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North Idaho College • Coeur d'Alene • Social & Behavioral Sciences • Political Science

Introduction to Political Science POLS-105

  • Spring 2012
  • Section 1
  • 3.0 Credits
  • 01/09/2012 to 05/10/2012
  • Modified 01/06/2012

Contact Information

Instructor: Dr. Richard Tanksley

email: [email protected]

Office Location: LKH 218B

Phone: 769-3325

Office Hours 

Mon. 10:45-12:45, 2:15-2:45   

Tue. 10:45-12:45     

Wed. 10:45-11:45,  2:15-2:45 or by appointment

Meeting Times

Lecture + Internet

  • Tuesday, 9:00 AM to 10:15 AM, LKH 242

The internet portion of this class can be utilized 7 days a week.


This course is designed to introduce the student to several of the major subfields embodied in political science. Specifically, these subfields include: international relations, comparative politics, political philosophy and research methods. Important theories and models to politics will be introduced as well as how political science study is conducted. Students typically will be required to write a literature review on a political topic of their choice and offer suggestions on additional ways that this topic could be studies, thus demonstrating some comprehension of how research is conducted in political science. Additionally, this course addresses cultural diversity by giving the students an introduction into different philosophies of government and how various political systems of the world may be organized. This course is important for those majoring in political science and it fulfills a social science requirement for A.A. and A.S. degrees. Lecture: 3 hours per week Recommended: ENGL 102


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

Course Policies

Attendance and Classroom Conduct


  • It is your responsibility to attend classes. Class will start on time and you will be assessed two absences if you leave early without permission or arrive late to class. I reserve to right to keep you from entering class if you are frequently tardy. You do not have to notify me if you are absent unless you are presenting something or know you are going to miss an exam. I do not initiate instructor withdrawals. Thus, if you do not attend, you are responsible for withdrawing or a grade of F will result.
  • Under no circumstances should you come to class if you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, have a fever or are coughing excessively.
  • Make-up policy: Students are allowed to make up graded work or tests if an absence is due to participation in extra-curricular, school-sponsored activities. A note or schedule from school authorities should be provided. Late assignments without good cause will result in a 5% grade reduction per week. An excessive amount of late assignments will not be accepted and a grade of zero for those assignments will be recorded.  
  • If you miss a single exam, arrangements to retake the exam should be made as soon as possible. Except for extreme circumstances, any exam not made up within a week will be recorded as a zero. If you miss a second exam, a documented reason must be provided. Make-up exams are given entirely at my discretion and may be formatted differently.

 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.



Course Schedule

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






Additional Items

 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

Division Policies

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: 

Academic Dishonesty
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:

Cheating: using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study in any academic exercise.
Fabrication: falsifying or inventing any information or citation in an academic exercise.
Plagiarism: knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one's own in an academic exercise.
Violation of Intellectual Property: stealing, altering, or destroying the academic work of other members of the community or the educational resources,materials, or official documents of the college. Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: knowingly helping another to attempt to violate any provisions of this policy.

Student Responsibility
As outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, all North Idaho College students have both rights and responsibilities: Please access www.nic.ferpa.StudentCode/index.htm for complete information that pertains to this subject.

North Idaho College, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, provides both services and accommodations to students who meet the guidelines provided in these acts.  For a complete description, please see:

Please contact the North Idaho College Center for Educational Access in Seiter Hall, Room 100 for assistance.  Phone:  208-769-5947

To withdraw from all courses a student must obtain a college withdrawal form from the Registrar's Office, secure the signatures of those persons indicated on the form, and return the form to the Registrar's office. No student may withdraw from the college after the final date of withdrawal from courses except for compelling and extraordinary reasons. In such circumstances a student must petition the Admissions and Academic Standards Committee for late withdrawal from college using the college withdrawal form available in the Registrar's Office.

For complete information regarding student withdrawals, please see the North Idaho College Policy 5.04.01: 

Institutional Policies

Student Responsibilities

As students undertake to fulfill the obligations and duties outlined in this document, the college community of which they are a part undertakes to respect the basic freedoms of students. In recognition of students’ rights and dignity as members of the college, North Idaho College is committed to the principles found in the NIC Student Handbook.

Center for Educational Access/Disability Support Services

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. 

If a student would like to request accommodations, he or she must contact the Center for Educational Access so that a Letter of Accommodation may be sent to the instructor.  Students requesting accommodations must contact the Center for Educational Access at the beginning of each semester.


By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You also understand that collection costs and legal fees will be added if the services of a collection agency are utilized.

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:

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:

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:

Additional withdrawal information:


An incomplete is assigned only if the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work to within three weeks of the end of the semester (or proportional length of time for a course of less than a semester in length).  Incompletes are issued only in cases of extenuating circumstances, such as severe illness or injury.  Incompletes are not issued in cases in which the student is simply unable to complete his/her work within the specified semester or session.  If a final grade of "I" is recorded, the instructor will indicate in writing to the Registrar what the student must do to make up the deficiency.  The instructor will indicate in the written statement what permanent grade should be entered if the Incomplete is not removed by the deadline.

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.

Discrimination and Harassment

North Idaho College has a zero tolerance policy for any acts of discrimination or harassment of any kind.  For more information, please see the NIC Student Handbook, Code of Conduct Article III and Article VIII. Compliance efforts with respect to these laws and regulations are the responsibility of each member of the campus community and are under the direction of the Dean of Students Office for Student Issues (2nd floor, Edminster Student Union Building, (208) 676-7156) and the Human Resources Office (Sherman Administration Building, (208) 769-3304) for employee issues.

Institutional Statement

DROP FOR NON-PAYMENT:  By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You will be dropped from classes if payment is not received by  5 p.m. Pacific Time on the third day of the semester. Students on the waitlist will be given the option to register for classes after students are dropped for non-payment.

REMOVAL FROM CLASS FOR NON-ATTENDANCE:  Attendance is based on your participation in this class. Failure to attend may result in your being removed from this class and may result in your financial aid award being reduced. You are responsible for confirming the accuracy of your attendance record.