Sunteți pe pagina 1din 9


University of Texas at Dallas Spring, 2009

Course Number: GOVT 2302.502 Course Title: American Government II Professor: Bryan Rasmussen

Office and Hours: I will be available for student consultation for between 4:30 and 5:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays at a location I will confirm for you the first week of class. I will also be available all the time via UTD or WebCT e-mail and by appointment.

Mailbox: In Green Bldg. room 3.214. If you have something to leave for me, leave it in the department office (Green 1.104) or with Lynne Boyer in Green 3.826. Class Room: TI Auditorium (for now)

Course Description

Tue. And Thu. 5:30pm to 6:45pm


: This course introduces the student to the primary institutions of the

United States and Texas governments. We will study governmental institutions from a constitutional and practical perspective. We will also survey domestic and foreign policy.

Course Credit Hours: 3 LECTURE HOURS Course Delivery Method: Lecture class with discussion. Learning Outcomes:

1. Define the constitutional foundations of our government.

2. Identify the major institutional characteristics of Federal and State

governmental institutions

3. Introduce policymaking as a component of institutional interactions.




Lowi, Theodore et al. 2007. American Government: Power and Purpose (Brief


th edition) . New York: Norton. ISBN 978 0 393 93121 1


U.T. Internet materials on Texas Government:

C. Regular reading of the Dallas Morning News (paper or on-line).

D. Internet sources.



A. Exam 1 – 20% of Grade. Tentative date Feb 10th.

B. Exam 2 – 20% of Grade. Tentative date Mar 12th.

C. Exam 3 – 30% of Grade. According to University finals schedule

D. Project – 20% of Grade. See separate handout.

E. Attendance and Participation – 10% of Grade. Attendance is mandatory. This

10% works as kind of a tie breaker if you are right on the A/B line or whatever. A sign in sheet will be sent around at random times during class each day. You can only sign in if you are in your seat at the time it goes around. The attendance sheet is the final word on attendance discrepancies so don’t forget to sign in. Active participation in class discussion will positively impact your grade. Regular attendance and active participation will benefit you in many less direct ways as well. Attendance points will be assigned as follows:

0-4 absences = 5 points

5-8 absences = 3 points 9 or more absences=0 points Participation points will be assigned as follows:

Active participation in class discussion and learning process will be worth 4 to 5 points. Minimal participation without being disruptive is worth 3 to 4 point. Minimal participation with disruptive or disrespectful behavior is worth 0 to 2. For your final grades, the numbers will be added up and grades given on a strict 90-80-70-60 scale. There is one possible exception to strict adherence to this overall grading formula. It is that I will grade you for improvement if you dramatically improve your scores over the course of the term. No individual extra credit will be given. There will be some extra credit opportunities provided to the class as a whole over the course of the term at the Professor’s discretion.


Political sophistication is the goal of this course. I believe that most of the problems we have with our government could be solved if more people would just pay attention. As such, I hope to pass along to you information about our system and inspire you to get involved. All transferring students should confirm that 2302 is the class they need, since the Intro to Government is a 2 class requirement throughout Texas and the different institutions split up the material differently.

IV. TENATIVE CLASS CALANDER (subject to modification) – Readings should

be completed prior to class discussion. Listed below are the general topics with the

chapter in the Lowi book. The Texas readings will be assigned in class and posted on Web CT.

Jan 13 Jan 13 – 27

Introduction, current events discussion Basics of American Democracy/ Constitution Review Chapter 1 & 2, Appendix

Jan 29 – Feb 5 Federalism

Chapter 3

Feb 10 Feb 17 Feb 12-17

EXAM 1 Paper Topic due Public Policy

Chapter 13

Feb 19-26

Economic Policy

Chapter 13

Mar 3 – 10 Mar 12 Mar 16 Mar 16-22


Chapter 14

Mar 24 – Apr 2Congress and Tx Legislature

Chapter 5

April 7-14

Presidency and Tx Executive

Chapter 6

April 16-21

US and Texas Courts

Chapter 8

Apr 16 Apr 23 - 30

Project DUE US and Texas Bureaucracy

Chapter 7

Thu May 7 at 5pm




Here is a partial list of things I shouldn’t have to say, but I will anyway. The University has procedures in place to deal with disruptive classroom conduct and I will follow them strictly in dealing with such behavior.

- No cell phones in class (Calling or texting).

- Do not leave class early without making prior arrangements.

- Be respectful of me and the other students during classroom discussions. I encourage everyone to share and discuss opinions openly if they are comfortable in doing so. I may say some controversial things in here designed to push your buttons. While I look forward to lively debate on some controversial public issues, we must handle it in a mature fashion so things stay under control. This is a fairly big class, so decorum is important, or discussions will be terminated. If you are easily offended, something may be said that bothers you, and I apologize in advance for that. However, everything we will discuss or debate in class is available on TV or the internet for public consumption. I will try to limit discussion to relatively mainstream positions on issues to try and limit the potential for offense, but our guarantee of freedom of speech prevails to an extent.

- Arrive on time ready to go.

- A make up exam may be given for any exam except the Final if arrangements have been made prior to the test time and the circumstances warrant it. The make up exam will be in a different form than the in class exam and will be given at a time convenient for the Professor. Late papers will be accepted, but the grades will be docked 8 points per school day late.

*****Please keep in touch with me over the course of the term with any questions or concerns about the class or the material. I want to help whenever possible. Be advised, I don’t give any incompletes and I don’t give withdraws (unless you officially withdraw before the deadline printed in the University Registration Guide), so if you have a situation I should be aware of, keep me advised. I will do what I can to help, but it is still your responsibility to fill the requirements of the class and earn the best grade you can given whatever external responsibilities and circumstances you may have.*****

VII. Field Trip Policies Off-Campus Instruction & Course Activities

Off-campus, out-of-state, and foreign instruction and activities are subject to state law and University policies and procedures regarding travel and risk-related activities. Information regarding these rules and regulations may be found at the website address Additional information is available from the office of the school dean. Below is a description of any travel and/or risk-related activity associated with this course.

VIII. Technical Support

If you experience any problems with your UTD account you may send an

email to: or call the UTD Computer Helpdesk at 972-


IX. Student Conduct and Discipline

The University of Texas System and The University of Texas at Dallas have

rules and regulations for the orderly and efficient conduct of their business.

It is the responsibility of each student and each student organization to be

knowledgeable about the rules and regulations which govern student

conduct and activities. General information on student conduct and discipline is contained in the UTD printed publication, A to Z Guide, which

is provided to all registered students each academic year.

The University of Texas at Dallas administers student discipline within the procedures of recognized and established due process. Procedures are defined and described in the Rules and Regulations, Series 50000, Board of Regents, The University of Texas System, and in Title V, Rules on Student

Services and Activities of the university’s Handbook of Operating Procedures. Copies of these rules and regulations are available to students

in the Office of the Dean of Students, where staff members are available to

assist students in interpreting the rules and regulations (SU 1.602, 972/883- 6391) and online at

A student at the university neither loses the rights nor escapes the

responsibilities of citizenship. He or she is expected to obey federal, state, and local laws as well as the Regents’ Rules, university regulations, and administrative rules. Students are subject to discipline for violating the standards of conduct whether such conduct takes place on or off campus, or whether civil or criminal penalties are also imposed for such conduct.

X. Academic Integrity

The faculty expects from its students a high level of responsibility and academic honesty. Because the value of an academic degree depends upon the absolute integrity of the work done by the student for that degree, it is imperative that a student demonstrate a high standard of individual honor in his or her scholastic work. Scholastic Dishonesty, any student who commits an act of scholastic dishonesty is subject to discipline. Scholastic dishonesty includes but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, taking an examination for another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts. Plagiarism, especially from the web, from portions of papers for other classes, and from any other source is unacceptable and will be dealt with under the university’s policy on plagiarism (see general catalog for details). This course will use the resources of, which searches the web for possible plagiarism and is over 90% effective.

XI. Copyright Notice

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted

materials, including music and software. Copying, displaying, reproducing, or distributing copyrighted works may infringe the copyright owner’s rights and such infringement is subject to appropriate disciplinary action as well as criminal penalties provided by federal law. Usage of such material is only appropriate when that usage constitutes “fair use” under the Copyright Act. As a UT Dallas student, you are required to follow the institution’s copyright policy (Policy Memorandum 84-I.3-46). For more information about the fair use exemption, see

XII. Email Use

The University of Texas at Dallas recognizes the value and efficiency of communication between faculty/staff and students through electronic mail. At the same time, email raises some issues concerning security and the identity of each individual in an email exchange. The university encourages all official student email correspondence be sent only to a student’s U.T. Dallas email address and that faculty and staff consider email from students official only if it originates from a UTD student account. This allows the university to maintain a high degree of confidence in the identity of all individual corresponding and the security of the transmitted information. UTD furnishes each student with a free email account that is to be used in all communication with university personnel. The Department of Information Resources at U.T. Dallas provides a method for students to have their U.T. Dallas mail forwarded to other accounts. Due to FERPA regulations, I will only

respond to e-mails sent from a UTD address or through Web CT.

XIII. Withdrawal from Class

The administration of this institution has set deadlines for withdrawal of any

college-level courses. These dates and times are published in that semester's course catalog. Administration procedures must be followed. It is the student's responsibility to handle withdrawal requirements from any class. In other words, I cannot drop or withdraw any student. You must do the proper paperwork to ensure that you will not receive a final grade of "F" in a course if you choose not to attend the class once you are enrolled.

XIV. Disability Services

The goal of Disability Services is to provide students with disabilities educational opportunities equal to those of their non-disabled peers. Disability Services is located in room 1.610 in the Student Union. Office hours are Monday and Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The contact information for the Office of Disability Services is:

The University of Texas at Dallas, SU 22 PO Box 830688 Richardson, Texas 75083-0688 (972) 883-2098 (voice or TTY) If you anticipate issues related to the format or requirements of this course,

please meet with the Coordinator of Disability Services. The Coordinator is available to discuss ways to ensure your full participation in the course. If you determine that formal, disability-related accommodations are necessary, it is very important that you be registered with Disability Services to notify them of your eligibility for reasonable accommodations. Disability Services can then plan how best to coordinate your accommodations. It is the student’s responsibility to notify his or her professors of the need for such an accommodation. Disability Services provides students with letters to present to faculty members to verify that the student has a disability and needs accommodations. Individuals requiring special accommodation should contact the professor after class or during office hours.

XV. Religious Holy Days

The University of Texas at Dallas will excuse a student from class or other required activities for the travel to and observance of a religious holy day for a religion whose places of worship are exempt from property tax under Section 11.20, Tax Code, Texas Code Annotated. The student is encouraged to notify the instructor or activity sponsor as soon as possible regarding the absence, preferably in advance of the assignment. The student, so excused, will be allowed to take the exam or complete the assignment within a reasonable time after the absence: a period equal to the length of the absence, up to a maximum of one week. A student who notifies the instructor and completes any missed exam or assignment may not be penalized for the absence. A student who fails to complete the exam or assignment within the prescribed period may receive a failing grade for that exam or assignment. If a student or an instructor disagrees about the nature of the absence [i.e., for the purpose of observing a religious holy day] or if there is similar disagreement about whether the student has been given a reasonable time to complete any missed assignments or examinations, either the student or the instructor may request a ruling from the chief executive officer of the institution, or his or her designee. The chief executive officer or designee must take into account the legislative intent of TEC 51.911(b), and the student and instructor will abide by the decision of the chief executive officer or designee.

These descriptions and timelines are subject to change at the discretion of the Professor.

UTD GOVT 2302 Spring, 2009


After you completely review this syllabus and make sure you understand everything, I ask you to tear off this final sheet of this syllabus, sign it and return it to me

by Thursday January 22nd by the end of class. You will not get credit for any completed assignments or exams until I have received the confirmation.

*****Yes, I confirm I have read and understand this class syllabus. Let’s get on with it already!

Printed name

Phone or e-mail Contact



Left Blank Intentionally

Government 2302:

Intro to American Government Spring 2009 Paper Assignment

I hope that you take advantage of the flexibility of this assignment to learn about something that interests you and have as much FUN as possible. Here are the particulars:

Topic: Your choice. You can choose any issue that is being debated in government today, either local, state or federal, with restrictions to be covered in class. You must choose your topic and turn it in to me in class by February 17th for approval. We will iron out the scope of the research and your approach to the topic. Content: The content will include a balanced discussion of “both sides” of the issue. The discussion will conclude with your objective “answer”, based on your research and your opinion. Structure: The paper must be structured properly with a clear introduction (including your thesis question), body (including a pro argument and a con argument) and conclusion (including your answer). Attention must be paid to proper grammar, punctuation and paragraph usage. Use the Writing Center to assist you with these matters. Length: 6 to 8 pages. Double-spaced. Use normal margins and size 11 or 12 font. Title page and bibliography or works cited page are required, and are not included in the 6 to 8 page requirement. Citations: There is no minimum or maximum. However, you must use a proper and consistent format to cite any quotes, direct or indirect, or other tidbit that is not “common knowledge.” You can ask me or the people in the Writing Center if you are in doubt. If you’re not sure, you are better off citing something than committing perjury. Bibliography: I do want a list of sources used on a separate page at the back of the paper. Make sure you use an acceptable format. This page is not included in the 6 - 8. Sources: At least 4. You may use books, periodicals or other library sources. Use caution if you wish to use the Internet. There is a lot of crap up there. Any site that ends .gov or .edu is likely OK. CNN or MSNBC or any of those is OK also, depending on what you are using it for. If you are unsure if you can use a web site, ask me. If it is not an appropriate source and we did not give you the OK to use it, I will not count it as a source. This paper will be due April 16th, at 5:30pm. Late papers will be accepted, but the grade will be significantly reduced. It will be graded based on a balanced, objective debate, content and structure, and not on your opinion. I will get the papers back to you by the last day of class in December. I will give 5 extra credit points to those who turn in their paper with proof that they had the Writing Center go over it and made the changes. GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN!

Printed Name:

Seat #: