Local Government and Urban Politics
Instructor: Dr. David Emanuelson
Tuesday-Thursday: Office: 408 Zulauf
DuSable 246 Hours: T&Th
Email: email@example.com Phone: Home: 758-3724; Cell: 757-1577
Course Purpose and Goals
The primary purpose of this course is to offer a basic understanding of urban government, politics, and public administration at the local level as this understanding relates to becoming an elected official or public administration professional. In order to provide this understanding, theoretical literature will be presented along with case study analysis to demonstrate the complexity that exists in modern metropolitan government and the challenges that awaiting those wanting to play a role in it.
secondary purpose of this course is to make students better citizens by making
them aware of how metropolitan government functions, so as citizens, students
will be informed voters. This goal is
attempted by providing students with an introduction to the history, evolution,
theory and the political dynamics that have led to the current forms and
functions of local governmental units in the
This is a 300 level course, aimed at political science majors or those seeking a career in, or a better understanding of public administration. As such it is also understood that some students from other fields may be taking the course as an elective, so the instructor will attempt to keep the course relevant to the students from these fields. Nevertheless, as a 300 level course, there will be an appropriate level of rigor, regardless of students’ majors.
No matter what the major field of study of the student, the student’s first responsibility will be to come to every class and participate. While a significant amount of material will come from textbooks, an equally significant amount will come from examples and class discussion. Tests and papers will cover both in equal amounts so you should come to class and take good notes.
The second responsibility of the student will be to read the assigned literature and be prepared to participate in class discussions. It is apparent to most instructors when students have not prepared for classes or examination so you should read the assignments before class, rather than waiting for the tests or quizzes to read them.
Finally, in addition to class participation, the student will be responsible to ask questions when he or she does not understand what has been presented. There is an old saying in education that if you don't understand something, others in the class probably share that feeling, so ask questions, and you might even make a few friends in the process.
Required texts and readings
The following texts and
periodicals are the required readings for the course. The Ross and Martin texts
are on sale at the University and
James B. Managing Local Government: Cases in Decision
Ross, Bernhard H., and Levine,
Myron A., Urban Politics: Power in Metropolitan
Grades are important, and in this course your work this semester will be determined by a cumulative point system, where each exam, paper, and quiz will have a point value as will your class attendance and participation. At the end of the semester, grades will be based upon the student's accumulation of points as they relate to the grading scale that follows:
A=90-100% of total possible points
B=80-89% of total possible points
C=70-79% of total possible points
D=60-69% of total possible points
The scale indicates that grading will not be done on a curve but as a percentage of successfully completed work scale, making it possible that there is no limit to the number of students that can receive ‘A’s’ These percentage breaks for grades represents a fairly standard scale for grading at the university level. It also serves the purpose of helping the student understand how he or she stands during the semester, considering the following point values of assignments:
Research Paper (5 pages) 140 points
Mid-term Exam 200 points
Non-comprehensive Final Exam 200 points
Quizzes and exercises (13) 260 points
Attendance and Participation 200 points
Total Possible 1000 points
Exams-There will be two exams over the course. The midterm exam, will be at the March 4 class. The non-comprehensive final, will occur during May 6 from to in this classroom. Any change in the schedule will be announced a week in advance, and students should be advised that no make-up exams will be given without written medical explanation from a physician or university health services official. Exams will be short answer and essay, with questions from the Martin and Ross texts, and the Banovetz workbook. Questions will also focus on class discussion and guest lectures.
Quizzes-There will be five quizzes during the semester, all of them at the beginning of class. Quizzes will cover the assigned reading material for the class period in which they will be given and be worth 20 points each. View them as practice for the midterm and final exam, but also an opportunity for the instructor to monitor the progress of the students in the class. As an incentive to attend class, and if a student is absent from the class, zero points will be awarded, so be there and be prepared and you will be rewarded.
Case Studies- There will be eight case studies that are required to be completed during the semester, all of them taken from the Banovetz workbook and listed in the class schedule and all of them worth 20 points. Case studies will be previewed in the preceding class with the specific question to be answered presented in the preview. Case study responses should be one page type written double-spaced in 12 point font. Late case study assignments will not be accepted so please be prepared to attend class in order to receive credit for each case study assignment.
Research Paper-The goal of this assignment is to familiarize the student with a local government in his or her local community, preferably a city government. Research can begin by visiting the municipality’s website. An organizational chart should be presented along with a listing of who are the elected officials, who serves as department heads as well as a description of each of the city departments and the functions that they serve. A policy decision may also be discussed, such as the decision to build a facility or to change a law. A word of caution is in order. Late papers will be penalized 20 points for each day the paper is late, so have them ready for the class period in which they are due. Papers should be no more than five pages double spaced and in written in academic language.
Class attendance and Participation-Role will be taken in each class to help the instructor familiarize himself with the names and faces of students. Because class discussion is an important part of the learning process, students should be prepared for class by reading the assignments and should raise their hands when they have something to add to the discussion.
Statement Concerning 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 (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the
January 13 Class introduction and review of the syllabus. The nature of government. Banovetz 1.
January 15 The city in American history. Martin Ch. 1. Ross 2, 5&6.
January 20 No Class
January 22 The legal basis for cities. Martin Ch. 2. Ross 4 pages 90-97. Quiz 1.
January 27 Who’s who at city hall. Martin Ch. 5.
January 29 Special District Government. Handouts. Quiz 2.
February 3 Public Safety Services. Martin Ch. 8.
February 5 Social Services. Martin Ch. 9. Quiz 3.
February 10 Financing Services. Handouts. Martin Ch. 6.
February 12 Politics, Power and Special Interests. Martin Ch. 4. Handouts. Quiz 4.
February 17 Elections and electioneering. Handouts.
February 19 The role of professional administration and dichotomy. Banovetz 2. Quiz 5.
February 24 Discussion of first research project. Ethics.
Banovetz Part 9. Preview Case Study 20.
February 26 Case Study 20 due. Review for Research Paper.
March 2 Research Paper due. Review for Midterm Exam.
March 4 Midterm Exam
March 6-14 Spring Break
March 16 Return and review midterms. Review professional administration. Banovetz Part 2. Preview Case Study 2.
March 18 Case Study 2 due. Community politics. Ross. 3.
March 23 Community politics. Banovetz Part 3 and preview Case Study 5.
March 25 Case Study 5 due. Intergovernmental relations. Ross 11. Banovetz Part 4 and review Case Study 6.
March 30 Intergovernmental relations. Banovetz Part 4 and preview Case Study 6.
April 1 Case Study 6 due. Planning and economic development. Ross 12.
April 6 Planning and economic development. Banovetz Part 5 and preview Case Study 8.
April 8 Case Study 8 due. Analysis and evaluation. Handouts.
April 13 Analysis and evaluation. Banovetz Part 6 and preview Case Study 11.
April 15 Case Study 11 due. Personnel and labor relations. Handouts.
April 20 Personnel and labor relations. Banovetz Part 7 and preview Case Study 14.
April 22 Case Study 14 due. Finance and budgeting. Handouts.
April 27 Finance and budgeting. Banovetz Part 8 and preview Case Study 17.
April 29 Case Study 17 due. Review for the Final
May 6 Final- Noon-1:50 pm.