Institutions, processes, and problems of American government.
Dates: May 19 - June 13, 2014;
POLS 021 examines not just the components of our way of government, but the dynamic relationships between the components that play out against the backdrop of law and policy as well. We will start with the fundamental documents that express sometimes competing visions of how a free people should govern themselves, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. We then will examine the evolution of our governmental system and how it works (or doesn't work) today. This course is particularly suited to the non-political science major who is interested in knowing more about how our system works, but who may not have a background in political science or law classes. For those interested in further study of our way of government and politics, it is of course the launching pad for that vector.
I am a practicing attorney. That means that I don't look at you primarily as a student, but rather as a new associate. Accordingly, I will use lecture only to set the basis for discussion and analysis of the different governmental structures, constituencies, and the relationships between them -- my goal is for all to contribute to the class discussion, confident that everyone's opinions and beliefs will be respected, even if we are civilly critical of each other's logic and preconceptions.
Because of the course's pace, there will only be two graded events, a two-hour midterm exam at the end of the second week of class, and a cumulative three and three-quarters hour final exam at the end of the course. Each exam will have a multiple choice portion worth 30 percent of the exam grade, and an essay portion worth 70 percent. The midterm exam will be worth 30 percent of the class grade, and the final worth 60 percent. your participation will be worth 10 percent. The multiple choice questions will assess your understanding of the readings. The essay portions will test your ability to quickly conduct concise and accurate analysis of issues related to government in America, in a holistic fashion. Exam make-ups are rarely given, and will be at my discretion and convenience because of the quick pace of the class.
Course runs from to
Old Mill 523 (View Campus Map)
to on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday