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American Government I

Course Details

Course Number
POLS 1333
Section Number
POLS 1333
Fall 2010
Classroom Number
Days & Times


Dr. Steve R Garrison (view Profile)


The Struggle for Democracy (9th edition)
Edward S. Greenberg and Benjamin I. Page. 2008 New York: Addison-Wesley Inc
Texas Politics and Government: Roots and Reform (3
Keith and Hagg New York: Addison-Wesley Inc.
Course Objectives

This course introduces students to the political system of the United States and the state of Texas. In this course we will study the role of democracy in government; how history has influenced the state and federal constitutions; the impact of federalism; elections, the media, political parties; public opinion and interest groups.

Course Expectations

There will be a two exams and a final exam. The highest grading scale will be 90 (A), 80 (B), 70 (C), and 60 (D). If for any reason you should have to miss a test you must inform the instructor prior to the time of the test and proper documentation is required for any makeup test this includes issues with your computer etc. Document such problems and I will be more likely to allow you to make up the test. The percentage breakdown is as follows: Exam 1: 20% Exam 2: 20% Final Exam: 20% Writing Assignments 20% Participation and discussion Assignments 10% Quizzes 10%. The privilege of additional work will not be granted.

Final Exam 12/09/2010 internet
Submission Format Policy

Introduction : In addition to the exams students will also be required to complete three writing assignments. These writing assignments are designed to allow students to explore contemporary political issues in greater detail.
Requirements : there will be three writing assignments. Specific instructions on these assignments will be posted under the assignment tool. Given previous problems I have had with plagiarism students will be required to submit their paper via To do this students will first need to create an account by setting up a login and password. Once this has been accomplished students will then need to locate the class. The class ID is 3400190. The password is fall2010. After entering this information students will then be able to submit their writing assignments. I will not grade your writing assignments until it has been submitted to

Introduction : In order to fully grasp the workings of state and local government it is important that students examine the relevance of the course material in terms of current political events. As part of the course I encourage students to start paying attention to some reputable news source. In fact, I would urge you to begin following numerous sources. I am open to format; internet, radio, television just ensure that is actually news and not purely opinion. If you have questions about specific sources let me know.
Requirements : During each week I will post discussion questions related to our course material and relevant current events. As part of your course requirements I expect each student to post three responses to these questions throughout the week. It is ok to post more and in fact I would encourage you to post more. Please have something substantive to post. In other words you need more than just “I agree”. At the end of the week provide me with a summary of your three posts during the week. This should be submitted by the end of the day Sunday (11:59 p.m.) for the corresponding week. Collectively this will account for your participation and discussion assignment grade. Note: I intend for this to be largely student driven. I will post the prompt and monitor the discussions but I will provide you with a lot of leeway to decide the direction of the course and intentionally want to avoid influencing the direction of the conversation.

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.
Late Paper Policy

If you do not complete the assignment or miss a test please abide by the following policy: contact me before the due date and then provide me with documentation for a valid reason for not completing your assignment

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at