American Government - Augusta University

American Government
Fall 2014
POLS 1101A
Lynthia Ross Owens
Email: [email protected]
[email protected]
Cell Phone: 912-660-4841
M,W 5:30pm – 6:45pm; AH E157
Office Hours: By appointment
Political Science Department: 706-737-1710
Introduction: This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive
introduction to American government and its various institutions, politics and the public
policy process. The course will also incorporate a Citizen Action Project, through which
students will be able to experience the impact of citizens on government.
Course Text:
Volkomer, Walter E. American Government. 14th Edition. Upper Saddle River:
Pearson Prentice Hall., 2012.
Grading Scale
416 and below
Short Writing (50 pts each)
Civic Engagement Activity
100 points possible
100 points possible
250 points possible
250 points possible
700 possible points
IMPORTANT: A major purpose in your taking this class is to meet the Georgia
legislative requirement for competence in the U.S. and Georgia Constitution in order to
graduate. Therefore, passing the Georgia Constitution test is required. Students who fail
the test have failed the course and will be dropped from the course roll.
Class Policies:
Attendance: I will enforce the university’s policy. Specifically, absences beyond four
classes will be considered excessive. Should you miss more than four, it is your
responsibility to justify why you should not receive an “F” for failure to attend class. I
will take attendance either at the beginning or end of class. It is your responsibility to
make sure I know you are present.
Late Assignments: I will NOT accept late assignments unless you have discussed the
matter with me in advance.
Tape Recording: I have no objection to recording my lectures. However, if there is a
student who objects to having his or her comments recorded, recording must cease. No
taping in lieu of note taking.
Eating and Drinking is not permitted in class.
Compliance with ADA: Any student with any sort of physical or learning disability
should contact the Office of Disability Services in the Counseling and Testing Center for
appropriate accommodation. The number is (706) 737-1471.
Cell Phones and Pagers should be set on silent or off before coming into class.
Course Schedule/ Outline
August 18
August 20-27
The Constitution
September 1 – Labor Day
No Class
Read Chapter 2
Read The Constitution
September 3 – No Class - Work on Short Writing Assignment or Civic Engagement
September 8
Read Chapter 3
September 10-15
The President
Read Chapter 8
September 17-24
Read Chapter 7
September 29 - October 1
The Judicial Branch
Read Chapter 10
October 1
Short Writing Assignment #1 Due
October 6-8
The Bureaucracy
October 8
Midterm Exam
October 13
Midterm – Last Day to withdraw without “F”
October 13-15
Civil Liberties and Rights
Read Chapter 11 and 12
Read the Constitutional Amendments
Read Chapter 9
October 17
Fall Pause
October 20-22
Elections and Campaigns
Read Chapter 6
October 27-29
Political Parties
Read Chapter 5
October 21-25
Public Opinion
Read Chapter 4
November 3-5
No Class – Work on Short Writing Assignment/ Civic Engagement
November 10
Elections and Campaigns/ Discussion
November 12
Civic Engagement Exercise Due
November 12
Interest Groups
Read Chapter 5
November 17-19
Public Policy
Read Chapter 13
November 18-22
Civil Rights
Read Chapter 12
November 24
November 26
Thanksgiving Break
December 1
Final Exam Review
December 3
Final Exam
Civic Involvement Activity
An important component of this course is learning about citizen rights. With rights come
responsibilities and the purpose of the citizen action project is to expose you to citizen
responsibility and the impact of an engaged and involved citizenry in a community. Your
activity should be an activity involving some type of volunteer service to a non profit
organization or group or attending/ participating in a community meeting or group.
After completing your activity you should submit a 1-2 page paper that gives a brief
explanation of your activity, the significance of your selection to you and the impact of
government/ politics on the organization. Also, indicate the impact of involved citizenry
on the organization or body. If this activity changed your perspective about a particular
organization or group, that should also be included in your paper.
Some examples of civic activities are:
Public service and community participation (e.g. homeless services,
environmental protection advocacy, service work with religious organizations,
partisan political activities, government boards and commissions, neighborhood
association, non-profit boards and commissions).
Volunteer for a community based or non-profit organization (e.g. United Way,
Boys and Girls Club, a soup kitchen, community based arts organization)
Other activities or organizations are acceptable and can be used to satisfy this
requirement. Consult me for approval.
The paper must be submitted by November 12, 2014.
Short Writing Assignment
Writing is a skill you’ll use throughout your college and professional career. In this
course, you’ll complete two short writing assignments to help you with the application of
critical thinking and creating logical arguments related to contemporary issues. In
political science, there are many topics that may be of interest to you for many different
reasons. I encourage you to review the syllabus and identify topics that are of particular
interest to you and write on them. You might also welcome the challenge of selecting a
topic of little or no interest to you and developing more knowledge of that subject.
Your paper should be 2-3 pages and can be in the format of an issue paper on a subject in
the media, a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, a letter to one of your elected
officials on a position they have taken or may be considering with an upcoming vote.
Your paper/ letter should be constructed to support your position on the issue you’ve
selected. Use data and “good” sources to support your positions.
The first assignment is due by October 1 and the last must be submitted by
November 24.