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Test 1

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GOVT 2301 American Government:
National, State, and Local I

HCCS Southwest College Spring 2012
Sections: CRN 81371, 81372 Campus: Stafford
Professor: Larry J. Gonzalez, PhD Room: W114
E-mail: Voice: 713.718.6998
Purpose of the Course:
Government 2301 is one of two courses designed to introduce students to the study of government in the United States at the national, state, and local levels. This particular survey of the American system of government includes a study of the fundamental principles of political science, the study of the national and state constitutions, methods of participation, and analyzes contemporary policies. This course is fully transferable to all Texas State colleges and universities.
Required Texts:
O’Connor, Karen, Larry J. Sabato, Alixandra. 2011. American Government: Roots and Reform, Texas Edition. Pearson Education.
Paperback Edition/ISBN-13: 978-1-256-28850-3; ISBN-10:1-256-28850-0

Study Guides are available on-line to accompany the required texts. Students are also encouraged to follow current political events by reading newspapers and following media news reports. Please refer to instructor’s Learning Web page.

Student Notification Statements:

1. Advising and Counseling Services
Advising can be accomplished by contacting the Student Associate at 713-718-6879, selection 2, and on-site advising at other HCC locations upon request. Confidential sessions with education counselors will help students understand admissions, registration, entrance testing requirements, degree planning, transfer issues, and career counseling. Houston Community College counselors also maintain a local referral base in order to provide appropriate referrals to students with personal or family issues that may require long-term solutions.
2. Disability (ADA) Notification
Any student with a documented disability (e.g. physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing, etc) who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact the appropriate HCC Disability Support Service (DSS) Counselor at the beginning of each semester. Faculty are authorized to provide only the accommodations requested by the Disability Support Services Office. Please contact Donna Price at 713-718-5165.

3. NEW POLICY: Students who repeat a course for a third or more times may soon face significant tuition/fee increases at HCC and other Texas public colleges and universities. Please ask your counselor about opportunities for assistance prior to considering course withdrawal or if you are not receiving passing grades.

4. INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: Receiving a W in a course may affect the status of your student Visa. Once a W is given for the course, it will not be changed to an F because of the visa consideration. Please contact the International Student Office at 713-718-8520 if you have any questions about your visa status and other transfer issues.

Educational Outcomes:
The Objective of Political Science as a Core Curriculum course is to facilitate one’s understanding and evaluation of the nature of governments and of the political actions of people concerning government and public policy. This particular curriculum is designed to implement these requirements as set forth by the State of Texas, and the Houston Community College System and Southwest College Government Departments. Upon completion of the core curriculum component in political science, the students enrolled in this course should be able to:

Establish broad and multiple perspectives on the individual in relationship to the larger society and world in which he or she lives, and to understand the responsibilities of living in a culturally and ethnically diversified world;

Stimulate a capacity to discuss and reflect upon individual, political, economic, and social aspects of life in order to understand ways in which to be a responsible member of society;

Recognize the importance of maintaining health and wellness;

Develop a capacity to use knowledge of how technology and science affect their lives;

Develop personal values for ethical behavior;

Develop the ability to make aesthetic judgments;

Use logical reasoning in problem solving; and

Integrate knowledge and understand the interrelationships of the scholarly disciplines.

Outcome Measures:
Students in a Core Curriculum course are assessed on their ability to demonstrate all or most of the following proficiencies:

Reading: Reading at the college level means the ability to analyze and interpret a variety of printed materials-books, articles, and documents-within the contemporary context of the discipline. A core curriculum should offer students the opportunity to master both general methods of analyzing printed materials and specific methods for analyzing the subject matter of individual disciplines.

Writing: Competency in writing is the ability to produce clear, correct, and coherent prose adapted to purpose, occasion, and audience. Students of political science need to be familiar with the writing process: how to discover a topic; how to develop and organize it; and how to phrase it effectively for their audience. These abilities can only be acquired through practice and refection.

Speaking: Competence in speaking is the ability to communicate orally in clear, coherent, and persuasive language appropriate to purpose, occasion, and audience. Developing this competency includes acquiring poise and developing control of the language through experience in making presentations to small groups, to large groups, and through the media.

Critical Thinking: Critical thinking, or intellectual reasoning, which is necessarily exercised in those competencies described above, is the ability to organize and analyze ideas and data using logical methods. “Data” here includes written texts, visual presentations, artifacts, and experimental and statistical material. Critical thinking embraces methods applying both qualitative and quantitative skills analytically and creatively to appropriate political subject matter in order to evaluate arguments and to construct alternative strategies. Problem solving is one of the applications of critical thinking, used to address an identified task.

Computer Literacy: Computer literacy at the college level means the ability to use computer-based technologies in communicating, solving problems, and acquiring information. Core-educated students should have an understanding of the limits, problems, and possibilities associated with the use of technology, and should have the tools necessary to evaluate and learn new technologies as they become available.

TESTING (70% of Final Grade): This course includes three (3) major examinations, which are non-comprehensive in nature. The three exams consist of written essay and objective (multiple-choice) components.

CLASSROOM ASSESSMENTS (30% of Final Grade): Periodic reading quizzes, group exercises, video presentations, and other techniques assist the student to monitor their learning and success in meeting the course objectives. The lowest assessment grade will be dropped from the student’s average.

BONUS CREDITS: The Instructor is authorized to offer bonus points, up to twelve (12), to add to each major examination. Students are encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities since no other extra credit work will be offered. Bonus credits may be earned by performing community service during the course of the current semester. In addition to the active learning experience, students earn extra-credit points towards their exam grade point average (GPA). There are many government-related activities to choose from. They include, but are not limited to:

POLITICAL PARTICIPATION AND LEADERSHIP Voting (with approved form) = 6 points Attending Political Party Conventions = 6 points Volunteering With A Campaign = 6 points Writing to an Elected or Appointed Official And Receiving a Response (no E-mail) = 6 points TRADITIONAL COMMUNITY SERVICE May be either Career- or Community-Based. For each hour of volunteer service at any of the sites listed on the Approved List students will receive 1½ Bonus Points towards their Exam Average.

ATTENDANCE POLICY: To successfully complete the course requirements, students should expect to attend class regularly. Students are responsible for all materials covered during their absences, and it is the student’s responsibility to consult with the instructor for make-up assignments. Although it is the responsibility of the student to drop a course for any reason, the instructor has the full authority to drop a student for excessive absences.

Class Schedule


1-17 (T) Introduction to Course, Requirements, Syllabus, etc.

1-19 (R) Why Study Government?
Chapter 1 (pages 2-14)

1-24 (T) A Changing America in a Changing World
Chapter 1 (pages 14-27)

1-26 (R) Background to The United States Constitution
Chapter 2 (pages 28-44 and 62-75)

1-31 (T) Background to The United States Constitution
Chapter 2 (pages 28-44 and 62-75)

2-02 (R) Constitutional Principles
Chapter 2 (pages 44-60)

2-07 (T) American Federalism
Chapter 3 (pages 90-103)
2-09 (R) American Federalism
Chapter 3 (pages 103-115)

2-14 (T) First Exam Essay Component

2-16 (R) First Exam Objective Component-Scantron Required


2-21 (T) Context of Texas Civics
Chapter 20 (pages 640-658)

2-23 (R) Context of Texas Civics
Chapter 20 (pages 658-671)

2-28 (T) Constitutionalism in Texas
Chapter 21 (pages 672-685)

3-01 (R) Constitutionalism in Texas
Chapter 21 (pages 686-699)

3-06 (T) Local Governments
Chapter 22 (pages 700-710)

3-08 (R) Local Governments
Chapter 22 (pages 710-727)

3-12 through 3-18: Spring Break

3-20 (T) Second Exam Essay Component

3-22 (R) Second Exam Objective Component-Scantron Required


3-27 (T) Political Socialization and Public Opinion
Chapter 11 (pages 362-375)

3-29 (R) Political Socialization and Public Opinion
Chapter 11 (pages 375-385)

4-03 (T) Political Parties
Chapter 12 (pages 386-399)

4-05 (R) Political Parties
Chapter 12 (pages 400-417)

4-10 (T) Political Parties in Texas
Chapter 26 (pages 836-851)

4-12 (R) Interest Group Politics
Chapter 16 (pages 508-520)

4-17 (T) Interest Group Politics
Chapter 16 (pages 520-533)

4-19 (R) Texas Interest Group Politics
Chapter 26 (pages 851-856)

4-24 (T) Elections in America
Chapter13 (pages 418-429)

4-26 (R) Elections in America
Chapter13 (pages 430-449)

5-01 (T) Presidential Elections
Chapter 14 (pages 450-477)

5-03 (R) Third Exam Scantron Required

5-08 (T) Make Up Exam Date

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