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POLS 1101

This is an archive of the Common Course Outlines prior to fall 2011. The current Common Course Outlines can be found at
Credit Hours3
Course TitleAmerican Government
Prerequisite(s)Exit or exemption from Learning Support reading and all ESL requirements except ENSL 0091
Corequisite(s)None Specified
Catalog Description
Covering the essential facts of national government in the United States, with some attention given to state government, including the state of Georgia, this course satisfies state law, requiring examination on the United States and Georgia Constitutions.
Expected Educational Results
As a result of completing this course, the student will be able to:

1. Trace through the Constitutional Convention and ratification struggle of the late 1780s.
2. Contrast the original constitutional dispersion of power with the modern dispersion that has evolved through custom and interpretation.
3. Analyze the amendment process and the political implications associated with it.
4. Explain federalism, how it differs from other forms of government, and how it has evolved to reach its present form in the U.S.
5. Explore the growth of the national government through an examination of the factors contributing to its expansion.
6. Examine the major safeguards of freedom contained in the First Amendment.
7. Explain and evaluate the major clauses in the Fourteenth Amendment in terms of their effectiveness throughout U.S history.
8. Explain and evaluate the effectiveness of the Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-sixth Amendments in overcoming barriers to voting in the U.S.
9. Understand how the Constitution protects citizenship.
10. Describe the fundamentals of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments and their significance in the U.S. system of rights.
11. Analyze interest groups in terms of their structure and operating techniques.
12. Discuss the process of running for public office with particular attention given to the nomination and election of a president.
13. Analyze Congress in terms of its structure, functions, and membership, with a focus on the legislative process and the common criticisms leveled at the institution.
14. Trace the evolution of the modern presidency from its constitutional foundations to its current form, as shaped by public expectations.
15. Describe the differing forms of law on which the American legal system is based.
16. Explain the structure and function of the national court system, including the operation of the U.S. Supreme Court.
17. Understand the process of judicial review.
18. Evaluate the public policy-making process with regard to policy formulation and the impact of ideological differences among policy makers.
19. Discuss the nationalization of the Bill of Rights.

General Education Outcomes
This course addresses the general education outcomes of identifying, analyzing, and evaluating global economic, political, historical, and geographic forces and communicating effectively through speaking, listening, reading, as well as applying the knowledge of personal, societal, and cultural development to living and working in a culturally diverse environment.

Course Content
I. Constitutional Democracy
A. The Making of the American Republic
B. The Living Constitution
C. The American System of Federalism
II. Liberties and Rights
A. Civil Liberties
B. Civil Rights
III. The Political Process
A. Interest Groups
B. Political Parties
C. Public Opinion
D. Voting and Elections
E. The Media
IV. The Political Institutions
A. The Congress
B. The President
C. The Judiciary
D. The Bureaucracy

Assessment of Outcome Objectives
A. Tests and a final exam prepared by individual instructors will be used to determine a part of the course grade.  Tests and exams will focus on the objectives above and emphasize writing skills through the use of essay questions.  As Political Science 1101 is an introductory course, primary emphasis will be given to providing the basic knowledge a student will need as a foundation for subsequent courses.
B. A writing assignment will emphasize higher order learning skills by demonstrating student understanding of concepts, student ability to evaluate and synthesize information and student ability to present the results in a logical and analytical fashion.

A. This course will be assessed in a designated semester every three years. Every student in each section will be required to complete a multiple-choice assessment test that covers the core material of the course as defined in the above objectives.  This exam will be included as part or the entire final exam.
B. The construction of the assessment test will be the responsibility of the college-wide Political Science Curriculum Committee.

The results of the assessment questions will be summarized by the college-wide Political Science Curriculum Committee made up of all persons teaching Political Science and headed by a chair selected by the curriculum committee.  All committee members will analyze the results and determine implications for curriculum change.  A summary of the group analysis as well as specific details and a timeline for implementation of changes will be included.   The committee will follow-up and document the implementation of the agreed upon changes.

Revised: Spring 2006
Last Revised: Aug. 11, 2011
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