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Syllabus POLI 320B Politics of Policy.2013-1.pdf

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University of British Columbia
Political Science
POLI 101
Paul Quirk

September 9, 2013 SYLLABUS POLI 320B THE POLITICS OF POLICYMAKING IN THE U.S. FALL SEMESTER (Term 1) 2013 Meetings: Tues, Thurs: 2:00-3:30 Buchanan A 104 Instructor: Professor Paul J. Quirk Email: [email protected] (best method) Phone: 604-822-2230 (office); 804-738-6409 (home, OK if time-sensitive) Office hours: Office hours: Tuesday, Thursday, 3:30-4:30 and by appointment (via email or in person). Office location: Buchanan C426. Teaching Assistant: Jason Tockman Email: [email protected] Office hours: TBA (not available October 17-November 10). This course analyzes the nature and performance of the policymaking process in US national government. Topics include: the role of institutions (especially Congress, the presidency, and the bureaucracy); the influence of interest groups and public opinion; and the use of policy analysis and expert advice. Policy areas include economic policy, health, environment, “social” issues. Examples of key questions: Can US government make intelligent decisions? Is it dominated by corporations and the wealthy? What explains the distinctive tendencies of US policies on health and gay rights? Is the US capable (in this era) of dealing effectively with serious problems. At many points, we will consider comparisons between the US and Canada. Requirements Required reading. The required reading will be moderately heavy. No books are required for purchase. The readings will be made available in several ways, consistent with copyright requirements. Some will be available for download from the UBC Library. Some will be available for download on the course website. Some will be sent as email attachments. Some may be purchased in one or more small course packets. Watch for further announcements on the availability of readings. Exams. There will be one midterm exam and a final exam. Exams will be about 40-50% on the assigned reading and 50-60% on lectures. Although the lectures will draw on the readings, they will only cover a fraction of the material from readings that may be tested. Essay. There will be a 12 page research essay. The assignment will be highly specified with respect to approach and methods, and closely related to course themes, with students having some choice of specific topics. It will require a modest amount of research in primary sources, such as congressional committee hearings and floor debates (which are available on the university website). You will receive detailed guidance about choosing topics, finding the materials, and writing the paper. You are responsible for knowing and understanding the University’s rules regarding plagiarism and academic misconduct. These rules will be strictly enforced. Participation and active learning. In addition, students will receive a mark for participation and active learning. It will be based in small part on reasonably frequent, thoughtful participation in class discussion but mainly on completion of written participation assignments. These assignments will be either written and handed in during class, or accessed via the course website. Some will be given in class and written immediately, as a means of ensuring broader participation in a class discussion. (If you cut the class, you miss the assignment.) Some of them may involve web-based exchanges with other students in the course. These assignments will be announced in class, by e-mail, or both. These assignments will not require large investments of time, but they will ensure engagement with course topics and current events in U.S. public policy, and will provide an opportunity for individual thought and expression. Written participation assignments are graded Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory, and all students will receive free credit for 1-2 missed assignments depending on the total number given— permitting a few missed assignments without penalty. IMPORTANT. Students who are observed gazing at computer screens rather than attending to class will be penalized for failure to participate, as well as distracting other students. (Do students actually not know how obvious this is?) Excused absence from exams and missed assignments. Postponement of exams will only be permitted in the case of compelling justification, such as relatively severe illness (not sniffles), university-related travel, etc., which must be adequately documented (such as by a note from a nurse). In addition, I must be notified of the excusing circumstance as early as possible, and normally in advance of the due date or exam. Students who are unable to complete a participation assignment because of such a circumstance will receive credit for it. Email messages. You are required to be able to receive email through your university address, as indicated by the Faculty Service Center listings; and to check email at least once every day. My method of sending emails will only reach those addresses. You will have small assignments (usually 10-15 minutes) on very short notice (about two days), and a few longer ones. Some announcements of these assignments, and other vital matters, will come via email, as well as the website. You may miss assignments if you do not check email at least once every day. Course website. Lectures, syllabi, handouts, and other materials will be made available via a Connect website—which you will need to access on a regular basis. You will be 2 informed via email and in class when the website is up and running. All important announcements are made by email; all documents will be posted to the website. Course notes. Students will receive copies of my lecture notes, via the website. They will be primarily in MS Word, rather than PowerPoint, because they print out more efficiently, and more readily present detailed information. Because I am developing some new lectures, however, they sometimes will not be highly detailed. You will need to take your own notes in class to be well prepared for exams. Disabilities. Students requiring accommodation of disabilities should arrange for an accommodation agreement through the university’s disabilities office. Marking weights Midterm exam = 25 percent Essay = 25 percent Participation and active learning assignments = 10 percent (based on S/U marking) Participation – oral = 5 percent Final exam = 35 percent
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