American Government & Politics

POLS 100 – CRN # 5900

Spring 2010


Teaching Assistant – Kelly Drosendahl

Class Time – 12:00 – 12:50p: Friday

Class Location – DuSable 246

Office Phone Number – (815) 753-1818

Office Location – DuSable 476

Office Hours – Monday & Wednesday 1-2PM & by appointment

E-Mail – KDrosendahl@niu.edu


Required Text –

Barbour, Christine et al. 2009. Keeping the Republic, 4th Edition + Clued   in to Politics,

            3rd Edition + The First Year: Obama in the Oval Office Package.   Washington

            D.C.: CQ Press.

ISBN: 978-1-60426-976-5


Attendance Policy:  Attendance IS required.  However, there is no penalty for being absent until you have failed to sign the attendance sheet for the fourth time.  Students failing to sign the attendance sheet 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 (05/03/2010).  There are no points associated with the excessive absences’ paper and 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.


Extra Credit Homework Assignments:  There will be five extra credit homework assignments that coincide with the five section exams and each is worth a possible 7 points.  However, the extra-credit points are awarded only if the exam is one of the four that is used to calculate your final grade; hence there are 28 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 #.





DATE                                     ASSIGNMENTS DUE                         READING


Discuss Readings

Keeping the Republic – Chapters 1, 2, & 3

Clued into Politics –

Chapters 1 & 2


Discuss Readings

Handout Extra-credit 1



Extra Credit 1 Due

Section Exam 1



Discuss Readings

Handout Extra-credit 2

Keeping the Republic – Chapters 4, 5, & 6

Clued into Politics –

Chapters 3, 4, & 5


Extra Credit 2 Due

Section Exam 2



Discuss Readings

Keeping the Republic – Chapters 7, 8, & 9

Clued into Politics –

Chapters 6, 7, & 8


Discuss Readings

Handout Extra-credit 3



Extra Credit 3 Due

Section Exam 3



NO CLASS – Spring Recess



Discuss Readings

Keeping the Republic – Chapters 10, 11, & 12

Clued into Politics –

Chapters 9, 10, & 11


Discuss Readings

Handout Extra-credit 4



Extra Credit 4 Due

Section Exam 4



Discuss Readings

Keeping the Republic – Chapters 10, 11, & 12

Clued into Politics –

Chapters 9, 10, & 11


Discuss Readings

Handout Extra-credit 5



Extra Credit 5 Due

Section Exam 5



Disclaimer – Topics, reading assignments, and assignments due are all subject to change.  Regular attendance in discussion section will assure that students will have all the needed information to successfully complete the course. 

Grading Rubric for Extra-Credit Homework Assignments

Spring 2010


All students start with a score of “5” and there is a maximum of “7” 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 “1” point extra-credit.