Required Textbooks: Sidlow, Edward and Beth Henschen. 2007. America at Odds, 5th edition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. Bowers, Michael W. 2002. The Sagebrush State: Nevada’s History, Government, and Politics, 2nd edition. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press. Grading: Your final grade for the course will be determined based on the following criteria: First Exam: 20 A = 100-93 C+ = 79-77 D- = 62-60 Midterm Exam: 20 A- = 92-90 C = 76-73 F = 59-0 Third Exam: 20 B+ = 89-87 C- = 72-70 Final Exam: 20 B = 86-83 D+ = 69-67 Attendance/Participation: 20 B- = 82-80 D = 66-63 TOTAL: 100Class Policies: 1. Attendance/Participation: I am allocating a total of twenty (20) points for class attendance/participation. a. Attendance. You will be awarded one point for each class you attend. We meet sixteen (16) times which equates to 16 potential attendance points. Beginning with our second meeting, there will be quizzes (pass/fail) given at the beginning of class (on your assigned reading) and at the end of class (on the material presented that day). You must be present for, and pass, both quizzes in order to earn the full attendance point for the day. EXCEPTION: On exam days, you earn attendance points for taking exams on the scheduled exam day. b. Participation. You earn an additional four (4) participation points by being prepared for class, answering questions and getting involved in classroom debates. There is potential for up to 8 debate teams to be randomly formed by the instructor on any given class day. No prior notice will be provided to the students selected for debate. Every student will be given at least two opportunities to participate in a class debate but you must be in attendance when those opportunities are provided. Otherwise, you lose the participation points. 2. Exams: There are four (4) scheduled exams, including a midterm and a final exam. The exams are not cumulative; however, the instructor reserves the right to include some important material from previous exams as appropriate. Ordinarily no make-up exams will be given. However, if extraordinary circumstances seem to require one, then students must do the following in order to qualify: (1) inform the instructor of the problem at some time prior to the scheduled exam time; (2) provide documentation as soon as possible afterwards. If an emergency occurs just prior to an exam, and you are unable to reach me, call the department office (895-3307/3324) and someone will take a message. The first and third exams include multiple choice, true/false and short essay questions. The second and fourth exams consist of multiple choice and true/false questions only (bonus questions, when offered, may be essay questions). All make-up exams will be administered immediately following the last scheduled class on May 4th. There is no make-up for the final exam. 3. Class Etiquette: Please refrain from eating/drinking in the classroom. Cell phones and pagers are disruptive. Will you turn them off? Thanks! PLEASE come to class on time. Strolling in after class begins is disruptive, both to me as the instructor and to your fellow students. It is common courtesy to be on time. If you choose to be rude or persist in distracting behavior (to include “side bar” conversations), I will ask you to leave the class and will drop you officially from the class with a “W” or “WF.” 4. Religious Holidays and Absences: If you miss a class or exam because of a religious holiday that you

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