North Idaho College • Coeur d'Alene • Social & Behavioral Sciences • Political Science
Introduction to Political Science POLS-105
Instructor: Dr. Richard Tanksley
Office Location: LKH 218B
Mon. 10:45-12:45, 2:15-2:45
Wed. 10:45-11:45, 2:15-2:45 or by appointment
The internet portion of this class can be utilized 7 days a week.
The textbook required for this course is Thomas M. Magstadt (2013), Understanding Politics: Ideas Institutions, and Issue. (10th ed.). Cengage Learning, Belmont, CA. ISBN 101111832560
Learning Outcomes & Objectives
The Political Science Department's philosophy reflects the belief that students should encounter political and social diversity. To achieve these ends, all the components of this course will be discussed using a variety of theories and viewpoints whenever applicable. Additionally, special attention will be devoted to highlight social responsibility/citizenship, cultural differences and ethics.
As a result of taking this course students will:
● become familiar with the main concepts and theories within comparative politics, international relations and to a lesser extent some components of American government and political philosophy.
● gain an understanding of what different leaders and political philosophers have deemed the "model state" and how this state theoretically could be achieved.
● become more knowledgeable about capitalism, communism, socialism and other ideologies that affect the organization and functions of government
● be able to comprehend the distinctions and nuances of authoritarian, totalitarian, and various democratic models of government.
● gain insights into the causes and issues involved in revolution, terrorism, and war.
● learn how different scholars view international relations and international organizations such as the U.N.
● be introduced to the basic methodology of political science.
● develop reading, writing and presentation skills needed for more advanced college course-work and careers.
● be familiar with the ethical dimensions of national interests versus international responsibilities.
The assessment of these outcomes will include written exams, debates, student presentations, class discussions, class exercises and topical papers.
Assessments (Student Evaluation Procedures)
Students will be assessed through exams, written exercises and participation according to the following weights and schedule. If a student wants to pursue a course topic in more detail, a substitute for one of the assignments may be offered.
Grading % of grade # of points
Exam 1 18 180
Exam 2 20 200
Exam 3 20 200
Assignments 10 100
Country Folder 10 100
Research Design 12 120
Class Participation 10 100
Total grade 100% 1000
Exams are designed to assess how well each student is learning the material. The type of exam will vary and may include multiple choice, short answer and essay questions.
Assignments will be given at various times during the course. Typically, students will be required to describe their views on topics found within the text that require critical thinking.
Country Folder: Students are required to choose a country and obtain information about the nation’s type of government, leadership, foreign relations and current public policies.
Research Design Paper: Each student must formulate a research question and write a literature review on that topic. Next, students will offer suggestions as to how future research in this area could be conducted.
Class participation requires students to discuss important concepts and theories that are introduced during lectures. Grading will be based upon the depth of student involvement. Excessive absences will influence this grade.
The Grading scale for the entire course:
92 to 100% = A 90 to 91.9% = A-
88 to 89.9% = B+ 82 to 87.9% = B 80 to 81.9% = B-
78 to 79.9% = C+ 72 to 77.9% = C 70 to 71.9% = C-
68 to 59.9% = D+ 62 to 67.9% = D 60 to 61.9% = D-
Below 60 = Fail
Attendance and Classroom Conduct
Please pay attention during class and avoid distracting others. I do not allow any electronics to be used during class, including cell phones or computers. Please do not text, web surf, read the newspaper or enter into side conversations during class.
Please note that this schedule may be modified as necessary. Additionally, certain chapters may carry a greater importance.
Chapter 1 Introduction: The Study of Politics
Special Topic: Research Basics in Political Science
Chapter 2 The Idea of the Public Good, Ideologies and Isms
Chapter 3 Utopias: Model States
Chapter 4 Constitutional Democracy: Models of Representation
Chapter 5 The Authoritarian Model: Myth and Reality
TEST 1 on February 7th
Chapter 6 The Totalitarian Model: False Utopias
Chapter 7 Parliamentary Democracy
Chapter 8 States and Economies in Transition:
Chapter 9 Development Myths and Realities
Chapter 12 Political Leadership: The Many Faces of Power.
Chapter 13 Issues in Public Policy
TEST 2 on March 20th
Special Topic: International Relations Theory
Chapter 14 Revolution: In the Name of Justice
Chapter 15 War: Politics by Other Means
Chapter 16 Terrorism: Weapon of the Weak.
Chapter 17 World Politics: The Struggle for Power.
Chapter 18 International Organizations: Globalization & Order
FINAL on Tue. May 8th at 8AM
Method of Course Delivery - The Instructional Methods of this course will consist of lectures, discussion, student presentations, learning exercises, and independent study (readings). Additionally, this a hybrid class. The syllabus, assignments, chapter lesson powerpoints and various methods of course interaction are available online.
Academic Freedom - Student academic performance may be evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards. I encourage everyone to express their own views and opinions while respecting others who may hold different views.
Instructor Comments - I congratulate you on your quest to learn more about our government and political system. May you have a rewarding and successful semester. If at anytime during the course I can be of individual assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.
“Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” Plato
For a complete explanation of the North Idaho College Statement on Academic Honesty & Academic Integrity please ferfer to Policy 5.06 & Procedure 5.06.01: http://www.nic.edu/policy/
Violations of academic integrity involve using or attempting to use any method that enables an individual to misrepresent the quality or integrity of his or her work at North Idaho College. These violations include the following:
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For complete information regarding student withdrawals, please see the North Idaho College Policy 5.04.01: http://www.nic.edu/policy/
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In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, North Idaho College provides accommodations to eligible students who experience barriers in the educational setting due to learning, emotional / mental, physical, visual, or hearing disabilities. Instructors will provide accommodations to students only after having received a Letter of Accommodation from the Center for Educational Access.
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If you are registered for a class and do not attend, you will still be liable for the tuition unless you drop the class.
Last day for students to withdraw from semester-length classes: http://www.nic.edu/calendar/
Instructor-Initiated Withdrawal: Instructors have the right to withdraw students for academic reasons up until the same date; in doing so, instructors must notify students through NIC e-mail within 48 hours of submitting documentation to the Registrar's office, and students have the right to appeal the instructor's decision. For more information, see the NIC Procedure: http://www.nic.edu/modules/images/websites/121/file/section5/5.04.02procedure.pdf.
Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy: All withdrawals, whether for individual classes, total withdrawal from school, or instructor-initiated are not considered to be satisfactory progress for financial aid. See the Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy: http://www.nic.edu/Websites/index.asp?dpt=29&pageID=1336
Additional withdrawal information: http://www.nic.edu/catalog
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All incomplete grades must be removed within six weeks after the first class day of the following term, excluding the summer session. If the Incomplete is not removed by that date, the grade reverts to the grade indicated by the instructor's written statement authorizing the incomplete.
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