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U.S. Government

Course Number: PS 201
Transcript Title: U.S. Government
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: September 25, 2013
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit

Prerequisites

WR 115, RD 115, MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores

Course Description

Examines the development of constitutional traditions in the United States. Includes topics such as the Bill of Rights, interest groups, parties, and elections, as well as, the national institutions including the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of government. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

  1. Apply an understanding of diversity of human experience and culture in relationship to how we think and interact with others with regards to interest groups, political parties and other political realities in the United States.
  2. Employ different methods of inquiry and analytical skills to conceptually organize experiences and discern meaning from ongoing study of U. S. Constitutional traditions involving national political institutions, including the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of U. S. Government.
  3. Analyze the roles of individuals and political institutions as these relate to contemporary problems and issues associated with the Bill of Rights, and equal rights under the law, and other political issues.
  4. Reason quantitatively and qualitatively in both written and oral communication to address national problems within US national political institutions.
  5. Develop and articulate personal value judgments, respecting different points of view, while practicing ethical and social requirements of responsible citizenship by participating in elections, accessing the various government institutions, and engaging in other opportunities for action in a democratic society.

Texts and Materials

Choice of texts is at the discretion of each course instructor. However, successful past offerings of this course and a desire to have some continuity of pedagogy among the faculty has encouraged the adoption of the following text - thereby encouraging students to complete the entire PS 201, 202, 203 sequence using the same textbook.

Edwards, Wattenberg, Lineberry. Government In America, People, Politics and Policy, 12th edition or later. (Pearson/Longman)

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, and Issues

  1. Constitutional government
  2. Elitist and pluralist theories
  3. How federalism works and its implications for national/state relations
  4. Rights and responsibilities associated with the Bill of Rights and the major court decisions that have affected these rights.
  5. Current Supreme Court cases related to this portion of the course
  6. Equal Rights under the law, Due Process, 14th Amendment
  7. The consequences of the Patriot Act
  8. Major elements of American political culture, political socialization
  9. The role of interest groups, money and the media in politics
  10. Impact of new campaign finance laws, voting problems
  11. How political parties are organized and how they operate in the US
  12. How public opinion and political participation are manifested in this country
  13. The major elements of campaigning and elections
  14. Add relevant videos

Competencies and Skills

  1. Students should develop the following skills:
  2. Support generalizations/arguments with examples or evidence.
  3. Accurately articulates ideas in written and oral presentation.
  4. Articulates original applications and synthesis of academic theories/frameworks, supporting them by citing valid sources.
  5. Demonstrates knowledge of political system in written and oral work.
  6. Critiques own assumptions and those of others, validating them with substantial thinking and application of appropriate arguments.
  7. Use of standard research techniques and acceptable formats in written work and oral presentations.