Northern Illinois University

Government in Metro Areas

POLS 302 – QE1 – Class #12680

Spring 2010


Professor – Dr. Scot Schraufnagel

Class Time – 6:30P – 9:15P: Tuesday

Class Location – NIU Rockford

Office Hours – Immediately before and after class on Tuesday evenings & by appointment.

Office Location – 410 Zulauf Hall-DeKalb Campus

Office Phone Number – (815) 753-7054

Office Fax Number – (815) 753-6302

Note: E-mail will be used for submitting exams.  Unfortunately e-mail is not a perfectly reliable; therefore it is strongly recommended that you submit exams in advance of the due date and time.  This will provide a window of opportunity to receive confirmation that your e-mail was received, or to resubmit the exam via some other method.  For instance, if e-mail fails as an option, then, you might submit an exam by fax machine or in person.  Please do not hesitate to contact me by telephone to discuss communication issues.  


Required Texts

Ross, Bernard H. and Myron A. Levine. 2006. Urban Politics: Power in Metropolitan

America, 7th Edition. Belmont, CA: Thompson/Wadsworth.


Course Objectives - This course is intended to familiarize students with the basic institutional framework of metropolitan politics.  To this end, there will be discussion of urban machines, federalism, alternative local government structures, citizen participation, and urban bureaucracies.  A primary focus will be placed on gaining a full appreciation of the power struggles that take place in metro politics between governments, within governmental institutions, and between government institutions and the private sector.  A secondary focus will be placed on learning broad justifications for government involvement and the conditions under which government can be most useful.


Withdrawal Policy – If you wish to withdraw from the course at any time you must do so yourself.  My policy is to NOT administratively withdraw any student for any reason.  It is your responsibility to keep track of any withdrawal deadlines.


Evaluation Process – The course will be graded on a total points system and there will be a possible 250 points for the course.  There will be four section exams and a comprehensive final exam.  Each section exam will be worth 50 points.  However, I will drop the lowest score from the five section exams.  Hence, there will be 150 points attributed to section exams.  Your four best section exam scores will be added to your score on the 100 point final exam for a total of 250 possible points.  All students must submit the final exam.  The grade distribution will be as follows:


234-250 Points – A                 209-233 Points – B                 167-208 Points – C                

150-166 – D                            < 150 – F


Attendance Policy: Attendance IS required. However, there is no penalty for being absent until you have been documented as not being in attendance for the fourth time.  Students documented as not 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 professor and the paper will be due on the night of the final exam (5/4/2010).  On the last class night (4/27/2010) students missing four or more times will receive their paper topic (either in person or by e-mail). There are no points associated with the excessive absences’ paper.  The paper will be graded on a pass/fail basis.  If a student fails to complete the excessive absences’ paper, or receives a failing grade on the excessive absences paper they will receive a grade of “F” in the course regardless of their performance on section exams and the final exam.


Furthermore, there will be extra points awarded to students with perfect attendance and possibly extra points awarded to students with near perfect attendance.  The exact amount of points to be awarded and the names of the students so entitled will be announced on the last scheduled day of class.  To receive extra credit attendance points, it will make no difference if absences are excused or not, if you were not present when attendance is taken you will lose your eligibility for any possible extra credit attendance points.  NEVER come up to the professor at the end of class and ask to be considered present if you were not present when attendance was taken.  When an attendance sign-up sheet is used it is your responsibility to make sure you sign the sheet as it goes around the room.  Furthermore, if you are documented as being late, leaving early, walking out in the middle of class, or in any other way being disruptive or rude (e.g. reading a newspaper, talking) you will lose any eligibility for extra credit attendance points.


Section Exams – The take-home section exams will consist of a series of essay questions (between four and eight questions-but usually six).  You will need to submit your exam electronically by 6:00 p.m. on the date prescribed in the syllabus.  No late tests will be accepted. If you cannot turn in a section exam on time because of illness or an emergency (computer went down) that exam will be the one that is dropped.  Students will be asked to cite outside literature for these tests and provide full citations using APSA Style guidelines.  The exams will be handed out one week before they are due. A grading rubric is provided at the end of this syllabus that details how points are earned on these exams.  


Final Exam – The final exam will also be a take home exam, but it must be turned in as a hard copy on the night scheduled for the final exam (5/4/2010).  The exam will require students to rework the four section exams and make corrections to their section exams based on feedback that they have received.  The final exam is the resubmission of the improved versions of the four section exams.  Note: Because only three of the four section exams count toward your final grade the temptation will be to complete only three of these assignments.  However, students will be required to submit a “clean” version of all four section exams as their final exam – so skipping one of the section exams will eventually catch up to you, as you will ultimately need to complete all four section exams for the final exam.   


Class Schedule



Class Topic/Assignment



Go over syllabus- The Evolution of American Cities



Justifications for Public Policy

Chapters 1, 2, & 3


Policy Options and Concerns

Chapters 1, 2, & 3


Section Exam 1 Due (6:00p.)

Urban Policy Makers

Chapters 4, 5, & 6


Discuss Section Exam 1

Formal Governing Structures

Chapters 4, 5, & 6


Formal Governing Structures-Cont. & Machine Politics

Chapters 4, 5, & 6


Section Exam 2 Due (6:00p.) Citizen Participation

Chapters 7, 8, & 9


Discuss Section Exam 2

Ideal Bureaucracy and Bureaucratic Policy Making

Chapters 7, 8, & 9


NO CLASS – Spring Recess



Bureaucratic Policy Making Cont.

Chapters 7, 8, & 9


Section Exam 3 Due (6:00p.)


Chapters 12, 13, & 14


Discuss Section Exam 3 Tax Policy and Corporate Welfare

Chapters 12, 13, & 14


Federal Court System

Chapters 12, 13, & 14


Section Exam 4 Due (6:00p.) Discuss Section Exam 4

Preview the Final Exam



Turn in Final Exams



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  


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  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 Take Home Exams

POLS 302 – spring 2010




There is no predetermined length for take home exams.  However, it is difficult to imagine combined answers less than 1000 words being sufficiently complete to earn full credit.  Any exam in excess of 5000 words will be returned with out a grade (student will be expected to reformulate his/her responses to make them more concise). 


All students start with a score of “45”:


A – plus 5 for properly citing outside literature twice.

B – plus 3 for two additional citations to other outside sources.


Students must follow American Political Science Association (APSA) guidelines for parenthetical notations and references.  Acceptable “outside literature” is limited to peer reviewed journal articles and books published by university presses. 


C – minus 3 for each instance of incomplete information

D – minus 3 for each instance of bad or incorrect information provided

E – minus 3 for each failure to follow the formatting guidelines spelled out below

F – minus 3 for each set of three grammar errors (including improper citation issues)


Exams should be double-spaced, font #12 Times New Roman.  Margins should always be between 1 inch and 1 and a quarter inches.  The electronic submissions should contain only black ink.  The submission (exam) should include a cover page as the first page of the document that identifies the student and the relevant exam number.