Prerequisite: POLS 1101
Civic participation is
the life blood of our democracy, and knowledge is key to civic
participation. Understanding the Congress is an essential part of any
political and civic education. The objectives of this course are
to 1) acquire an understanding of the Congress; 2) explore the
issues involved in congressional activity from both an analytical
and practical viewpoint; 3) promote the value of open-mindedness
when confronting these issues; and 4) promote a sense of political
efficacy with the practical applications of the knowledge and skills
acquired in class.
The substance of this course consists of
information from several sources.
In class, we will engage in as much discussion and as little
lecture as possible. To that end, you need to do the readings before
their assigned date. Be familiar enough with them to discuss
and answer questions about them. We will also follow current
congressional events to get a “real time” view of the
Congress. Therefore, you must also stay informed of the progress
of these events. We will follow current events as covered in the
News/Politics web site.
For other mutual sources of information (so we
know what each of us is talking about), I suggest reading the
New York Times
or the Washington
Post; listening to
Morning Edition (5-9am) or
All Things Considered (4-6:30pm) on
National Public Radio (WABE-FM,
90.1 in Atlanta or
89.5 in Dahlonega) or watching the
NewsHour with Jim
Lehrer (6-7pm) on
Channel 8 in Atlanta), or
C-SPAN (when appropriate).
Congress also maintains several web sites — for the
Senate, and for
Media sites include
or FOX News’
sites. For these and other relevant sites, see my Government and Politics and Elections
addition to the assigned readings, we will review articles from the
web site each week. You will present and
lead class discussions of the articles. Together, we
will select articles from the web that complement
So in a very real
sense, you will help to shape the content of the course! Of course, you
all are responsible for all of the
assigned articles, text, and any other course materials. In presenting
these articles, I would like each class member to assume a particular
role (e.g., candidates, party strategists, the press, etc.). This will
help us to gain particular insights into the different perspectives on
various electoral issues. A list of
roles appears in the POLS 4110 Role Page.
(see course schedule, below), the class meets
replaces Monday classes:
We will begin new topics and readings after each Wednesday class.
You are required
to post comments on that material to our GeorgiaVIEW discussion site. You are
to post at least one substantive
(1. not just "I liked...", or "I didn't like" or similar words;
2. analytical, not judgmental) to discussion/notes I will post on
GeorgiaVIEW each week and
at least one
substantive original comment.
Treat online discussions as
required readings – you are responsible for, and may be tested on them.
There may be videos to view or other activities assigned as part of
There are two ‘mid-term’ exams
and a final. Each is 15% of your grade. They consist of three essay
questions. A few days before the exam, I will give you a set of
five or six essay questions. On the day of the exam, I will
select 3 of these questions for you to answer. Please do not miss the
exams (you know our schedule now
and so can plan your schedule well ahead). I will not give
makeups unless you 1) notify me or the department in advance (no
exceptions); and 2) verify extreme circumstances in writing.
A research project of 12 (typed,
double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12-point font or smaller) pages
(another 10% of your grade) is due no later than [Date TBA].
The exact format and topics will be discussed in class, but you must
discuss them with me before proceeding. To prepare you for the project,
an annotated bibliography is due by
[Date TBA]. An annotated
outline of your project is due by [Date TBA].
Together, the bibliography and proposal/outline are worth 5% of your
grade. A revision of your project, worth 10% of your
grade, is due in class during the last week (see the
schedule for details). Do not turn in
I accept them (and I may not!), you will lose either 5% or 1 point of
your paper grade (whichever is greater) for each day
late. Your online posts are worth another 10% of your grade. A
presentation of your project during the last two weeks
of class is another 10% of your grade. Another 5% consists of your
web article presentations. Finally, 5% consists of your
participation in and attendance of
While I do not
grade on a curve (You earn
what you earn, and I hope
you all earn “A”s!), the typical class average is around a middle or
upper “C” (Despite the often inflated nature of grading, a “C” is
average — not below average;
and a “B” is above average).
Simply completing the course requirements will most likely earn a “C”
(70-79). A “B” (80-89) requires some demonstration of effort
beyond just the
requirements. An “A” (90-100) requires
extraordinary performance. Two
final notes on attendance: 1. While the
NGCSU attendance policy (see the NGCSU Student Handbook, or the
NGCSU 2011-2012 Bulletin, p. 85-6) applies to this course, and
while I will take
attendance, I’m only interested in your general attendance. I’m only
interested in your general attendance. If you’re only absent once or
twice, don’t worry. If you’re absent a
lot (NGCSU does not
recognize “cuts”), your grade
will suffer (note also: late=absent!); 2. Any class
considered sufficient notice. So, one way or the other,
CHEAT = FAIL.
Cheating or plagiarizing will result in an automatic zero for the exam
or assignment, a zero for participation and attendance, AND forfeiture
of all extra credit. At my discretion, it may ALSO result in academic
integrity charges and an “F” for the course.
Plagiarism in any form is a violation of NGCSU Academic Integrity policies and will not be tolerated:
Students agree that by taking this course all required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the Turnitin.com reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. Use of the Turnitin.com service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.
NGCSU Integrity Code: “I will not lie, cheat, steal, plagiarize, evade the truth or tolerate those that do.”
All students in this class are bound by the above Integrity Code. For information on Academic Integrity as defined by NGCSU, see the NGCSU 2010-2011 Undergraduate Bulletin, p. 91. See also the FAQs page on Turnitin.com.
NGCSU Early Intervention required statement:
As part of NGCSU’s Early Intervention commitment to your academic success, I may refer you to university services designed to help you succeed. Please understand that such referrals are not a form of punishment – they are intended to help you. In turn, I expect you to take advantage of the offer.
Information Literacy (IL): Our class project addresses
IL Outcomes #1-4. Using turnitin.com meets #5.