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U.S. Public Policy & Democracy

Course Number: PS 202
Transcript Title: US Pub. Policy & Dem
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

Course Description

Examines the public administration of and management issues relating to US national bureaucratic institutions. Covers how these impact a wide range of domestic policies including taxation, spending priorities, economic regulations, poverty programs, healthcare, and environmental programs, social security and other entitlements.

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 conflicts associated with formulating national public policy such as taxation and spending policies.
  2. Employ different methods of inquiry and analytical skills to conceptually organize experiences and discern meaning from ongoing study of national bureaucratic institutions of U.S. politics as these operate in relation to Legislative, Executive and Judicial mandates.
  3. Analyze the roles of individuals and political institutions as these relate to contemporary controversies regarding a wide range of domestic public policy issues in the US.
  4. Reason quantitatively and qualitatively to address national problems with public administration within US bureaucratic institutions, including various management styles.
  5. Develop and articulate personal value judgments, respecting different points of view, while practicing ethical and social requirements of responsible citizenship by participating in the shaping of national political priorities and policies.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  1. Exams consisting of essay or other method that integrates and requires application of concepts, themes and issues in the course.
  2. Written assignments such as papers, reviews, journals and other writing assignments that demonstrate understanding of content knowledge and appropriate application by students of content to clarification of their own views on political issues.
  3. Oral presentations, discussions, debates, or role-playing that articulate views and values incorporating a comprehensive knowledge of appropriate concepts and issues.
  4. Projects where students can identify resources that provide political information and can utilize these resources to evaluate the political process and identify participatory strategies.
  5. Review and critique of political material from different media.
  6. Use of standard research techniques and acceptable formats in written work and oral presentations.

Texts and Materials

All texts are selected at the each instructor's discretion. However, successful past offerings of this course and a desire to have some continuity of pedagogy among the instructors has encouraged the adoption of the following text in its State and Local Version - thereby encouraging students to complete the entire PS 201, 202, and 203 sequence using the same textbook.

Government By the People (State and Local Version), by Burns, Peltason, Cronin, and Magleby (Prentice-Hall Publishers, 2000).

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, and Issues

  1. Congress, including committee structure and the process of how a bill becomes a law.
  2. The powers of the President and how they have developed over time.
  3. The Supreme Court and federal judicial system- including how both systems operate and the powers of the Supreme Court.
  4. The federal bureaucracy and how it impacts our lives.
  5. Basic economic theories that influence the US economy, including monetarism, Keynesian economics, and supply-side economics.
  6. Social policies, including national government involvement in health care, welfare education, and crime.
  7. US foreign relations and the role of the military in achieving US objectives.

Competencies and Skills

Students should develop the following skills:

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