Purpose and Objectives
This is an introductory course that will explore the foundation and design of American political system. The course will cover several broad issues, the institutional design of American government, the nature and location of power in the United States, the characteristics and limits of democracy, and the relationship between citizens and their government.
The objective of this course is to assist students in developing a better
understanding of some basic political issues; what democratic government is, how it
operates, why it operates as it does, and what effects it has on society. Ultimately, the objective is for students to become more informed and active participants in the American political system.
Recommended: Students are encouraged to keep up with current events by regularly monitoring the news in the daily newspapers like the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post. Many of these newspapers are available online or can be found on the Internet, please check with the college library.
Course Materials and Readings
Janda, Kenneth, Jeffrey M. Berry, Jerry Goldman, and Kevin W. Hula, 2008
The Challenge of Democracy, (Houghton Mifflin)
Berman Larry, & Bruce Allen Murphy, 6th Edition Approaching Democracy, (PearsonPrentice Hall)
This course is divided into three sections
Part 1: Foundations of American Government and Federalism
Part 2: Rights, Liberties, and Ideology, Political Participation, Campaigns and Elections
Part 3: Governmental Institutions and American Foreign Policy, and Californian politics.
I will lecture for a portion of each class, however, a part of each class will be dedicated to discussion and debate. You are encouraged to participate actively in these discussions.
Grading and Evaluation
Grades in the class will be based on 2 midterms and one final.
The midterms will contain multiple choice questions and short identification questions about the major issues, concepts and examples covered in the relevant course sessions and readings. They are geared towards testing your factual knowledge about the relevant sections of the course.
For the final you will be required to integrate and apply the knowledge you have acquired throughout the course. It will contain a choice of two essay questions, and a choice of short essay or identification questions.
Arrive on time for all exams or risk missing them. Any student arriving more than 15 minutes after the start time for the exam will not be permitted to take it. You may not leave the classroom unless your exam has been turned in. Please make sure that your have your own ‘bluebook’ scantron, pencils, pens etc before beginning the exam or quiz.
Finals week begins Dec 9th-15th 2008. Please check the website for the scheduled exam time for your particular class.
Students are expected to take examinations at the regularly scheduled times. Prior permission (before the exam) from the instructor or certification of ill health by a physician, these are the only conditions under which a make-up examination will be given. Failure to take an examination results in a zero for that item.
MAKEUPS OR EARLY EXAMS ARE NOT NORMALLY GIVEN. PLEASE INFORM THE INSTRUCTOR AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE IF THERE ARE ANY SCHEDULING CONFLICTS
Extra credit will not be awarded for this class.
As with any class, regular attendance and reading the assigned materials before class is essential. Exams will cover both the assigned reading material as well as the lectures.
Any student arriving for class more than 10 minutes after the posted start time will not be permitted in class that session. I will give a grace period for this requirement for the first two weeks of the beginning of the semester.
You should come to class prepared and ready to ask questions or comment on the themes covered in a particular lecture.
NO CELL PHONES, TEXT MESSENGERS ETC AT ANY TIME WHILE CLASS IS IN SESSION– NO EXCEPTIONS. REPEAT OFFENDERS WILL BE ASKED TO LEAVE CLASS.
The deadline for students who wish to drop this course and avoid receiving a “W” is September 14th 2008. The deadline for students wishing to drop this course with faculty approval is October 19th 2008. You must be earning a “C” or better.
Students are responsible for understanding the SMC withdrawal policy and applicable deadlines.
Web Site - http://www.smc.edu/admissions
Honor Code and Code of Academic Conduct
The SMC Honor Code and Code of Academic Integrity, printed in the General Catalog, remind students of their responsibility to behave honestly and ethically. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with these codes. Please be extremely careful not engage in any behavior that could even be construed as cheating.
During an exam, talking to another student, looking at another student's paper, using cheat notes, cell phone, etc. is not permitted.
Student with Disabilities
I am happy to make academic adjustments for students with documented disabilities. Please contact the center for Students with Disabilities if this applies to you. The Center for Students with Disabilities is located in Room 101 of the Admission/Student Services Complex, located on the north side of the Main campus, next to Admissions. For more information, call (310) 434-4265.