AMERICAN GOVERNMENT FALL 2008 Instructor: Lee Ann Hagan
Political Science 101 3 Credit Hours MWF 9:00
Office: Aspen 126 Hours: MWF 10:00-10:50
Phone: 732-6867 MWF 12:00-12:50
& by appointment
CSI Mission Statement: The College of Southern Idaho, a comprehensive community college, provides
quality educational, social, cultural, economic, and workforce development opportunities that meet the diverse
needs of the communities it serves. CSI prepares students to lead enriched, productive and responsible lives in
a global society.
This course will meet the following criteria and goals:
General Education Criteria: This course satisfies all eight criteria for general education. It is designed to:
1. Provide a broad-based survey of a discipline and show the interconnectedness of knowledge.
2. Develop a discerning individual.
3. Practice critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
4. Promote awareness of social and cultural diversity in order to appreciate the commonality of mankind.
5. Foster the balance between individual needs and the demands of society.
6. Reinforce reading, writing, speaking, and/or quantitative skills.
7. Encourage and inspire life-long learning.
8. Encourage creativity.
Social Science Department Goals: This course also addresses the following Social Science Department goals which are as follows:
1. Help students understand important facts, concepts, and theories of Social Science subjects.
2. Help students acquire techniques and methods used to gain new knowledge in the disciplines.
3. Help students learn to distinguish between fact and opinion.
4. Teach students to use evaluation, analysis, and synthesis to interpret and solve problems.
5. Teach students to use different perspectives from the social sciences to make better-informed decisions.
6. Help students acquire an informed understanding of various cultures.
7. Prepare students to transfer to a university.
Political Science Program Objectives: This course is structured upon the following goals:
1. To comprehend political theories, structures and processes.
2. To prepare students to think, integrate, and logically organize, not just memorize, political information.
3. To encourage students to gather knowledge from other disciplines to interpret political situations.
4. To apply insights from the study of political science to understand local, state, national and international developments.
CATALOG DESCRIPTION: A basic course in political science introducing the basic concepts and major structural
elements of the national government. Many aspects of American government are introduced and discussed in a way that
will make the study of government more a part of the students’ world.
OUTCOMES ASSESSMENT: Outcomes Assessment is intended to address whether and how your experience in this
course has been effective in achieving the objectives as stated above.
Matrix of Course Outcomes Aligned with GE criteria (GE) Social Science Goals (SS) and Political Science Objectives
Students Will.... GE SS POLS
Understand the basic structure of American Government. 1, 2, 3, 6 1, 2, 3, 4 1, 2, 3, 4
Be able to critically interpret and articulate thoughts about 1, 3, 5, 6 1, 2, 3, 4 1, 2, 3, 4
American Government and politics.
Apply course concepts in a personal and everyday context. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 1, 2, 3, 4
Assessment Method: Alignment of course outcomes with course assessment methods.
Short Answer Questions Essay Questions Class Assignments Comprehensive Essay Attendance Bonus Review Groups
The American governmental process is more than just the sum of its constituent institutional parts. Rather it is the
interaction among the institutions and the public which provides the U.S. with its unique political environment.
Concentrating on the different formal and informal channels through which the American public can influence the
decision-making process (and in turn be influenced by it). We will study the major American institutions' ability to
represent the needs and demands of an increasingly varied constituency.
Throughout the course we will attempt to integrate our knowledge of political processes into an analysis of current
political events. Since we must know where we have been to understand where we are going, we will also review the
major changes that have transformed the American political universe from its humble Constitutional beginnings into its
present, often complicated, state.
REQUIREMENTS: Required texts for this course: American Government, Volkomer (12th Edition). In addition,
several essays will be assigned to supplement the text. (I will hand these out in class.) The readings serve as background
to the lectures. Readings should therefore be completed in advance of the corresponding class lectures and discussions.
You will learn much more if you follow this simple guideline. Unannounced quizzes covering assigned readings may be
given at any time.
The outline of readings is listed on Page 3. More detailed schedules of assignments will be mentioned in class.
Lectures will run in a logical sequence. Missing the first lecture of a sequence will often lead to confusion later on.
Attendance is therefore extremely important. I can't stress this enough. (There will be an incentive for attendance given
later in the semester.)
Class participation is strongly advised (although a student will not be penalized for lack of participation, contributions to
class discussion will be noted).
Three preliminary exams and a final are scheduled for this course. They will be composed of short answers and essays.
They will be designed to test your ability to think, integrate, and logically organize (not just memorize). One essay on the
final will be cumulative (as a reward for good attendance, this may be given as a take home); the other essay and the short
answers will cover only the last section of the course (in essence a fourth prelim). Review sheets designed to assist in
your preparation of the exam(s) will be distributed at least three days before each exam. Dates for the prelims will be
determined at least one week in advance. Make-ups will be allowed ONLY under special circumstances and with prior
GRADING POLICY: Each prelim will account for 20% of your grade; the final will be worth 30% (20% for the fourth
prelim, 10% for the cumulative essay). Your final grade in this course will be basically determined by your performance
on these exams and class assignments which are applied as extra credit if turned in on time. Late assignments will be
accepted with a penalty; however, assignments will not be accepted after two weeks. Students who are no longer
attending class are responsible for withdrawing by the end of the 12th week or an "F" will be given. Some allowance will
be made for improvement on exams and demonstration of knowledge through participation in class discussion. (There
will be numerous extra credit opportunities throughout the semester. Extra credit is due within a week of corresponding
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: Any student with a documented disability may be eligible for related
accommodations. To determine eligibility and secure services, students should contact the coordinator of Disability
Services at their first opportunity after registration for a class. Student Disability Services is located on the second floor
of the Taylor Building on the Twin Falls Campus. 208-732-6260 (voice) or 208-734-9929 (TTY), or email
STUDENT EVALUATIONS: Students are strongly encouraged to complete evaluations at the end of the course.
Evaluations are very important to assist the teaching staff to continually improve the course. Evaluations are available
online at http://evaluation.csi.edu . Evaluations open up two weeks prior to the end of the course. The last day to complete
an evaluation is the last day of the course. During the time the evaluations are open, students can complete the course
evaluations at their convenience from any computer with Internet access, including in the open lab in the library and in the
SUB. When students log in they should see the evaluations for the courses in which they are enrolled. Evaluations are
anonymous. Filling out the evaluation should only take a few minutes. Your honest feedback is greatly appreciated!
OUTLINE OF LECTURES
Readings refer to Volkomer if not otherwise noted. All readings listed by authors are available through instructor.
I. Introduction: Politics, Democracy, and the
American People Chapter 1
II. The Rules of the Game:
A. From Colonialism to Constitutionalism Chapter 2
"Founding Rivalries" (Handout)
“Judicial Review is not Majority Rule” (Handout)
B. The Federal System Chapter 3
III. The Rights of the Individual
A. The Judiciary Chapter 10 (optional)
B. Civil Liberties and Civil Rights Chapters 11, (12 limited class coverage)
C. "Protecting the Thought that We Hate” (Handout)
IV. Politics and the American People
A. Nominations, Elections, Participation & Voting Chapter 6
B. Political Parties Chapter 5 pp.94-107
"Boss" Royko (Handout)
"Labels and Alignments in American Politics" McKenna & Feingold (Handout)
C. Public Opinion and The Mass Media Chapter 4
V. The Institutions of Government
A. Interest Groups Chapter 5 pp. 108-123
B. Congress Chapter 7
C. The President Chapter 8
D. The Bureaucracy: The 4th Branch? (if time) Chapter 9
E. Public Policy (if time) Chapter 13