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State and Local Politics

Course Number: PS 203
Transcript Title: State and Local Politics
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: August 4, 2015
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
Repeats available for credit: 0
Approved delivery mode:


MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121.

Course Description

Examines state and local government policy formulation and outcomes on issues ranging from taxation to prisons, and education to environmental concerns. Prerequisites: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Apply an understanding of thediversity of human experience and culture in relationship to how we think and interact with otherswhen addressingcontroversies associated with state and local government policies.
  2. Employ different methods of inquiry and analytical skills to conceptually organize experiences and discern meaning from ongoing study of state and local government policy making structures and policy formulation.
  3. Reason quantitatively and qualitatively using analytical skills expressed in both written and oral communication to address political problems at the state and local government levels in the U.S.
  4. Develop and articulate personal value judgments, respecting points of view, while practicing ethical and social requirements of responsible citizenship by participating in elections and other opportunities for action at the state and local government levels in the U.S.
  5. Reason quantitatively and qualitatively in both written and oral communication about the roles of individuals and political institutions on the state level as these relate to contemporary problems and issues ranging from taxation to prisons and education to environmental concerns.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

In-depth 1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)


2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)

Not Addressed

3. Apply the knowledge, skills and abilities to enter and succeed in a defined profession or advanced academic program. (Professional Competence)


4. Appreciate cultural diversity and constructively address issues that arise out of cultural differences in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)


5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Tests, research papers, discussion, quizzes, homework, group projects, and other forms of assessment all may be used for this course at the instructor's discretion

Course Activities and Design

Lectures, discussion, group activities, service learning are some of the potential activities that instructors may use at their discretion in this course.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, Issues

After completing this course, the student should have a basic understanding of:

  1. Concepts including "elitism", "pluralism", and "hyper pluralism" as these may help explain political realities at the state and/or local levels in different parts of the United States.
  2. How policy making structures operating on state and local levels are influenced by political parties, interest groups, and the impact of money upon campaigns for political office.
  3. Selected case studies illustrating the dynamics of state and local government politics upon policy outcomes which impact all persons within the realm of a particular jurisdiction.
  4. The relationship of personal behavior and lifestyle choices to crises and conflicts which took place in the past, continues into the present, and may or may not be transcended in the future.
  5. How one's own values and actions impact what is seen as right and wrong, good and bad, and the prospects for a future to unfold that is more to one's liking.

Competencies and Skills

  1. Write and communicate orally in a clear, organized, and effective manner.
  2. Think critically about current public policy issues and analyze complex social and political realities.
  3. Use varied and effective research techniques and strategies.
  4. Develop and refine group process skills, which may include listening, brainstorming, cooperating, negotiating, or otherwise communicating regarding shared tasks.
  5. Develop an ability to listen to and empathize with diverse perspectives and experiences.
  6. Integrate coursework with current events and trends through examination of popular media and various sources of news.
  7. Develop and practice active citizenship skills.