Syllabus – American Government & Politics

POLS 100 – LEC # 22416 & 31126 (Honors)

Fall 2010

 

Professor:                   Dr. Scot Schraufnagel

TAs:                            Maureen Lowry-Fritz – D001

Todd Noelle – D002

Michael Pomante – D003

Jenn Soss – D004

Rachel Walker – D005

 

Class Time:                12:00-12:50 p. – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

 

Class Locations:        Mon. and Wed.-Lecture-Schraufnagel-Montgomery Auditorium

                                    Fri.-Discussion Section 1-Lowry-Fritz-DuSable 246            

                                    Fri.-Discussion Section 2-Noelle-DuSable 252

                                    Fri.-Discussion Section 3-Pomante-DuSable 459

                                    Fri.-Discussion Section 4-Soss-DuSable 461

                                    Fri.-Discussion Section 5-Walker-Arends U.S. Art. Bldg. 102

                                    Fri.-Discussion Section 6-Schraufnagel-DuSable 274 (Honors)

 

Office Hours:             Schraufnagel – MWF 11:00 to 11:50 a. & TR 1:00 to 3:00 p.

                                    Lowry-Fritz – M 1:00 to 3:00 p.

                                    Noelle – W 9:50 to 11:50 a.

                                    Pomante – F 9:50 to 11:50 a.

                                    Soss – M 9:50 to 11:50 a.

                                    Walker – W 1:00 to 3:00 p.

 

Office Phone:             Dr. Schraufnagel – (815) 753-7054

                                    Teaching Assistants – (815) 753-1818

 

Office Location:        Dr. Schraufnagel – Zulauf Hall 410

                                    Teaching Assistants – DuSable 476

 

E-mail                     Dr. Schraufnagel – sschrauf@niu.edu

                                    Lowry-Fritz – maureen_lowryfritz@yahoo.com

                                    Noelle – toddnoelle@gmail.com

                                    Pomante – michael.pomante@uwc.edu

                                    Soss – sossjenn@yahoo.com

                                    Walker – rachelewalker05@gmail.com

 

Note: E-mail should NOT be used as a way to communicate important information.  There is no guarantee that the correspondence will be received in a timely fashion.  You should plan to talk to the instructors in person, before and after class regarding planned absences and other important matters.  Grades will NOT be given out, by the professor or by any of the TAs, over the telephone or by e-mail.

Required Text       Barbour, Christine, and Gerald C. Wright. 2009. Keeping the

                                                Republic: Power and Citizenship in American Politics: The

                                                Essentials, 4th Edition. Washington D.C.: CQ Press.

 

Course Objectives – This course is intended to familiarize students with the basic institutional structures of American Government.  There will be discussion of the Constitution, federalism, and each of the three branches of government.  We will also discuss the role played by non-governmental institutions such as political parties, the media, and interest groups.  A primary focus will be placed on learning the jargon or language of politics in this country.  Students successfully completing the course will have gained considerable knowledge of the basic institutional framework of the national government and will become more astute in understanding and analyzing media coverage of politics in this country. 

 

Withdrawal Policy – It is your responsibility to keep track of the withdrawal deadline.

 

Evaluation Process – The course will be graded on a total points system and there will be a possible 300 points for the course.  There will be three section exams, each worth 75 points (held on Fridays in your Discussion Sections) and a comprehensive final exam worth 150 points.  You must drop the lowest section exam score.  Hence, there will be 150 points attributed to the section exams and 150 points for the final exam for a total of 300 points.  

 

270-300 Points – A                 240-269 Points – B                 200-239 Points – C                

180-199 – D                < 180 – F

 

Attendance Policy:  Attendance is not required in lecture.  However, attendance IS required in discussion sections.  There is no penalty for being absent until you have missed the fourth discussion section.  Students documented as not being in attendance four or more times will need to write a single-spaced paper equal in length to the number of absences they have accumulated.  The topic of the paper will be provided by the Teaching Assistant and the paper will be due on the day of the final exam (12/06/2010).  There are no points associated with the excessive absences’ paper.  It will be graded on a pass-fail basis.  Students failing to complete the excessive absences’ paper or who receive a failing grade on the paper will receive a grade of “F” in the course, regardless of their performance on section exams and the final exam. Those who need to complete the excessive absences paper will be notified by e-mail on or before the last day of class (12/03/10). 

 

Extra Credit Homework Assignments:  There will be three extra credit homework assignments that coincide with the three section exams and each is worth a possible ten (10) points.  However, the extra-credit points are awarded only if the exam is one of the two that is used to calculate your final grade; hence there are 20 extra credit points available for these homework assignments.  The assignments will be given out approximately one week in advance of their due date (see the schedule below for due dates).  The assignments will focus on the assigned reading for each of the section exams.  Completion of the extra credit assignments will not only earn you points toward your grade on each section exam, but will also help prepare you for the section exams.  All extra credit assignments are due at the beginning of class on the date specified in the schedule below.  Late assignments will not be accepted. Assignments must be typed, double-spaced, with font Times New Roman-12. Margins should be 1.25 inches left and right and 1.00 inch top and bottom.  Students should include a cover page that identifies themselves and the Assignment #.  Failure to follow these guidelines WILL result in a lower extra-credit score. 

 

Section Exams – The section exams and the final exam will have a combination of short answer, multiple choice, and matching exercises.  Approximately 40 percent of the exam questions will come from the assigned reading and 60 percent from lecture. 

There will be no make-up exams.  If you know you are going to miss a section exam you can arrange to take it early.  If you miss a section exam because of illness or emergency that exam will be the one that is dropped.  All section exams must be completed during the scheduled class time. If you arrive late on the day of an exam that will reduce the amount of time you have available to take the exam.   

 

 

CLASS SCHEDUALE

 

DATE                                             LECTURE TOPIC           READING ASSIGNMENT

08/23/10

Class Introduction

None

08/25/10

Politics: Who Gets What, and How

Chapter 1

08/27/10

Chapter 1-Discussion

Chapter 1

08/30/10

Political Culture

Chapter 2

09/01/10

Political Culture

Chapter 2

09/03/10

Chapter 2-Discussion

Chapter 3

09/06/10

NO CLASS-LABOR DAY

None

09/08/10

History of the Founding

Chapter 3

09/10/10

Chapter 3 & 4-Discussion

Chapter 3

09/13/10

Federalism & the Constitution

Chapter 4

09/15/10

Federalism & the Constitution

Chapter 4

09/17/10

Chapter 5-Discussion

Chapter 4

09/20/10

Civil Liberties

Chapter 5

09/22/10

Civil Liberties

Chapter 5

09/24/10

Extra-Credit Assignment I due.

SECTION EXAM I

None

09/27/10

Civil Rights

Chapter 6

09/29/10

Civil Rights

Chapter 6

10/01/10

Chapter 6 & 7-Discussion

Chapter 7

10/04/10

Congress

Chapter 7

10/06/10

Congress

Chapter 7

10/08/10

Chapter 7 & 8-Discussion

Chapter 8

10/11/10

The President

Chapter 8

10/13/10

The Bureaucracy

Chapter 9

10/15/10

Chapter 9 & 10-Discussion

Chapter 9

10/18/10

The Courts

Chapter 10

10/20/10

The Courts

Chapter 10

10/22/10

Extra-Credit Assignment II due.

SECTION EXAM II

None

10/25/10

Public Opinion

Chapter 11

10/27/10

Public Opinion

Chapter 11

10/29/10

Chapter 11 & 12-Discussion

Chapter 12

11/01/10

Political Parties

Chapter 12

11/03/10

Interest Groups

Chapter 13

11/05/10

Chapter 12 & 13-Discussion

Chapter 13

11/08/10

Elections

Chapter 14

11/10/10

The Electoral College

Chapter 14

11/12/10

Chapter 14 & 15-Discussion

Chapter 14

11/15/10

Media

Chapter 15

11/17/10

Media

Chapter 15

11/19/10

Extra-Credit Assignment III due.

SECTION EXAM III

None

11/22/10

Give Back & Go over Section Exam III

None

11/24/10

NO CLASS-THANKSGIVING

None

11/26/10

NO CLASS-THANKSGIVING

None

11/29/10

Review first third of the course.

Review Book

12/01/10

Review second third of the course.

Review Book

12/03/10

Review last third of the course-Discussion.

Review Book

12/06/10

FINAL EXAM – Noon to 1:50 p.

None

 

Disclaimer – Test times, class schedules and reading assignments are all subject to change.  Regular attendance in class will assure that students will have all the needed information to successfully complete the course.        

 

    Academic Honor Code: Academic dishonesty:  In preparing for your work and meeting the requirements of this course, you are expected to adhere to all the rules, regulations, and standards set forth by the Department of Political Science, Northern Illinois University, and the scholarly community.  This statement encompasses intentional and unintentional plagiarism; cheating on examinations; using, purchasing, or stealing others’ work; misusing library materials; and so forth.  The NIU Undergraduate Catalog states:

Good academic work must be based on honesty. The attempt of any student to present as his or her own work that which he or she has not produced is regarded by the faculty and administration as a serious offense. Students are considered to have cheated if they copy the work of another during an examination or turn in a paper or an assignment written, in whole or in part, by someone else. Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging those sources or if they paraphrase ideas from such sources without acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university. (Undergraduate Catalog)

If you are not sure what constitutes plagiarism, ask.  Ignorance will not be tolerated as an excuse.  If you are unaware of how to cite properly, visit http://polisci.niu.edu/polisci/audience/plagiarism.shtml.  

 

Students with Disabilities: Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities.  Those students with disabilities that may have some impact on their coursework and for which they may require accommodations should notify the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CARR) on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building.  CAAR will assist students in making appropriate accommodations with course instructors.  It is important that CARR and instructors be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.

 

Undergraduate Writing Awards: The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Department’s spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28. All copies should have two cover pages - one with the student’s name and one without the student’s name. Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award. However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for the following year’s competition even if the student has graduated.

 

Department of Political Science Web Site: Undergraduates are encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. To reach the site, go to http://polisci.niu.edu.  Also, if you would like to receive the department’s e-announcements that feature information on internships, scholarships, lectures, POLS club activities, and other important information via email, please let me know and I will make sure you are added to the list. 

 

 

 

Grading Rubric for Extra-Credit Homework Assignments

Fall 2010

 

All students start with a score of “8” and there is a maximum of “10” points awarded:

 

A – +1 for properly citing outside literature (up to 2 possible points)

 

Acceptable outside literature is limited to peer-reviewed journal articles and books published by university presses.

 

B – minus 1 for each incomplete answer

C – minus 1 for each wrong answer

D – minus 1 for each failure to follow guidelines spelled out in the syllabus

E – minus 1 for each set of five grammar errors

F – minus 1 for no staple

 

Note: If you hand in a homework assignment you are guaranteed a minimum of “2” extra-credit points.