POLS 1000-42: American Wyoming Government

American and Wyoming Government
Political Science 1000-42
Spring 2016
Instructor: Eli Major
Contact: [email protected]
eli.major (Skype)
A note on my availability: Due to the online nature of this course, I will not set office hours.
However, you are free to email me at the above UW address. If you wish to talk via Skype, I am
willing to do so, but you MUST email me your Skype name and tell me a time. I will not answer
unscheduled Skype calls, nor will I answer unfamiliar Skype addresses (so email me in advance
with a time and your Skype address).
Course Description
This is the introductory level course of Political Science at the University of Wyoming. I
imagine most of my students will have experienced a government or civics course sometime
during high school, so please note this course will involve applying our knowledge in addition to
studying basic functions and facts. Be prepared to take several short and timed quizzes to test
your knowledge in addition to discussing class topics in the discussion forum on Wyocourses.
Additionally, each student will submit an issue paper towards the end of the semester. You will
be expected to read the assigned chapters in the textbooks in addition to occasional posted
readings for discussion (not all discussions will require an additional reading).
There will be two required texts.
1. King, et al., The Equality State. Seventh Edition. Peosta, Iowa: Eddie Bowers
Publishing, 2012.
2. Janda, et al., The Challenge of Democracy: American Government in Global PoliticsThe Essentials. Ninth Edition. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2014.
Please be sure to acquire copies of these texts and do the assigned reading. It will be difficult to
participate in class without them. Also keep in mind the quizzes will be timed, so prior
knowledge of the topic will be essential. Feel free to posit questions about political matters or
current events in the discussion forum, but also keep in mind this class is academic in nature. I
will monitor and participate in these discussions, but I reserve the right to veto topics if they are
being used in a partisan, rather than academic, manner.
Also note that recorded video lectures will be made available via Wyocourses. I strongly
encourage students to watch these lectures in addition to completing the assigned reading for the
Grading and Assignments
There will be three types of assignments in this class.
1. Quizzes (regarding readings from the King and Janda books)
a. Dates
i. Quizzes will be available for a 48 hour period at the end of each week
(Friday and Saturday)
b. Value
i. There will be fourteen (14) quizzes each covering the week’s material
ii. You will choose and drop four (4) quizzes. I will assume to drop the
lowest four unless you tell me otherwise
c. Format
i. The quizzes are not cumulative
ii. Each quiz will have multiple choice and true or false questions.
iii. Quizzes will be timed at 15 minutes. Please be sure to complete the
reading in advance to ensure you finish
d. Procedure
i. Quizzes will be given on the specified dates (found below). The quizzes
must be completed on the assigned days unless I am contacted in advance
ii. Requests to make up a quiz must be made in writing via email at least 48
hours before the scheduled opening of the quiz. The request must include
your purpose for missing the quiz and your student identification number.
Valid reasons for rescheduling a quiz involve illness, death in the family,
and participation in a university sponsored activity. Other excuses will be
considered. Please note excessive make-up requests will require
documentation. Also note that since the four lowest quizzes are dropped,
only university-recognized excuses will be accepted.
2. Discussion
a. Each Monday, I will post to the Wyocourse page some questions to consider in
regards to the week’s readings
b. Students are required to post response to these questions by midnight (Mountain
Time) on Wednesday of the same week
c. Students are also required to post a response to at least one other student’s
original post for that week by midnight (Mountain Time) on Friday of the same
d. The lowest four of the fourteen (14) discussion grades will be dropped unless the
student requests otherwise
3. Issue Paper
a. Due by midnight (Mountain Time) on May 6, 2016. Please note this is the week
before finals.
b. Choose a current issue in American politics that interests you.
i. “Current” is defined as any issue of interest since the year 2000. This
means topics such as the Civil War or the American Revolution will not
be accepted.
ii. “American politics” are defined as issues that are overtly American in
topic. Topics that cannot be directly connected to American politics will
not be accepted.
iii. If you are unsure of your topic, you may email me and I will tell you if it
is acceptable. If you are having trouble thinking of a topic, you may email
me and I will guide you on current issues. Modern Supreme Court cases,
American foreign policy, and domestic social issues represent valid topics
(please note other topics not listed may also be considered valid).
c. Once you have chosen your topic, write three (3) to four (4) pages detailing the
topic. It is typical for students to choose a point of view on the topic to defend,
but papers must include discussion of opposing viewpoints (called a concession).
A rubric for the paper will be posted on Wyocourses.
Course Grading at a Glance
Gradable Items
Point Value
Total Point Value for Item
10 Quizzes*
25 pts. Each
10 Weeks of Discussion**
10 pts. Per week**
Issue Paper
50 pts.
Total Points Possible
* The lowest four quiz scores will be dropped.
** The lowest four discussion score will be dropped.
Final grades for the course will be based on the total number of points earned on the three
quizzes, attendance, participation, and the issue paper relative to the following scale:
360 to 400 points = A
320 to 359 points = B
280 to 319 points = C
240 to 279 points = D
0 to 239 points = F
Academic Dishonesty
1. University regulations concerning academic dishonesty (UW Regulation 6-802) will be
strictly enforced.
2. Any and all suspicions of academic dishonesty shall be investigated in accordance with
UW Regulation 6-802.
3. Evidence of academic dishonesty will result in the recommended sanction of a failing
grade for the course, in accordance with UW Regulation 6-802 6.A.vi
General Advice
If at any point you find yourself having difficulty in terms of identifying important points
or the video lectures, please email me. Do not wait until the day of the quiz or the end of the
semester to do so. The time to address study habits and coursework mentality is NOT the end of
the semester. You will find me much easier to work with when I am contacted in advance.
In general, students who participate in class discussions will receive higher grades. If
you watch the video lectures and complete the assigned reading, you will find yourself in a good
position to take the quizzes. You are expected to be familiar with class material.
Reading Schedule
Week 1.
Week 2.
Week 3.
Week 4.
Week 5.
Week 6.
Week 7.
(January 25-30)
Dilemmas of Democracy
Wyoming’s Firsts and Lasts
Readings (by textbook)
Ch. 1
Ch. 1
(February 1-6)
The U.S. Constitution
The Wyoming Constitution
Ch. 2
Ch. 2
(February 8-13)
Ch. 3
(February 15-20)
Public Opinion, etc.
Ch. 4
(February 22-27)
Participation & Voting
Political Participation
Ch. 5
Ch. 3
(February 29 – March 5)
Political Parties, etc.
Ch. 6
(March 7-12)
Interest Groups
Ch. 7
Week 8.
(March 14-19)
(Spring Break, no assignments)
Week 9.
(March 21-26)
U.S. Congress
Wyo. Legislature
Ch. 8
Ch. 4
(March 28 – April 2)
The Presidency
Ch. 9
(April 4-9)
The Wyoming Executive
Ch. 5
(April 11-16)
Federal Courts
Wyo. Courts
Ch. 11
Ch. 6
(April 18-23)
Order & Civil Liberties
Ch. 12
(April 25-30)
Equality & Civil Rights
Ch. 13
(May 2-7)
Public Policy
Ch. 14
Week 10.
Week 11.
Week 12.
Week 13.
Week 14.
Week 15.
Please note the issue paper is due May 6