POLI111 American National Government

Department of Social & Behavioral Science: Political Science

I. Course Number and Title
POLI111 American National Government
II. Number of Credits
3 credits
III. Minimum Number of Instructional Minutes Per Semester
2250 minutes
IV. Prerequisites
V. Other Pertinent Information
VI. Catalog Course Description
An examination of the workings of American government at the national level. A consideration of who gets what, when, how, and why. An introduction to effective citizenship, suitable for all students.
VII. Required Course Content and Direction
  1. Learning Goals:

    1. An understanding of the functioning of the policy processes and institutions of the American national government.
    2. An understanding of the ideas about government that underlie the American system.
    3. An understanding of some of the basic tools used by political scientists to help explain the way governments function.
    4. An understanding of the significance of current events on the national political scene.
    5. An understanding of the varied perspectives of women and minorities and the contributions these groups have made to American political life.
    6. An understanding of the political debates over the environment: pollution, regulatory policies and citizen action.
    7. An understanding of the social, cultural, economic and racial conflicts in American political life.
    8. Acceptance of responsibility, at personal and public levels, to act in harmony with the natural and social environment.
    9. Commitment to informed political participation at least at the level of regular voting.
    10. Recognition and acceptance of the complexities-and the consequent frustrations-of participatory politics.
    11. Recognition that a sound knowledge of politics is to simply a matter of civic duty but an intrinsically rewarding part of the "proper study of mankind."

    Core Learning Goals:
    Critical Thinking and Reading
      The Student will be able to:
      1. understand and express the meaning and signifigance of a variety of communications (Interpretation).
      2. use methods, concepts and theories in new situations (Application Skills).
      3. identify the explicit and implied features of a communication, especially in arguments that put forth a conclusion (Analysis Skills).
      4. integrate and/or combine knowledge from multiple sources to create new knowledge (Synthesis)
      5. assess the credibility of a communication and the strength of claims and arguments (Evaluation Skills).
      6. reason from what they know to form new knowledge, draw conclusions, solve problems, explain, decide and/or predict (Inductive and/or Deductive Reasoning Skills).
      7. communicate and justify clearly the results of their reasoning (Presenting Arguments Skills).
      8. monitor their comprehension and correct their process of thinking (Reflection Skills).
      9. be open-minded: strive to understand and consider divergent points of view.

    Core Learning Objectives:
    Critical Thinking and Reading
      The Student will be able to:
      1. formulate categories, distinctions, or frameworks or organize information in such a manner to aid comprehension.
      2. make comparisons; note similarities and differences between or among informational items.
      3. identify instances of misleading language (e.g. language that exaggerates or downplays the importance of something or language that neutralizes a controversial topic).
      4. identify contradictions or inconsistancies in written or spoken language, data, images, or symbols.
      5. use methods, concepts and theories in new situations.
      6. identify the ideas presented as assess the interests, attitudes, or views contained in those ideas.
      7. articulate the relationship between the purpose(s) of a communication and the problems or issues that must be resolved in achieving that purpose.
      8. identify the main conclusion of an argument.
      9. determine if the conclusion is supported with reasons and identify those that are stated or implied.
      10. identify the background information provided to explain reasons which support a conclusion.
      11. generalize information based on facts.
      12. demonstrate deductive and/or inductive reasoning.
      13. determine if an argument makes sense.
      14. evaluate the credibility, accuracy, and reliability of sources of information.
      15. determine if an argument rests on false, biased, or doubtful assumptions.
      16. collect and question evidence.
      17. list alternatives and consider their pros and cons, including their plausibility and practicality, when making decisions or solving problems.
      18. project alternative hypotheses regarding an event, and develop a variety of different plans to achieve some goal.
      19. locate and cite evidence to confirm or disconfirm alternatives.
      20. locate and cite various independent sources of evidence, rather than a single source of evidence, to provide support for a conclusion.
      21. present an argument succinctly in such a way as to convey the crucial point of an issue.
      22. present supporting reasons and evidence for conclusion(s) which address the concerns of the audience.
      23. cite relevant evidence and experiences to support position(s).
      24. make revisions in arguments and findings when self-examination reveals inadequacies.

    Core Learning Goals:
    International Cultures
      The Student will be able to:
      1. appreciate the variety of world cultures and understand their own culture better in international contexts.
      2. be open-minded, tolerant, curious about other cultures, and value diversity.
      3. see themselves as part of a global community, citizens of the world and recognize their obligations in it.

    Core Learning Objectives:
    International Cultures
      The Student will be able to:
      1. articulate similarities and differences in the various cultures of the world and demonstrate familiarity with teh skills necessary to make informed judegments.
      2. define the concept of globalization and analyze its impact on their world.
      3. articulate and apply internaional or multicultural perspectives to issues relevant to their discipline.
      4. demonstrate sensitivity to values and behavior in a global context by articulating the impact of decisions made in one culture on the people of a different culture.
      5. identify prejudice, ethnocentrism, stereotypes and/or misuses or power.
      6. project what the world might look like from another's point of view, by means of written, oral or visual presentation.

    Core Learning Goals:
    Perspectives of Women and/or other Minorities
      The Student will be able to:
      1. recognize that women and/or other minorities may have views and responses based upon their gender and/or cultural identity.
      2. develop an increased awareness of the contibutions and varied perspectives of women and/or other minorities.
      3. use what they have learned about women and/or other minorities to improve and empower not only their own lives but also lives of others.

    Core Learning Objectives:
    Perspectives of Women and/or other Minorities
      The Student will be able to:
      1. compare/contrast historical and current information about socities' treatment of women and/or minorities.
      2. define the distinct struggles and contributions of women and/or other minorities in various endeavors.
      3. identify issues and laws pertaining to women and/or other minorities and relate them to individual cases or examples in real life situations.
      4. identify prejudice, sterotypes, and misuses of power that affect the lives of women and/or other minorities in areas like education, business, politics, religion, or industry.
      5. develop just and reasoned answers and strategies based on respect for all.

    Core Learning Goals:
    Conflict Resolution
      The Student will be able to:
      1. be active in preventing conflict before it arises.
      2. value nonviolent solutions to conflict.
      3. understand that many conflicts arise from social intolerance and prejudice.
      4. understand that interpersonal conflict is normal and can be managed.

    Core Learning Objectives:
    Conflict Resolution
      The Student will be able to:
      1. identify nonviolent alternatives to resloving conflict.
      2. develop solutions to problems that recognize the genuine interests of all parties.
      3. practice consensus-finding in interpersonal and cultural conflicts.
      4. accurately identify his/her own prejudices and biases.
      5. identify alternative and valid positions an an issue.
      6. demonstrate communication skills: active listening (reflect back accurately what the other has said), communicate clearly, give all parties a chance to be hears, and focus on issues, not personalities (effective arguing).

    Core Learning Goals:
    Civic and Personal Responsibilty
      The Student will be able to:
      1. understand the responsibilities of the individual in a free society.
      2. understand the need for each individual to promote the public good in the communities in which they live and work.

    Core Learning Objectives:
    Civic and Personal Responsibilty
      The Student will be able to:
      1. identify the effects of a person's actions on the community.
      2. evaluate rules and policies to determine if they are appropriate; take responsible action.
      3. deveop individual strategies for acting on the values and objectives of a free society.
      4. ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILTY: Students develop an awareness of environmental issues, and the global environment's complexity and interrelatedness that will enable them to take responsibility for living in harmony with the natural systems of the earth.
      5. PROBLEM SOLVING: Students develop the abilites to define a problem by formulating critical questions; investigate the problem and its context; identify potential solutions' decide upon a solution in keeping with the contraints of time, resources, costs, and other conditions; implement and assess the solution.

  2. Planned Sequence of Topics and/or Learning Activities:

    1. Research the political science way
    2. Historical roots of the new nation: The American Revolution
    3. The New Government: federalism and constitutional rights (civil rights, civil liberties)
    4. The Modern Presidency: powers and limitations
    5. Congress: structure, functions and processes
    6. The Judiciary: judicial review and its use-Marshall to Rehnquist
    7. The Bureaucracy: rule makers and implementers
    8. Participation I: voters and parties
    9. Participation II: interest groups
    10. Participation III: mass media
    11. Economic policy: fiscal and monetary methods
    12. Social policy: health, education and welfare
    13. Environmental policy: contemporary initiatives (since 1970)
    14. Foreign and Defense policy: evolution since 1945
  3. Assessment Methods for Core Learning Goals:

  4. Reference, Resource, or Learning Materials to be used by Students:

    Thomas E. Patterson, We The People: A Concise Introduction to American Politics (New York: McGraw-Hill, latest edition)
VIII. Teaching Methods Employed
Lecture, discussion, film

Review/Approval Date - 5/04; Core Goals/Objectives added 5/04