SRJC Course Outlines

5/28/2024 3:19:35 AMPOLS 1 Course Outline as of Fall 2011

Changed Course

Discipline and Nbr:  POLS 1Title:  INTRO TO U.S. GOVERNMENT  
Full Title:  Introduction to United States Government
Last Reviewed:10/12/2020

UnitsCourse Hours per Week Nbr of WeeksCourse Hours Total
Maximum3.00Lecture Scheduled3.0017.5 max.Lecture Scheduled52.50
Minimum3.00Lab Scheduled06 min.Lab Scheduled0
 Contact DHR0 Contact DHR0
 Contact Total3.00 Contact Total52.50
 Non-contact DHR0 Non-contact DHR Total0

 Total Out of Class Hours:  105.00Total Student Learning Hours: 157.50 

Title 5 Category:  AA Degree Applicable
Grading:  Grade or P/NP
Repeatability:  00 - Two Repeats if Grade was D, F, NC, or NP
Also Listed As: 

Catalog Description:
Untitled document
Principles and problems of government with emphasis on national, state and local governments in the United States.


Recommended Preparation:
Eligibility for ENGL 1A or equivalent

Limits on Enrollment:

Schedule of Classes Information
Description: Untitled document
Principles and problems of government with emphasis on national, state and local governments in the United States.
(Grade or P/NP)

Recommended:Eligibility for ENGL 1A or equivalent
Limits on Enrollment:
Transfer Credit:CSU;UC.
Repeatability:00 - Two Repeats if Grade was D, F, NC, or NP


Associate Degree:Effective:Fall 1981
Social and Behavioral Sciences
American Institutions
CSU GE:Transfer Area Effective:Inactive:
 DSocial ScienceFall 2011
 D8Political Science, Govt, Legal Instutns  
 X2Constitution and American Ideals  
 DSocial ScienceFall 2010Fall 2011
 D4Gender Studies  
 D8Political Science, Govt, Legal Instutns  
 X2Constitution and American Ideals  
 DSocial ScienceFall 1981Fall 2010
 D4Gender Studies  
 X2Constitution and American Ideals  
IGETC:Transfer Area Effective:Inactive:
 4Social and Behavioral ScienceFall 1981
 4HPolitical Science:Govt and Legal Instutn  
 XBConstitution and American Ideals  
CSU Transfer:TransferableEffective:Fall 1981Inactive:
UC Transfer:TransferableEffective:Fall 1981Inactive:
 CID Descriptor: POLS 110 Introduction to American Government and Politics  SRJC Equivalent Course(s): POLS1

Certificate/Major Applicable: Major Applicable Course


Outcomes and Objectives:
At the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:
Untitled document
Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
1.  Formulate and examine their own political values and beliefs.
2.  Research contemporary political issues drawing on diverse sources.
3.  Assess and distinguish between factual and interpretive sources of information.
4. Trace how and why American political structures and institutions at the state and federal levels have evolved over time and discuss current controversies in light of these developments.
5.  Evaluate different forms of political communication and the methods employed to shape public opinion.
6.  Assess the influence of political institutions on the American population and the methods by which citizens can participate in the political process and shape policy outcomes.

Topics and Scope
Untitled document
I.  Foundations of U.S. Government
   A. What is Political Science?
        1. Survey of the discipline
        2. Assumptions, methodology, tools
        3. Core concepts, such as liberty and theories of democracy
  B. The Founding Era
        1. The legacy of British Rule
        2.  Philosophical influences, such as Locke and Montesquieu
        3. The Declaration of Independence
        4. The Articles of Confederation
        5. The Constitutional Convention
  C. The U.S. Constitution
       1.  The Preamble (the goals of government)
       2.  The Articles  (government institutions, federalism, amending)
       3.  The Federalist Papers (selling the document)
       4.  The Bill of Rights
 D.  Federalism
       1.  Constitutional provisions (definitions and rationale)
       2.  Historical evolution from the Founders to the present    
        3. Advantages and disadvantages of a federal system
 E.  California Government and Politics
      1.  The State of California (constitution, institutions, direct democracy)
      2.  Local Government and Politics
II.  Linkage Institutions
  A.  Public Opinion
       1. Political Socialization
       2. Ideology
       3. Polling
       4. Manipulation
  B. The Media
       1. Historical development from the founding to the present
       2. Biases in media coverage in the U.S.
       3. Evaluating sources of information
  C. Political Participation
        1. Conventional and non-conventional forms
       2. Voting behavior, trends and reforms
   D.  Political Parties
        1. The functions of parties
       2. The evolution of the party system
       3. Why a two-party system?
  E.  Campaigns and Elections
       1. The nominating process (primaries and caucuses)
       2. The general election (electoral college)
        3.  Campaign finance
        4.  Electoral strategies
   F . Interest Groups
       1.  Their composition and activities
       2.  The pros and cons of group politics
III.  Government Institutions
   A  . The Legislative Branch
         1.  A bicameral legislature (differences in the House and Senate)   
         2.  Functions of Congress (representation, legislation, oversight)
        3.  The structure of congressional leadership and committees
        4.  Legislative strategies
   B.  The Executive Branch
         1.  The Constitutional Presidency (formal powers)
         2.  The expansion of presidential power (causes and consequences)
         3.  The bureaucracy (presidential advisors, government agencies)
  C.  The Judicial Branch  
          1. Structure of the judiciary (federal and state)
         2. Judicial Review
          3. Judicial appointments
         4. The judicial decision making process      
IV.  Citizens and the State
   A . Civil Liberties
         1. Incorporating the Bill of Rights within state constitutions and laws
         2. Judicial rulings on rights (such as speech, press, religion)
   B . Civil Rights:  The expanding search for "equal justice under law."
V. Policy-Making (optional)
  A. Domestic Policy
  B. Foreign Policy
  C. Economic Policy

Untitled document
1.  Read and study one to two chapters in the texts and anthologies weekly.
2.  Regular attendance and extensive note-taking in class is expected and assumed.
3.  Two to four multiple-choice, and/or essay examinations including a final
4.  Six to ten pages of writing.  These will be either reaction papers, analytical essays or research papers.  An analytical component will be part of these assignments.
Optional assignments may include written summaries of current events, oral presentations, debates or group work.

Methods of Evaluation/Basis of Grade.
Writing: Assessment tools that demonstrate writing skill and/or require students to select, organize and explain ideas in writing.Writing
30 - 50%
Analytical essays
Problem solving: Assessment tools, other than exams, that demonstrate competence in computational or non-computational problem solving skills.Problem Solving
0 - 0%
Skill Demonstrations: All skill-based and physical demonstrations used for assessment purposes including skill performance exams.Skill Demonstrations
0 - 0%
Exams: All forms of formal testing, other than skill performance exams.Exams
40 - 50%
Two to four exams including a final that incorporate a writing component
Other: Includes any assessment tools that do not logically fit into the above categories.Other Category
0 - 30%
Class participation, oral presentations and debates

Representative Textbooks and Materials:
Untitled document
The Struggle for Democracy, (9th). Greenberg/Page. Longman: 2009 with the companion website
Challenge of Democracy, (10th). Janda, Berry  Goldman, Houghton-Mifflin N.: 2009
American Government and Politics Today, (15th). Bardes, et al. Wadsworth Publishing Company: 2009-2010 with companion web site
We The People, (Shorter 7th Edition), Ginsberg, Lowi, & Weir.  W.W, Norton & Company: 2009 and supporting web site.
Taking Sides:  Clashing Views on Political Issues, (17th). McKenna & Feingold,  McGraw Hill: 2009.
The Democratic Debate, (5th). Miroff et. al. Houghton Mifflin: 2010,
Ravitch's The American Reader Perennial,  (2nd). Harper Collins: 2000
California Politics: A Primer. Van Vechten. Congressional Quarterly Press: 2009
Governing California in the 21st Century (3rd). Anagnoson et al. W.W. Norton: 2011
Instructor Prepared Materials

Print PDF