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Royce City Syllabus

Government 2305 Syllabus
Royce City 
American Government
Fall 2016
David Larkin, Instructor


Course Description: Government 2305 is a survey of the origin and development of the U.S. Constitution, structure and powers of the national government including the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, federalism, political participation, the national election process, public policy, civil liberties and civil rights.


Required Core Objectives:

Critical Thinking Skills – to include creative thinking, innovation, inquiry, and analysis, evaluation and synthesis of information

Communication Skills – to include effective development, interpretation and expression of ideas through written, oral and visual communication

Personal Responsibility – to include the ability to connect choices, actions and consequences to ethical decision-making

Social Responsibility – to include intercultural competence, knowledge of civic responsibility, and the ability to engage effectively in regional, national, and global communities


Course Student Learner Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of GOVT 2305, the student will:

1.      Explain the origin and development of constitutional democracy in the United States

2.      Demonstrate knowledge of the federal system

3.      Describe separation of powers and checks and balances in theory and practice

4.      Demonstrate knowledge of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government

5.      Evaluate the role of public opinion, interest groups, and political parties in the political system

6.      Describe the rights and responsibilities of citizens

7.      Analyze issues and policies in U.S. politics

The student will be expected to demonstrate competence in the course by achieving at least a passing average on tests.


Course Requirements/Format: The instructor utilizes a lecture format and will complement the text with additional materials. Students are provided the opportunity to discuss the readings in class and your participation is expected. Since we will be covering a large amount of material in this course, your active participation is necessary for success. Therefore, you will need to read the selected chapters and any supplemental materials indicated by the instructor before class. Our text is American Government: Roots and Reform. 12th edition; 2014 Elections and Updates Edition. By Karen O’Connor and Larry J. Sabato. ISBN 9780134138473.


Units and corresponding chapters for this course are:


Unit I – American Government: Roots, Context, and Culture; The Constitution; The Federal System; Civil Liberties
            Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4


Unit II – Civil Rights; Congress; The Presidency; The Executive Branch and the Federal Bureaucracy
            Chapters 5, 6, 7, 8


Unit III – The Judiciary; Public Opinion and Political Socialization; Political Parties; Elections and Voting 
            Chapters 9, 10, 11, 12


Unit IV – The News Media; Interest Groups; Domestic Policy; Foreign and Defense Policy 
            Chapters 14, 15, 16, 18


Grading Policy: There will be two outside class papers (100 pts/ paper); one outside class assignment (25 pts.); attendance (70 pts.); four exams 100 pts./ exam); and eight in class assignments. The final average for the course will be determined by adding these points together for a total of 815.


To receive an “A” you must have 733 – 815 points

To receive a   “B” you must have 652 – 732 points

To receive a   “C” you must have 570 – 651 points

To receive a   “D” you must have 489 – 569 points

To receive a   “F” you must have     0 – 488 points


Four exams                  49%

Outside papers                        24%

In-class assignments    15%

Outside assignment       3%

Attendance                   9%


Use the Gradebook app in Blackboard to see your individual grades on assignments, exams, attendance, etc. Please note that Blackboard will list 72 as your total on attendance. Since this is a cumulative total, do not be alarmed when your attendance grade is 16 out of 72 three weeks into the semester.


If you are late in turning in at least one assignment; or if you do not turn in at least one assignment, do not expect or ask for the instructor to help you out by curving your final grade for this class.


Testing Policy: Exams will consist of forty-five multiple choice questions worth two points per question with one essay worth ten points. Each exam will also have a second essay question worth up to an additional ten points. These “bonus” essays will be the only extra points given in this class. Exams are not cumulative. Tests will be conducted using scantrons, which you may purchase at the bookstore. The instructor will make a study guide available before each exam. Study guides are a general listing of the terms which may be on the exam. They ARE NOT a listing of specifics for what will be on the exam! Exams are to be taken at the time scheduled. Test dates are announced in the syllabus and it is the responsibility of the student not to miss these exam dates. In case of emergency, you may take ONE make-up exam. Make-up exams will ONLY be given during my office hours which are listed here in the syllabus. Your scantrons will be returned will be returned with your exam grade, plus all exam grades will be posted on Blackboard.


 Assignments: There is one assignment listed for this class: “United States Government Officials”. Also, there are two papers listed for this class: “Political Ideology Quiz” and “Political Party Assignment.”  These are due in Blackboard no later than the date listed in the syllabus. These assignments may be turned in early. All three assignments are posted on Blackboard. Check the instructions listed under the assignment in Blackboard for length requirements.  ANY assignments submitted after their due date will receive a deduction of ten points (regardless of reason) if they are turned in before the next class period. Any assignments turned in later than the next class period will receive a deduction of 15 points on the United States Government Officials, and a deduction of 75 points on the other two papers. You are expected to do your own work on these assignments. Any assignments that are copied directly from the text, ANY source on the Internet, or copied from another student will receive zero credit for the assignment, and could per the PJC student handbook receive an “F” for the class. If an assignment is copied from another student, both students will receive zero credit for the assignment. NOTE: the computer system is very good at checking/catching information copied from another student or source including those located on the Internet. When you submit your assignment in Blackboard, it tells you what percent is identical to information from other sources. If your percentage is over 50%, there is a problem with what you are submitting.


United States Government Officials Assignment: A list of United States governmental officials is posted in Blackboard. You may use any source to identify these officials and provide the required information. Check the last pages of this syllabus for the due date.


Political Ideology Quizzes: There are two different quizzes linked on Blackboard. Take both of the quizzes and answer the questions. This assignment will be one – two pages. Check the last pages of this syllabus for the due date.


Political Party Assignment: Take the assessment linked on Blackboard and answer the questions. Make sure and re-take the assessment using the suggestions. This assignment will be one – two pages. Check the last pages of this syllabus for the due date.


Academic Honesty: Cases of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and will be handled by the instructor. Students who are found to engage in academic dishonesty through such activities as cheating on exams, plagiarism or collusion with others will face disciplinary action. Students who disagree with the instructor’s decision are afforded an appeals process.


Attendance Policy: Regular classroom attendance is a must for student success, therefore all students are expected to attend class unless there is an illness or major personal business. The instructor will place attendance sheets for you to initial at the front of the classroom at the end of each class period. If you must miss a class session, please contact the instructor. The student is responsible for getting class notes from a fellow classmate for any class missed. Outlines of notes are also available on Blackboard. Attendance is now part of your overall grade for this class. Every class period is worth two points towards your grade, and attendance during exams is worth five points.


Student Conduct and Electronic Devices: We are all in this class to learn. Therefore, I expect you to treat the instructor and fellow classmates with courtesy and respect. This means listening to the opinions and questions of others. Any other forms of behavior will not be tolerated! Cell phones and any form of electronic devices are not allowed in the classroom!! Please turn off your phone before class starts. I ask that emergency exceptions on cell phones be cleared prior to the beginning of class. Cell phones and laptops areNOT ALLOWED during exams. Students who are caught using their phones for texting, messaging, etc. will be asked to put away their phone. Any student caught using their phones for texting, messaging, etc. a second time will be asked to leave the class. Any student who disrupts the class in ANY way will be asked to leave the class, and will be considered absent that day. Since the open carry law will not legally affect PJC until August 2017; the official policy on weapons on our campuses is still as listed on page 28 of the 2015 – 2016 Student Handbook. For the safety of the class, the classroom door will be shut and locked five minutes after the scheduled beginning of class. Students more than five minutes late to class will not be allowed in the class, and will be considered absent for that class.


Drop Policy: The student must notify the instructor if he/she desires to drop the course before the final date to drop with a “W”. It is the responsibility of the student to file the appropriate papers with the front office. Failure to file these papers may result in a final grade of F. After the drop date (November 17), students may not drop, they will receive a letter grade for the course. The instructor retains the right to remove a disruptive student from the course.


Contact Information: The best way to reach me is via email. Please send any emails to my PJC email. I do not have the time to check any emails sent through Blackboard. I will respond to your electronic questions, comments as soon as possible. Please note: I check my email very infrequently over the weekends. If your email reaches me after noon on Friday, I probably will not respond until Monday morning. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the instructor. If you do not receive a response to your email, assume that I did not receive it.


Email address:   

Phone number, PJC Greenville Center: 903-457-8726


The instructor has created a Blackboard site with copies of outlines of the class notes, the information for the outside class papers and assignment. Please check this site frequently throughout the semester, since these materials will be loaded as the semester progresses.


Instructor’s Fall 2016 Class Schedule:


Monday/Wednesday/Friday   9:20 AM – 12:30 PM  Government 2305      (Royce City)

Monday/Wednesday               2:30 – 3:45 PM           History 2311               (Greenville)


Tuesday/Thursday     8:00 – 9:15 AM            Government 2305       (Sulphur Springs)

Tuesday/Thursday     9:30 – 10:45 AM          History 1302               (Sulphur Springs)

Tuesday/Thursday     1:00 – 2:15 PM             Government 2306       (Sulphur Springs)



Instructor’s Fall 2016 Office Hours:


Greenville (Monday/Wednesday)

3:55 pm – 5:00 pm (Office, Room 204)


 Sulphur Springs (Tuesday/Thursday)

10:50 am – 12:55 pm (Office)
2:20 pm – 5:00 pm (Office)


*Contents of this syllabus are subject to change. The instructor will make announcements in class regarding any changes/additions, etc.


Government 2305

Class reading and Exam Schedule

Fall 2016


September 1                                                    Chapter One


September 5                                                    No Class – Labor Day Holiday!!


September 7                                                    Chapter One


September 9                                                    Chapter Two


September 12                                                  Chapter Two; In class assignment one


September 14                                                  Chapter Two; In class assignment one


September 16                                                  Chapter Three


September 17                                                  Constitution Day


September 19                                                  Chapter Three; Political Ideology Quiz 
                                                                                    Assignment Due


September 21                                                  Chapter Four


September 23                                                  Chapter Four; In class assignment two


September 26                                                  Exam One


September 28                                                  Chapter Five; Government Officials 
                                                                                    Assignment Due


September 30                                                  Chapter Five; In class assignment three


October 3                                                        Chapter Six


October 5                                                        Chapter Six


October 7                                                        Chapter Six


October 10                                                      Chapter Seven  


October 12                                                      Chapter Seven; In class assignment four


October 14                                                      Chapter Eight


October 17                                                      Chapter Eight


October 19                                                      Exam Two


October 21                                                      Chapter Nine


October 24                                                      Chapter Nine


October 26                                                      Chapter Nine; In class assignment five


October 28                                                      Chapter Ten


October 31                                                      Chapter Ten


November 2                                                    Chapter Eleven; Political Party Assignment 


November 4                                                    Chapter Eleven; In class assignment six


November 7                                                    Chapter Twelve


November 8                                                    Election Day


November 9                                                    Chapter Twelve


November 11                                                  Chapter Twelve; In class assignment seven


November 14                                                  Exam Three


November 16                                                  Chapter Fourteen  


November 17                                                  Last Day to Withdraw with a “W”


November 18                                                  Chapter Fourteen


November 21                                                  Chapter Fifteen


November 23 – 25                                          No Class – Thanksgiving Holiday!!!!!


November 28                                                  Chapter Fifteen


November 30                                                  Chapter Sixteen


December 2                                                     Chapter Sixteen


December 5                                                     Chapter Eighteen


December 7                                                     Chapter Eighteen


December 9                                                     Chapter Eighteen; In class assignment eight


December 12                                                   Exam Four

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