Carnahan Hall Russell Renka
|Renka's Home Page, in the
Department of Political Science, Philosophy and Religion
º Online Applications in OIS:
Utest - Exams and Quizzes
º Southeast Portal and My Southeast
º ITV, Southeast Missouri State University
Essay 4 - due by noon Monday, August 10, at Drop Box Essay 4 site
| º Center for Study of Teaching and Learning|
º Learning Assistance - Learning Enrichment Center
º Writing Assistance - Online Writing Lab
º Kent Library Homepage
º Local voting: Cape Girardeau County - Election Info; also Missouri - Voting In College
º Renka, Madison and Federalism
º Renka, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Public Opinion Polls
U.S. Political Systems
Section 03 - TWRF 9:30-10:45 a.m., Carnahan 202
Section 759 et al. - TR 2:00-4:50 p.m., Sikeston Room 117 and ITV
Summer 2009, Regular Session
Professor Russell Renka
|PS103 - U.S. Political Systems||Professor Russell D. Renka|
|Summer 2009 - Southeast Missouri State University||Campus Office: Carnahan 211L; Mail Stop 2920|
Section 03 - TWRF 9:30-10:45 a.m., Carnahan 202
Section 759 et al. - TR 2:00-4:50 p.m., Sikeston Room 117 and ITV to Perryville, Kennett and Malden
|Office Hours: TWRF 8:30-9:15 a.m. in Carnahan 211L; Sikeston - TR before and after class|
|Syllabus Website: PS103 Syllabus - Summer 2009 at cstl-cla.semo.edu/renka/ps103/Summer2009/index.htm||Office Telephone: (573) 651-2692|
|Renka's Home Page: cstl-cla.semo.edu/renka/; found via "renka" at Google www.google.com||Office FAX: (573) 651-2695|
|Professor Renka's e-mail: email@example.com||Department Telephone: (573) 651-2183|
° Course Textbook and Readings
° Course Requirements and Credits
° Source Citations and Source Locations
° What is Expected of You
° How to Reach Me
° Weekly Readings and Examination Itinerary
Introduction Next down; Top
This course addresses government and politics of the United States and its states, including the State of Missouri. Governments have special authority granted to no other organizations--the power to make laws and regulations and to enforce them, and to collect taxes from all of us. Government is a nearly universal way human beings regulate themselves and their fellows. Included here is coverage of our federal and state constitutions which provide the sovereign authority for these governments to exist and exercise powers over us. The course fulfills the Political Systems requirement of the University Studies Program.
Politics is the study of the uses of power in pursuit of public objectives. It's amenable to scientific treatment, and I'm a political scientist. You must learn some politics to truly understand government. We'll go beyond dry formalities of government structure and functions such as "how a bill becomes law" (seen in every textbook). Politics explains why one bill becomes law and a host of fellows fall short. For example, a Republican 104th Congress passed a minimum wage increase in 1996 despite the traditional Republican disdain of such measures and the ardent hostility of many Members of Congress toward it; but politics can explain why and how this happened.
This is also a civics course. Wikipedia acceptably defines civics as "education in the obligations and the rights of the citizen under (some political or ethical tradition such as the American one)." Not every student wants a dose of this, but it's good medicine. Many Americans in 2006 dislike politics, politicians, and government. But it's a democracy, it affects you, and you have no way out of that. Effective citizenship in democracy is a worthy personal goal. It requires real knowledge of both government and politics.
This course is taught at three levels. Some material is basic description, such as an outline of the trimester system set forth in the Supreme Court's highly controversial Roe v. Wade abortion decision, or a specification of what the First Amendment says about freedom of speech. Some is analytic; once you know basics, you can interpret whether the distinction in law of first and second trimesters makes sense based on what we know from medical research, or whether public tobacco advertising should be classified as commercial speech. And ultimately you confront the evaluative or judgmental; you ultimately decide what if anything to accept in Roe v. Wade or in tobacco advertising. All have the objective of enabling you to understand what you read or hear in the public realm, and to react as an informed consumer and citizen. Essay portions of exams are designed to let you show knowledge at each of these levels.
This course emphasizes two core University Studies Program Objectives. First is effective citizenship. The course should enhance your ability to be an informed participant and knowledgeable consumer. This does not mean I promote an automatic acceptance of the American status quo; quite the contrary, blind acceptance is a fool's path. The second, equally important objective is to master locating and gathering information. Few things are more confusing to the average American than to figure out sources of the myriad effects our government has upon our lives. Website access is a great help, but one must still learn navigation and acquisition skills. Some assignments are therefore designed to ensure that you become conversant in web usage beyond the simple use of search terms in your favorite search engine.
I'd love to remedy the woeful lack of scientific literacy among the American citizenry. I cannot fix the fact that 1 in 6 Americans can be defined as scientifically literate, but I can help you to avoid some effects of that. Some assignments are aimed directly at this objective, as you'll see. I am a practicing skeptic on the many specious informational claims emanating from AM Talk Radio, from conspiracy theorists, and from self-appointed political experts; the reason is that many don't know what they're talking about.
Course Textbook and Readings: Next Down; Top
Textbook: Patterson, Thomas E. 2008. The American Democracy, 8th ed. New York: McGraw Hill. This is issued by Textbook Service. See Self Study (from The American Democracy Companion Website) with chapter summary, flash cards, glossary, and self-tests. I recommend you regularly do these Multiple Choice quizzes to stay current with the reading.
Other readings are specified in the Weekly Readings and Examination Itinerary below.
Web Reference Sources: Paul M. Johnson's website has fundamental terminology used widely in political science, economics, and policy analysis classes, at A Glossary of Political Economy Terms.
Course Requirements and Credits Next down; Top
Examinations: Each two-week section is capped by a two part examination worth 200 points. Each exam has two sections, multiple-choice, and essay, worth 100 points each. The fourth examination covers Weeks 7 and 8 only, so there is no comprehensive final exam. The material to be covered is shown below in the Itinerary. You can follow all this via Gradebook.
The multiple choice questions cover all readings, classroom materials, and other materials we may address during that four-week period. These questions combine the basic and the analytic, but largely bypass the judgmental (although some will require you to recognize an opinion of a writer or your instructor on an issue raised in class and/or readings). On the proportion of questions taken directly from reading, v. those taken from lecture: both are important, and single items often blend both. All these exams are conducted via Utest and then transferred to the Gradebook. I don't administer the exams in class, so ITV is not a problem. After deadline for the exam is done, you'll get Utest feedback to show right and wrong answers. Net Value: 100 points per exam, 400 points in all.
The essays cover the same materials we cover in the multiple choice exams, except of course that the Topics are necessarily defined around broader thematic questions and issues. These are posted to Drop Box, where I write comments, assign a grade, and post that on the Gradebook. I make Essay 4 optional where you can decide to do it if you believe it'll help your course grade average (which you'll see via Gradebook). Net Value: 100 points per exam, 300 (without Essay 4) or 400 points (with Essay 4).
Polling Assignment: The Itinerary shows a polling assignment in our
third week, worth 50 points. I'll spell that out in class when we get
there. The value for successful completion of this assignment is
50 points out of 50 possible.
Forum: Forum is a discussion site for material pertinent to this class. This Forum covers material from class on which I make a post and request that you respond to it. It's for addressing what the lecture and readings are about, and for exam preparation. And there are current events on matters related to this class. You get credit for meaningful responses, not for cursory or "me too" statements, at 6 points per post. Once at 16, it's worth a max 100 points. I add these to numerator and denominator of the course average; so it's minor help to A students and major help to C students. Value: 0 to 100 points, depending on number and quality of posts
In summary, we get:
Examinations - multiple choice sections 400 points (100 per exam)
Essay 400 points (100 per essay, including optional Essay 4)
Polling Assignment 50 points
Forum 100 points
All assignments: 850 points (with optional Essay 4) or 750 (without Essay 4)
Grades: Gradebook posts interim grades and the eventual course grade, to let you keep up with your assignments and grades.
Source Citations and Source Locations Next down; Top
Kent Library has a Citing Sources tutorial. The core rule is to cite so any reader can easily track down your sources. So give full citation to all sources, including names of all authors, the book/article/website file name or name and position of an interviewee, and all publication information (publisher's location, publisher's name, year of pub, volume and issue of journal, URL of a website plus date of its access). If you got specific information from one page of a 600-page tome, cite that page so they can avoid poring through 599 superfluous pages. Simple.
Essay writing in PS103 means using and citing sources. Use the APA style unless you're familiar with and skilled in a different method such as MLA. Whenever you cite a website source, don't put the URL in the paper's text. Instead, put the website's authors (if any) and filename (the self-assigned file's title) in the text. Then in Works Cited at conclusion, put full reference in, including the URL and date of access. As a time-saver, whenever you use class readings as sources, you can copy the formal citation straight from this syllabus Itinerary and paste it to your paper.
For assistance with writing, go to The Writing Lab in Kent Library 412. Or use the Center's OWL, Online Writing Lab. It includes Tutorials on Writing with Sources and on avoidance of plagiarism. For PS103 paper links in APA style, go directly to Poly-Cy Guide to Internet Resources for Political Science - Style and Web Site Citation Guides.
Elsewhere, Kent Library's Web Searching Tools has links to many databases. On American government and politics, University of Michigan Documents Center includes Federal Government Resources on the Web. Federal government navigation is assisted by using FirstGov.gov The U.S. Government's Official Web Portal. On state government, The Council on State Governments is a good starting point.
What is Expected of You: Next down; Top
Attendance: Attend every class. We start on time and finish on time too. There's online notes highlighting things I think are important, and they are useful for your essay assignments. But these are not class notes. I don't have any of those, so you must produce your own. If you must miss a class, I recommend that you partner with a reliable classmate to acquire notes. I reserve the right and pleasure to include class material, including impromptu discussion items, on our exams.
Cheating: I had a certain nasty little cheater in 2003, haven't forgotten that, and have since studied some methods for catching and docking offenders. If a student cheats on an assignment, it's an automatic zero grade on that work. If there's evidence of cheating on more than one assignment, it's a zero on each affected assignment. Once I have documented evidence of cheating, then I first confront the offender to elicit an explanation of the behavior, after which I file a report with the Department chairperson. If I catch the evidence post hoc and cannot confront the offender, I proceed directly to that report. If I have my druthers, this will be unnecessary.
Plagiarism (the most common form of cheating): Plagiarism is a chronic plague of universities. It refers to someone taking the work of others and passing it off as his or her own. It can be as simple as taking a quotation and failing to show it properly, to lifting an entire piece verbatim and pasting it to one's own paper or exam. The common element of this noxious practice is always the same, namely that of falsely claiming for oneself that which another person has created. In the commercial world, plagiarism brings lawsuits for copyright violation. In the academic world, it brings verdicts of moral and academic failure on the offender. See Professor Hamner Hill's Policy on Plagiarism.
The most commonplace web plagiarism is copy-and-paste from unspecified websites onto papers, followed sometimes by penning some cursory word changes. I know these critters when I smell them, and it's not hard to follow the scent back to its source. I do that. I'm familiar with search protocols. Also, don't write any your paper by copying that of a classmate. Two starkly similar papers will mean no grade for either one. Another commonplace problem is using exact or almost exact text wording without enclosing that in quotations. Don't do that either. Any time you use text words directly, enclose them in quotes and cite the source.
Judicial Affairs - Statement of Student Rights and Code of Student Conduct deals with academic honesty. The Faculty Handbook's Policy on Academic Honesty pointedly reminds that you must do your papers in your own words. You may always invoke a source for assistance, but you may not copy or virtually copy their sentences to your paper UNLESS you cite that source and then enclose its wording in quotes. This, by the way, includes the textbook itself. Look at how they do source citations in the chapters. That includes websites. Websites have authors, filenames (titles), and URLs. When you use one, cite all those things, alongside the access date of that file.
If the plagiarism is intentional, I report that as a violation of the University's academic integrity policy while assigning that paper or exam an irreversible grade of zero. If it is not, I return the paper without a grade to its creator for immediate and thorough correction; once corrected, then I grade the paper while making sure the plagiarism has disappeared. After one such occasion, I will assume you know how to avoid this.
On electronic devices: Cell phones may attend ONLY when silenced. Should one somehow ring anyway, silence it immediately and avoid any repeat. If you must be on phone alert, tell me at start of class, use vibrate mode only, and depart class if it calls you. If a cell phone disobeys these rules, it's gone for good.
And on texting: just say no (Texting
May Be Taking a Toll - NYTimes.com, 5.26.2009). More precisely, finish
your texts before class starts, and don't resume till afterward. There's two reasons
for this. 1) Nobody pays attention to class when tweeting and sending love messages to
friends and lovers. Automobile drivers are dangerous when a cell phone is attached to
one hand and ear, because they pay no damned attention to other drivers.
They endanger themselves, too. Once I saw a young woman on Montreal's principal commercial street (Rue Sainte-Catherine) clicking a cell phone number while riding a bicycle
amidst rush hour traffic!
That was in 2005, so she's probably deceased by now. 2) As for the second
reason, texting is outright rude when somebody's up front talking. I had a student oral presenter watch a fellow
student who was texting during her presentation. You can imagine how that
felt; and I don't have to. I already know.
With an ITV class, texting also interferes with your microphone. Tweeters are not safe drivers in class or out.
Laptop computers are welcome in class for note taking, and so are tape recorders. Music devices aren't, as I've never met someone into music who also was into class proceedings (even in music class). Use your laptop only for note taking, not for texting, tweeting, or otherwise wasting time.
On guns: Real guns may not attend any of my classes. The Missouri General Assembly passed a "concealed carry" gun statute in 2003 but didn't bother to say when and where it's permissible to pack heat. So I was obliged to write my own law. It's a simple one: no firearms of any kind are permitted in any of my classes, or in my office, under any circumstances. Should there be a violation, I will not confront the offender. Instead I will contact the university's legal authorities and have them press action to ensure that the offender may not continue this practice. There are no exceptions to this rule unless the student is: a) a law enforcement authority authorized to carry a gun in the normal performance of duties, and b) this student gets my advance clearance to carry in class. Note: None of this refers to minor weapons such as Swiss Army knives, Gerber tools, box cutters, nail files, or the like. I refer to guns.
Emergencies: In adverse weather approaching Carnahan 202 or Sikeston 117, we'll be online to see Radar Images - KFVS12 and Heartland News Web Site. If a May 8-type derecho storm gets within earshot, we hasten to the south wall of the basement floor of Carnahan, away from the Foyer windows and doors. I'll add Sikeston when I see its layout; it should be the bottom floor west wall away from windows. Twisters usually go southwest-to-northeast in direction. Know why? If not, look up Coriolis effect.
If a shooter is in the building's hall, then we barricade the classroom door with the heavy podium plus chairs; stay out of view of the door's window; and you guys immediately call DPS at their cell number (573) 651-2911 while citing our classroom locale (Carnahan 202, or Sikeston 117). If a shooter is outside acting as a sniper, we stay inside and out of sight of the exterior windows.
In case of fire, we exit the building promptly but without panic. We physically assist any mobility-limited person to get out quickly with the rest of us. We avoid elevators, of course; and we stay low to the floor in case of smoke. Other stuff: the Southeast Emergency Plan website is www5.semo.edu/dps/EmergencyPlan.asp.
Services and Special Needs: Just advise me directly if you have specific difficulties that I can help you handle. The Learning Enrichment Center offers special services for those with learning or other disabilities.
How to Reach Me: Next down; Top
I have an open door policy, and can very often be found at or near my office computer
at Carnahan 211-L; it's in a suite of offices immediately next to Carnahan 202.
You can reach me any of the following ways:
a) At Google, write "renka" and find Renka's Home Page (URL: cstl-cla.semo.edu/renka/index.htm) for details on me and my courses, including this syllabus. Then:
b) E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org; but don't submit papers here. The Drop Box is for that purpose. Or:
c) Leave a message at my Department mailbox or with the Department office in Carnahan 211.
d) Leave a message at the mail drop outside my door at Carnahan 211-L.
e) Leave a voice mail message at my office telephone number, (573) 651-2692; or if I am home, call (573)334-0039.
PS103 Weekly Readings and Examination Itinerary--Professor Renka - Summer 2009 Top
Academic Calendar - Summer 2009
Week 1a - June 16-17 Politics,
Democracy, and Government
º Patterson Chapter 1 - American Political Culture
º The Declaration of Independence - textbook Appendix 1, or on-line: National Archives - Declaration of Independence
º on-line reading: America During the Age of Revolution, 1776-1789
º Missouri tax increase raising ire in Kansas - AP story by David A. Lieb, Monday, 20 August 2007
Week 1a Notes - Why Do We Have Government?
Week 1b - June 18-19 A Constitutional
º Patterson Chapter 2 - Constitutional Democracy
º The Constitution of the United States - Patterson Appendix, pp. A5-A16, or Constitution of the United States
º Roger A. Bruns, A More Perfect Union: The Creation of the U.S. Constitution at http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_history.html
º James Madison, Federalist No. 10 in Patterson A-17 to A-20, or www.constitution.org/fed/federa10.htm
Week 1b Notes - Creation of the U.S. Constitution
Week 2a - June 23-24 Federalism and
the American States; U.S. and State
of Missouri Constitutions
º Patterson Chapter 3 - Federalism
º Patterson Chapter 18 - State and Local Politics
º James Madison, The Federalist No. 51 in Patterson A-21 to A-23 or www.constitution.org/fed/federa51.htm
º Russell D. Renka, Madison and Federalism
Week 2a Notes - American Federalism
Week 2b - June 25-26 Civil Liberties **
º Patterson Chapter 4 - Civil Liberties
º Future of the First Amendment - Key Findings (poll from Knight Foundation’s High School Initiative)
Week 2b Notes - Civil Liberties As A National Concern
Note: Saturday, June 27, is the last date to withdraw or drop classes with partial refund, per Southeast's Academic Calendar - Summer 2009.
** Friday, June 26 (6:00 p.m.) to Monday, June 29 (before midnight) ** Examination 1 (multiple choice) is on
under an "Examination 1" subheading. You'll have 90 minutes and 1 take to do this test, which
covers all readings including Renka notes.
Initially you will get only a grade for feedback, but once the Exam period ends,
complete feedback from Utest
plus a posted grade on your
Before doing Exam 1 I recommend you prepare in two ways. One is to take advantage of textbook multiple choice exams, at Self Study from The American Democracy Companion Website for Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4 and 18. Then do the Sample Test 2 at Utest. It's open from June 22 through 26 (week 2 of the semester). It has just 5 questions with 9 minutes to do them, comparable to the 50-plus questions in 90 minutes on Exam 1. Those 5 items are from the real test, so they'll authentically show you what you'll see with Exam 1.
You should have close at hand your Patterson text, and the Renka notes from Weeks 1 and 2. Go somewhere quiet, and budget up to 90 minutes in case you need it.
Essay 1 is due by or before midnight on Sunday, June 28, at the Drop Box under "Essay 1" heading. I will write a critique and grade there as well, and the grade will be posted on your Gradebook.
Week 3a - June 30-July 1 Equal Rights
º Patterson Chapter 5 - Equal Rights
º Ronald L. F. Davis, The History of Jim Crow at www.jimcrowhistory.org/history/overview.htm
Week 3a Notes - Civil Rights As a Growth Industry
Week 3b - Thursday, July 2 and Monday, July 6
Public Opinion and Polling
Note: No PS103-03 class is held on Friday, July 3. We make up that class on Monday, July 6. (PS103-759 is not affected.)
º Patterson Chapter 6 - Public Opinion and Political Socialization
º Russell D. Renka, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Public Opinion Polls
º supplement to Patterson 6, p. 172 - subtle bias in polls: USCCB - (Office of Media Relations) - New Poll Americans Continue To Oppose Funding Stem Cell Research That Destroys Human Embryos v. Polling Report's Science and Nature section on Stem cell research
** Polling Assignment is due by (time pending), at the Drop Box under "Polling Assignment" heading. This is worth 50 points out of 50 if done correctly. More details to follow.
Week 4a - July 7-8 Political Participation and Voting
º Patterson Chapter 7 - Political Participation and Voting
º Michael McDonald, United States Election Project: Voter Turnout for 1948-2008 (with VEP and VAP); details on 2008: Voter Turnout 2008 General Election
Week 4a Notes - Voters and Nonvoters
Week 4b - July 9-10 Political Parties and Elections
º Patterson Chapter 8 - Political Parties, Candidates, and Campaigns
º maps - President Map - Election Results 2008 - The New York Times (with comparisons dating from 1992 election)
º Pew Center's Trends in Political Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2007 at people-press.org/reports/pdf/312.pdf - Sections 1 & 2, pp. 7-18 (on parties, and size of government)
Week 4b Notes - The Two-Party System in America
** Friday, July 10 (6:00 p.m.) to Monday, July 13 (before midnight) ** Examination 2 (56-item multiple choice) is on Utest under an "Examination 2" subheading. You'll have 90 minutes and 1 take to do this test, which covers all readings including Renka notes. Initially you will get only a grade for feedback, but once the Exam period ends, you'll get complete feedback from Utest plus a posted grade on your Gradebook.
Essay 2 is due by Monday night, July 13 at the Drop Box Essay 2 site.
Week 5a - July 14-15 The National Elections of 2000 to
º Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections - 2000 and 2004 and 2008 presidential election results
º Russell D. Renka, The Election of 2004 and Presidential Election Maps, by County
º Missouri bellwether - Wikipedia
Week 5b - July 16-17 the News Media; Interest
º Patterson Chapter 10 - The News Media
Week 5a Notes - Political Bias in the News Media
º Patterson Chapter 9 - Interest Groups
Week 5b Notes - Interest Groups and Free Riders
Week 6a - July 21-22 The U.S.
º Patterson Chapter 11 - Congress, to p. 317
º data site: Psephos - Adam Carr's Election Archive - 2008 U.S. House Congressional Districts, by state
º data sites: thirty-thousand.org - Reelection Rates of Incumbents in the U. S. House, and Duration of Representatives’ Incumbency in the U. S. House; both cover 1st through 110th Congresses of 1789 through 2008
Week 6a Notes - The Incumbency Advantage in the U.S. Congress
Week 6b - July 23-24 The U.S. Congress
º Patterson Chapter 11 - Congress, from p. 317
º Russell D. Renka, Presidents and Congresses
º data site: Keith Poole, The Ideological Structure of Congressional Voting, 1927-2000 (still shots of each Congress); and Keith Poole's NOMINATE Roll Call Data, 1st to 109th Congresses
Week 6b Notes - The U.S. Congress At Work
Essay 3 is due by Monday
night, July 27 at the Drop Box
Essay 3 site.
** Friday, July 24 through Monday, July 27 - Exam no. 3 (90 minutes, at Utest) is held.
Note: Friday, July 24, is the last day to drop class without a failing grade, per Master Calendar.
Week 7a - July 28-29 The Presidency
° Patterson Chapter 12 - The Presidency
° Renka, Presidential Elections through 2008
° Professor Renka's Presidential Election Maps, by County
° Renka on succession in the modern presidency (Timeline of Modern Presidents)
Week 7a Notes - The Election of Presidents
Week 7b - July 30-31 The Presidency
° Renka, Party Control of the Presidency and Congress, 1933-2010
° Gallup Poll, Obama Honeymoon Continues; 7 Months Is Recent Average
° Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist No. 70 - "The Executive Department Further Considered"
° Renka on succession in the modern presidency (Timeline of Modern Presidents) - conclusion
Week 7b Notes - Powers of the Modern Presidency
Week 8a - August 4-5 War,
Peace, and Diplomacy of a Superpower
° Patterson Chapter 17 - Foreign and Defense Policy (sorry, no Renka notes on this one; but it's a good chapter)
Week 8b - August 6-7 The Federal Judiciary
° Patterson Chapter 14 - The Federal Judicial System
Week 8b Notes - The Judiciary as a Lightning Rod
Essay 4 - due by noon Monday, August 10, at Drop Box Essay 4 site
Exam no. 4 (90 minutes, at Utest) is
open from Thursday, August 6 at 5:00 p.m. until Monday, August 10, at 12 noon. This exam
only covers material postdating Exam 3, from Weeks 7 and 8 shown above. It is not comprehensive.
Please note that I must file final grades by 8 p.m. on Monday the 10th, so
be sure you're done with Exam 4 by or before Monday
at 12 noon. Also, those in Sikeston and elsewhere outside Cape must return
textbooks by or before Monday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.
Copyright©2009, Russell D. Renka
October 13, 2009 03:20 PM