American Constitutional Law: Rights and Liberties
The course examines how the Supreme Court defines and interprets the Bill of Rights and ensuing amendments, with emphasis placed on freedom of expression, freedom of religion, equal protection of the laws, and privacy rights. It imparts students with an understanding of the historical development and evolution of constitutional doctrine in the areas of civil rights and civil liberties, and the role federal courts and politics play in the policymaking process. Students are encouraged to think analytically and critically evaluate the ways in which the Constitution protects individual rights amid competing claims of the state, groups, and communities. This course oﬀers preparation for upper-level legal and American politics courses.
American National Government
The purpose of the course is to offer a study of the structures and processes of American federal government. By examining the structural foundations of the American political system and political linkage and governmental institutions, investigating the role of civic society and non-governmental entities in the policymaking process, and analyzing how the separate institutions of government share power, this course provides students with an understanding of the adoption, development, and purpose of the main institutions in American politics. Students are encouraged to think analytically and critically evaluate claims about the U.S. political system. This course offers preparation for upper-level courses in the subfield of American politics.
American State and Local Government
This course introduces students to the politics, institutions, and policy processes of state and local governments, focusing on how these governments play pivotal roles in key policy areas such as taxes, health care, education, and social welfare. This requires an understanding of how public policy and political decisions are made at the state and local level, including how the general principles of federalism affect state and local governments. By examining the similarities and differences between state and local governments across the country, we will assess how variation across political institutions, and in citizens’ attitudes, affects the politics and policies of subnational governments. Particular attention will be played to local politics, governmental structures, and policies. The course will provide students with a basic understanding of the various institutions, organizations, and policy processes that most affect our everyday lives—those in state and local governments.
Current Controversies in Public Policy
The course introduces students to the study of the policymaking structures and processes of American governments through a selection of the most debated questions in American public policy, including economic policy, social welfare, civil and political rights, political ethics, and institutional reform. The course will provide students with a basic understanding of the formation, adoption, budgeting, implementation, and evaluation of public policy, and how to apply this framework to critically assess and engage controversial policy issues, as well as assessing how the government responds to current controversies in public policy.
Political Parties and Elections
Political parties are the primary organizations that place candidates before voters, organize deliberations within political institutions, and seek to adopt and implement public policy. However, parties are not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution and George Washington, in his farewell address, expressed his opposition: “the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and the duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.” Nevertheless, parties occupy a predominant position in American democracy. By examining the role of parties through a historical lens, this course provides students with an understanding of the function, structure, and evolution of parties as organizations, in the electorate, and in government. Students will be encouraged to think analytically and critically evaluate claims about the U.S. political system and the roles parties play in democracy.
Religious Liberty and the U.S. Constitution
By examining the philosophical, political, and jurisprudential foundations of the religion clauses of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, this course provides students with an understanding of the historical development and evolution of constitutional doctrine on religious liberty, and the role federal courts and politics play in the policymaking process. Students will be encouraged to think analytically and critically evaluate the relationship between law and religion in the United States, as interpreted by the Supreme Court amidst competing views, traditions, and actions of the state, groups, and communities. This course oﬀers preparation for upper-level legal and American politics courses.
Government and Politics
Presidential Job Approval Center by Gallup
State Legislative Calendars by Pew
"How to Read Political Science" by Amelia Hoover Green
"A guide to writing an academic paper" by Valerie Strauss
"Guide to Writing a Case Brief" by Stephen Phillips
Guide to writing resumes and cover letters by Harvard University
Online Writing Lab (OWL) by Purdue University