American Government & Politics

POLS 100 – CRN # 5900

Spring 2010


Teaching Assistant – Katie Leb

Class Time – Friday 12-12:50 p.m.

Class Location – DuSable 459

Office Phone Number – (815) 753-1818

Office Location – DuSable 476

Office Hours –Monday 4:30-6 p.m., Wednesday 2-3:30 p.m. and by appointment

E-Mail – kleb1@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 fill out the attendance card for the fourth time.  Students failing to fill out the attendance card 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 me 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.


E-mail: I am more than happy to answer your questions through the semester. Please come to my office hours for the most direct help. If, however, you are unable to make these times or need assistance at a time prior to my office hours you can e-mail me at kleb1@niu.edu. I will try, and usually do, respond to your e-mails within 24 hours.


I only ask two things about e-mailing me, in order to help me give you a more timely response, as I get many e-mails a day and want to filter your e-mails to the top of my list.

1. In the subject line please write: “POLS 100 D2”

2. When you write an e-mail to me, please use the English language and use your name. If I receive an e-mail that reads, “Yo Leb, r u collect hw when clas starts bc i’m gonna b l8” I will respond to this e-mail, but my response will be this, “Please send me another e-mail, in which you use the English language.”


Technology: I understand that most, if not all of us enjoy talking or texting on our cell phones. However, for 50 minutes on Friday, please let everyone know that you will be discussing deep, meaningful material and cannot be bothered. This also includes beepers, mp3 players and any other nonessential electronic device.


If your cell phone does ring during class, I assume you will be very embarrassed as all of us stare at you. At any point during discussion I see you texting away, I will kindly ask you to put the phone away. If I see you doing it again, you will be asked to leave for the remainder of the class period and will not receive credit for attending. This also goes for your cell phone ringing twice in a class period. Make it easy on yourself, put the phone on silent and keep it put away.


If you need your cell phone on for any legitimate reason (to be determined by myself) please let me know before discussion begins.