Political Science 4333

                                   Presidential Leadership in Domestic Policy Making

                                                              Fall Semester 2003

                                                              102 University Hall

                                                         T/Th, 11:00am - 12:20pm


Instructor:         Dr. Rebecca E. Deen

Office:              406 University Hall

Phone:              272-3544 or 272- 2991

email:                deen@uta.edu

Office Hours:    Monday and Wednesday 10:00am to 11:00am and Tuesdays 3:30 to 4:30.  If these hours are not convenient, I will be happy to schedule an appointment with you.




This is a course about the president, about leadership and about domestic policy making.  Every four years, the American electorate goes to the polls to choose someone they believe will be a leader, someone who will be able to achieve his policy objectives.  This course is going to explore how presidents do and do not fulfill these expectations.  What skills and resources are necessary for the president to be able to fulfill his domestic policy agenda?  What makes a president an effective leader in the institutional context of the Executive Branch?  Are there areas in which the president is more likely to be successful than in others?  These are just some of the questions we will be asking.


We will begin the course by thinking about leadership.  This term is used a great deal in our political culture.  However, to employ it usefully in our study, we must first come to an understanding of what exactly a leader is.  Thus, we will learn about different theories of leadership, as well as various characteristics of effective leaders.


From there we turn to the policy making process.  After a brief primer on the different stages of policy development, we will turn to the president’s policy agenda.  We will discuss this briefly as a way to set the stage for examining several instances of presidential leadership in domestic policy.  Though policy formulation and the president’s interaction with Congress is one of the more visible components of policy making, his leadership role includes managing implementation (with the bureaucracy, as well as with the judiciary).


We will spend the remainder of the semester applying these theories of presidential leadership and of policy making.  You will have the opportunity to test these theories with real-world examples of presidents trying to make policy.  We will examine specific presidential administrations from Kennedy to Reagan for examples of presidential leadership in a variety of domestic policy areas. You will have an opportunity to conduct your own research of presidential domestic policy making from one of the following administrations: Bush; Clinton; G.W. Bush.


By the end of this term, students should:

·        have a good, comprehensive understanding of the role the president plays in domestic policy making

·        be able to apply the knowledge they have gained to contemporary presidential politics

·        have a sense of how political science examines the Presidency, including what kinds of data and techniques are useful to answer substantively and analytically interesting questions.

·        be able to evaluate the utility of particular theories of politics.


Student Responsibilities

Attendance and Participation     Daily attendance will not be recorded, however, I expect you to attend all classes. Students should come to class having read and thought about the material.  People who don’t attend class typically do very poorly on the exams.  Exam questions draw heavily on lecture material and in-class discussion.  Some material may only be available by coming to class.  Students miss class at their own risk.  Should you find occasion to be absent, I will be happy to discuss the material once you have obtained class notes from another student.


Communicating your thoughts to others is an important component of learning and thus participation will be an important part of this course.  Participation means not only responding to questions, but also asking questions inside and outside of class.  Coming to office hours, emailing me and staying after class all count as participation.  People who participate typically perform better on other assignments than those who do not.


Reading responsibilities  There is a substantial amount of reading and I expect you to do the assigned reading.  Students who come to class having read and thought about the materials will find excelling in the exams and the paper much easier than will students who are not prepared.  Not surprisingly, these are the components of the final grade.  Also, class participation is difficult when one has not read. 


While we will discuss as much of the reading assignments as possible, students should know that some assignments will not receive as much deliberation as others.  Thus, students will need to think about and perhaps re-read some materials in preparation for class assignments.


Reading the material and making every effort to understand it is so important that when this does not happen (i.e. when it is obvious that people have not read), difficult questions from that material will appear on the exam!  Reading, not understanding and asking questions in class is OK.


The required texts for this course are:




There is also a packet of readings that will be available at Bird’s Copies, 208 S. East Street (817-459-1688).  A few additional readings may be assigned; this will be announced in class.


Throughout the semester, we will be talking about the current administration.  Students will be expected to keep abreast of these developments by reading a national newspaper (e.g. The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, etc.) a couple of times each week.  There are also many on-line options for staying informed.  These are good for general news, as well as research sources.  A few personal favorites:


New York Times:                                 http://www.nytimes.com

Presidential Resources                          http://sunsite.unc.edu/lia/president/

The White House                                  http://www.whitehouse.gov

CNN:                                                   http://www.cnn.com/


The White House page is good for links to other government sites.


Research paper

You will be required to write a research paper, applying what you have learned.  The paper will be due November 25.  Late papers will not be accepted without my prior approval.  The format and specific details will be discussed in class.


Assignments and Grading

The final grade will consist of the following components:

Exam 1 15%

Exam 2 20%

Final Exam.............................. 25%

Research paper....................... 25%

Class participation................... 15%

Total                                        ____


Letter grades will be assigned on the following scale:

%                                                        Grade

90 +                                                     A

80-89                                                   B

70-79                                                   C

60-69                                                   D

fewer than 60 points                                         F


Extra credit will be given for examples of the President in action.  One of the most important aspects of this course is to apply what we study to the world around us.  Because this course covers the major activities of a President, examples abound of the material we cover in class.  Paying attention to and thinking about how a President behaves is so important that I will grant one percentage point per example (up to 3 points); the points are added directly to the final course average.  These examples can be newspapers clippings, editorials, magazine articles, written summaries of TV or radio news coverage, even editorial cartoons.  To receive credit, students must explain in writing how the example applies to the course.   This should take approximately 1 typed page.


Class Policies

No makeup will be scheduled for the exams or the final except for medical reasons or extreme circumstances.  Instructor must be notified in advance of the exam to schedule such a make-up.  Written documentation of the extreme circumstance may be required.


Late assignments

Assignments are due at the beginning of class the day indicated, unless otherwise notified by the instructor. 


Late assignments will be accepted for one week after they are due, however, late papers will be penalized 5% of the total points, per business day they are late.



No incompletes will be given unless you provide a signed doctor’s statement indicating you are too ill to complete the course.


Academic Dishonesty

"Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, taking an examination for another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts." (Regents' Rules and Regulations, Part One, Chapter VI, Section 3, Subsection 3.2., Subdivision 3.22)


Anyone caught cheating or aiding someone in cheating will be dealt with according to University policy.  Information on academic regulations can be found at http://www-ais2.uta.edu/cat/Acadreg.shtml.


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

As a faculty member, I am required by law to provide “reasonable accommodation” to students with disabilities.  I am happy to provide such accommodations.  Students have the responsibility to inform me at the beginning of the semester and to provide authorized documentation through designated administrative channels.                    

Student Success

The University asks that you be told that, “The University of Texas at Arlington supports a variety of student success programs to help you connect with the University and achieve academic success.  They include learning assistance, developmental education, advising and mentoring, admission and transition, and federally funded programs.  Students requiring assistance academically, personally, or socially should contact the Office of Student Success Programs at 817-272-6107 for more information and appropriate referrals.”


Course Schedule

Every attempt will be made to keep to this plan.  Adjustments may need to be made, however, and will be announced in class.  Coming to class will ensure that you know about such changes.  The academic calendar for the University can be found at http://www.uta.edu/uta/acadcal/fall


Chapter numbers and/or page numbers are in parentheses following the authors.


The following readings should be used as background for the research paper: Light (11, 12), Warshaw (6, 7).


Presidential Leadership


August 26 - 28             Introduction to presidential leadership

Kellerman (preface,1,3)


September 2 - 4           Sources of leadership

Kellerman (2); Neustadt in reading packet


September 9 - 11         Kinds of leadership

Kellerman (2,4); Neustadt in reading packet


September 16 - 18       Personal characteristics of leadership

Kellerman (5); Renshon and Greenstein in reading packet



September 23               EXAM 1


White House Organization and the President’s Agenda


September 25               White House Organization & Forming the agenda

Warshaw (preface, 1); Light (Intro, 1)


September 30               Agenda Issues

            Light (2, 3, 4)


October 2                    Agenda Alternatives

            Light (5,6)


October 7 - 9               Modeling the Agenda Process

            Light (7, 8, 9)


October 14                  EXAM 2


October 16 – 21          Kennedy

Kellerman (6)


October 23 - 28           Johnson

 Kellerman (7)


October 30 -

November 4                 Nixon

Kellerman (8), Warshaw (2)


November 6 - 11         Ford

Kellerman (9), Warshaw (3)


November 13 - 18       Carter

Kellerman (10), Warshaw (4)


November 20 - 25       Reagan

Kellerman (11), Light (10), Warshaw (5)


                                                Reminder: Paper due November 25


November 27                           No Class – Thanksgiving


December 2 – 4           TBA



December 9, 11:00am to 1:30pm, Final Exam