Government 101-02: Government & Politics in the United States
Tuesdays and Thursdays 7:00am – 8:15am/Location: B134
Spring 2019

CONTACT INFORMATION

Professor Brandy Brooks
Campus Mailbox: B-336 Mailbox#106
Office Hours: Available before or after class for consultation, and/or by appointment
Telephone: (617) 228 – 2463 ext. 0071
E-mail: bmbrooks@bhcc.mass.edu
Facebook: ProfB@BHCC
Twitter: Prof_Brooks
Website: http://www.profbrooks.com

CATALOG DESCRIPTION

The course explores some questions and theories that interest political scientists and historians, and methods they use to explain governmental operations. Insight into the nature of political ideals, as embodied in the Constitution, is developed. Topics include federalism, organization and functions of the three branches of the national government, civil liberties and civil rights, public opinion and voting behavior, the media, bureaucracies, and public policy. This course meets General Education “Individual and Society” Requirement Area 2. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in Academic Reading III (ESL098) or Reading Skills II (RDG095); and Writing Skills II (ENG095) or exemption by placement testing.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS

  1. Glen Krutz & Sylvie Waskiewicz. American Government.
    Download for free at:
    https://openstax.org/details/books/american-government

Success in this course depends upon regular attendance.  Attendance will be taken on a regular basis, at the beginning or end of the class.  Even if you do not participate in class discussions you will benefit from hearing the comments and questions of your classmates.  You need to listen and take notes during lectures, as most of the material will not be found in the assigned readings.  I do not allow make-ups for missed tests or assignments, unless you have a legitimate reason with documentation (i.e., signed letter from a doctor, jury summons, etc.) explaining your absence. Each class you attend will earn you 5 points towards your total attendance grade (36 classes * 5 points = 180 points total). Each class that you are up to 30 minutes late to or that you leave early from subtracts 2.5 points your daily attendance point total. If you are more than 30 minutes late to class you will receive no points for the day. Also, if you show up late and leave early then you will receive no attendance points for the day.

**You can miss up to 2 classes without it counting against your overall attendance grade.**  

Absence Due to Religious Beliefs

1985 Regular Session
STUDENTS ABSENCE DUE TO RELIGIOUS BELIEFS
Chapter 375
AN ACT EXCUSING THE ABSENCE OF STUDENTS FOR THEIR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

Chapter 151C of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 2A the following section:

Section 2B. Any student in an educational or vocational training institution, other than a religious or denominational educational or vocational training institution, who is unable, because of his religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study, or work requirement which he may have missed because of such absence on any particular day; provided, however, that such makeup examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon such school. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his availing himself of the provisions of this section.

A copy of this section shall be published by each institution of higher education in the catalog of such institution containing the list of available courses.

Approved October 8, 1985.

In general, lecture will occur at the first meeting of the week, with assessment and discussion in the second meeting of the week. Lectures support the assigned reading and/or expand upon the text material.  As such, they are not drawn strictly from the assigned reading. Lectures serve to expand upon the reading assignments by providing materials which are relevant to Massachusetts and the New England region.

Success in the course is highly dependent upon your ability to take good lecture notes and manage the reading on your own.  I recommend that you create a portfolio of all your notes, papers and tests.  You should take the on-line textbook practice quizzes as preparation for in-class quizzes.

A combination of take-home writing assignments, in-class quizzes, a campaign video, and attendance/class participation comprise the means by which I will assess student learning.

  1. American Government Word Cloud (120 points or 10% of your grade)
  2. Short Papers (200 points or 20% of your grade)
  3. Quizzes (200 points or 20% of your grade)
  4. Presidential Campaign Video (300 points or 30% of your grade)
  5. Attendance & Class Participation (180 points or 18% of your grade)​

Final grades for the course will be based on the following scale. I reserve the right to make adjustments to individual grades based on overall performance in the course and/or extenuating circumstances. There is no grading curve.

The following cutoffs will be used for grades:

Letter                                                  Letter                                      Letter
Grade                         Score               Grade             Score               Grade             Score

A                         940-1000                B                830-869               C               700-769
A-                        900-939                   B-              800-829                D              600-699
B+                       870-899                   C+             770-799                F               ≤ 599

All students are expected to abide by the Student Code of Conduct which reads, “A student shall be subject to the disciplinary sanctions outlined in this policy for acts including, but not limited to: Cheating, including use of unauthorized books or notes, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty, as defined by College policy.” (See BHCC Student Handbook) Any individual caught cheating or plagiarizing will receive an “F” for the course and the student will be referred to the dean for appropriate action.

In order to be successful in this course, it is expected that students will:

  • Attend all class sessions
  • Arrive on time to all sessions
  • Remain for entire duration of all class sessions
  • Read all assigned course materials
  • Regularly check BHCC email and course website for updates
  • Prepare and submit homework assignments by due date
  • Treat faculty and classmates with respect and courtesy
  • Abide by all guidelines presented in the BHCC Student Handbook.

There are few things more annoying in modern life than the sound of a cell phone going off in a public meeting of any kind.  Please turn off your cell phones, laptops, tablets, netbooks, e-readers, and/or pagers during class or at the very least switch to the vibrate mode.  Do not text (receiving or sending) people during class either. If students are using aforementioned devices for note-taking then notify me beforehand.  In addition, if you wish to record (audio or video) lectures permission must be granted in advance. If you cannot bear to be out of contact with people for the duration of class then you are in the wrong class.  However, in an emergency situation please notify me before class begins so that you can be accessible.

Food and beverages will be permitted so long as consumption of food and beverages does not disrupt discussion and student properly disposes of trash.

It should be noted that a course on politics can excite passionate feelings and heated debates can result.  I encourage you to adopt the practice of criticizing the IDEA being presented, rather than the SPEAKER.  Above all, treat all speakers with respect.  For more information on how you should conduct yourself while in this class or on BHCC’s campus please refer to the guidelines presented in the BHCC Student Handbook.

Students needing additional accommodations due to a documented disability should request services/accommodations through the Office for Students with Disabilities located in Building E, Room 222.  Policy for Individuals with Disability: Bunker Hill Community College is committed to providing equal access to the educational experience of all students in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  A student with a documented disability, who has not already done so, should schedule an appointment at the Office for Students with Disabilities (Room E222) in order to obtain appropriate services.  

The Bunker Hill Community College Library and Learning Commons is located on the 3rd floor of the E Building (E-300) and is available to all BHCC students.  As a research-based presentation is required for this course, all students are directed to review the library resources available at http://www.noblenet.org/bhcc as well as get a BHCC One Card.

ASSESSMENT

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    ASSESSMENT

    For this assignment you will create a word cloud. After reading Chapter 1 of American Government create a word cloud that describes the United States government. For example, your word cloud could address the following: What is democracy? How do people participate in the political system? What is the American Dream? To create a word cloud visit https://www.tagul.com/ to get started. You will need to create an account or sign-in using your Facebook or Google Account. After you have signed in click on blue Create new word cloud button. Go through each of the tabs (Words, Shapes, Fonts, Layout, and Colors and Animations) and choose how you would like the word cloud to look. After you have finished with your settings, you must click Visualize in order to properly see the word cloud you have created. If you are satisfied with your word cloud click on the Download and Share tab. Make sure to click on the Download PNG button and bring a hard copy of your word cloud to class on February 7, 2019. Make sure to write your name and which value you chose to illustrate. In order to receive 120 points you will need to bring a hard copy of your Word Cloud on February 7th and be prepared to give a 2-3 minute presentation on your word cloud.  

    Students will write two short papers. When you write a short paper, you are using information discussed in lecture and/or in assigned readings to reflect critically on the questions posed in the syllabus.

    Each short paper is to be One to Two Double-Spaced Pages, Times New Roman, 12-font, and may be written in the first person. A reference page is required.

    In order to write a good short paper refer to the following:
    Four Steps to Better Writers
    APA In-Text Citations & List of References

    Short papers are due at the beginning of class. Late papers will be penalized at the rate of 5 points per day.

    Go to http://www.katengine.com/collector/he-hss/prompt/AfricanAmericanHistory011/cef580b79a7a8023478ffcecfff465c673f72d68/compose and enter your Student ID and type in your response to the following essay question:

    As African Americans attempted to assert and claim their citizenship and civil rights, they experienced violent backlash from whites who embraced white supremacist ideologies. Some of these African Americans had migrated to urban centers where whites sought to keep them segregated in all-black neighborhoods. Between the years 1900 to 1923, racial conflicts and race riots took place in cities across the nation as more blacks moved to cities overwhelmingly populated by whites.

    List the cities where major race riots took place from 1900 to 1923 and explain what the geographical distribution of the race riots tells us about race relations in the United States during this period. Overall, despite the unique circumstances of each riot, what common reasons did whites cite to justify their attacks on Blacks? How did blacks respond to the racial violence and animus aimed at them during this period?

    Hint: Those responses that do well will include: information about where the race riots occurred (e.g., specific cities) and what events led to the race riots (e.g., black mobility, employment in “white” jobs, living in “white” neighborhoods, founding of NAACP and other groups, etc.), clearly organized, does not contain grammar, spelling or punctuation errors, includes your voice and provides logical examples that are persuasively argued.

    For this assignment you will be the campaign manager, candidate, or spouse of a candidate for President of the United States. You are required to produce a video at least one minute in length (maximum 2 ½ minutes) in which you describe who your candidate is and what they stand for and why we, the voting public, should vote for him or her. Each video should include the following:

    1) What is your candidate’s platform? What issues does he/she stand for? What will you do as an elected official?
    2) Why should people vote for your candidate? How are you different from your opponents?
    3) What is your campaign slogan? Should be stated at least twice in your video
    4) What is your campaign logo? Should be a graphic which appears in your video

    You have creative license in describing this individual’s personal background (i.e., job, political affiliation, children, marriage, war hero, activist, etc.). In addition, be creative in how you present your candidate. You can show video clips (would need to be very brief) of friends/family/acquaintances praising your candidate and their platform or create poll results that show why the country needs your candidate. In other words, whether you vote or actively participate in politics or not, think of the characteristics, slogans, logos, issues, that would make you vote. However, be careful that the issues and slogans you choose are applicable to you candidate. Do your research and understand the issues and voters. I would suggest that you start preparing for your video by viewing campaign ads provided on the course website.

    REMEMBER – WHILE YOU MAY BASE YOUR CHARACTER ON A LIVING OR DECEASED ELECTED OFFICIAL DO NOT PLAGARIZE LOGOS OR SLOGANS. YOU MUST COME UP WITH AN ORIGINAL IDEA!

    You should e-mail your Gubernatorial Candidate Campaign Video by 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 2, 2019. Late videos (starting at 7:01 a.m.) will be penalized at the rate of 10 points per day.

    Three quizzes will be given. The quizzes will test your knowledge of the material covered in the lectures and in the assigned readings. The quizzes may have a combination of short answer, multiple choice, and essay questions. The quizzes will be given in class and will start promptly at 7:15 a.m. Makeup quizzes are not permitted except in extenuating circumstances. An unexcused absence will result in a 0 for that quiz.

    Extra credit opportunities will be available throughout the semester. These assignments will add points to short paper and discussion board grades. It will be the responsibility of students to monitor postings of extra credit assignments on the course website.

    TENTATIVE SCHEDULE (SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

      Week 1: January 22nd & 24th    

       Assignment:

      • Purchase Course Books & Bring Phone to Class on January 24th 

      Week 2: January 29th & January 31st
      American Government and Civic Engagement

      Text Readings:

      Videos:

      Week 4: February 12th & 14th
      Federalism 

      Text Readings:

      Videos:

      Week 5 & 6: February 19th, 21st, 26th & 28th 
      Civil Liberties

      Text Readings:

      Videos:

      Assignments:

      Class Debate October 10th

      Week 7 & 8: March 5th, 7th, 12th & 14th
      Civil Rights

      Text Readings:

      Video:

      Assignments:

      • Short Paper #1 Due March 14th 

      Week 9: March  26th & 28th
      The Politics of Public Opinion

      Text Readings:

      Assignments:

      Week 10: April 2nd & 4th
      Voting and Elections

      Text Readings:

      Videos:

      Assignment:

      • Quiz #1 April 4th (in class)

      Week 11: April 9rd & 11th
      The Media

      Text Readings:

      Video:

      •  

      Week 12: April 16th & 18th
      Interest Groups and Political Parties

      Text Readings:

      Videos:

      Assignment:

      • Short Paper #2 Due April 18th

      Week 13: April 23rd & 25th
      Congress

      Text Readings:

      Week 14: April 30th & May 2nd
      The Presidency

      Text Readings:

      Video:

      Assignment:

      • Presidential Campaign Video due May 2nd

      Week 15: May 7th & 9th
      The Bureaucracy

      Text Readings:

      Assignment:

      Week 16: May 14th & 16th
      Courts

      Text Readings:

      Videos:

      State and Local Policy/Domestic and Foreign Policy

      Text Readings:

      Videos:

      Assignment:

      • May 16th Quiz #2 (in class)