Eastern Michigan University ?· Eastern Michigan University PLSC 202: ... I have attached a handout…

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<ul><li><p>Eastern Michigan University </p><p>PLSC 202: State and Local Government </p><p>Winter 2015; Tuesday-Thursday, 11:00 to 12:15; Room 419 P-H </p><p>Dr. Joe Ohren </p><p>Office: 601K Pray Harrold e-mail: johren@emich.edu </p><p>Phone: 734.487.1452 (Faculty Office), 734.487.3113 (PLSC); 734.487.3340 (Fax) </p><p>Office Hours: T and Th: 8:30-10:30 am; other hours by appointment </p><p>Course Objectives </p><p>This is an introductory course in political science and presumes no previous college level course </p><p>work in government. Students who have had an American Government course will have a point </p><p>of reference and comparison for much of the class discussion. As the course title suggests, </p><p>however, the focus here is on state and local governmental units. Given the number and </p><p>diversity of such units, we will be emphasizing general patterns and common characteristics. </p><p>Equally important, we will look to our own state and local units as examples, becoming more </p><p>familiar with Michigan along the way and using a comparative perspective as a learning tool. </p><p>The course is structured to enable students to achieve several learning objectives: </p><p>1. Understand the role of state and local government institutions in American society; </p><p>2. Distinguish between national, state and local governmental structures and political systems; </p><p>3. Understand the function of and patterns in state constitutions and local charters; </p><p>4. Explain the nature and functions of the American federal system; </p><p>5. Describe the role of parties and interest groups in state and local political systems; </p><p>6. Identify nomination and election procedures in the various states; </p><p>7. Explain the role and powers of state and local executives; </p><p>8. Describe the structure, functions, and procedures of state and local legislative bodies; </p><p>9. Outline a typical state judicial system; </p><p>10. Distinguish between the various types of local governments in the several states. </p><p>This course also satisfies Area IV of EMUs General Education requirements (Knowledge of the </p><p>Disciplines: Social Science). Students are expected to accomplish the following in these classes: </p><p> Acquire an understanding of social science methods and of how they are used to engage in the systematic study of society and culture. </p><p> Understand and compare formal and informal social and political structures, organizations, and institutions. </p><p> Explore and understand power relationships and the impact of social change on different groups and on society in general. </p><p> Develop an appreciation of different interpretations of contemporary issues, institutions, or structures. </p><p> Use social science methods and content to interpret and analyze data and reports in the media and to make informed decisions regarding local, national, and international issues. </p><p> Use basic social scientific research techniques to examine and present information in a clear and concise manner. </p><p> Understand the relation between qualitative and quantitative research. </p></li><li><p>2 </p><p>Course Requirements, Assignments, Grading, and Other Issues </p><p>Text: Governing States and Localities, Kevin Smith and Alan Greenblatt, Fourth </p><p>Edition, CQ Press, 2014 </p><p>The text is available at local bookstores. Additional readings are listed by date and are available on </p><p>the course web site or will be provided in class. Since state and local governments are in the news </p><p>every day, I would encourage you to read a daily/weekly newspaper and share any interesting issues </p><p>or insights with the class, and I will do the same (these too are fair game on exams). Digital editions </p><p>of the New York Times are available through the my.emich system and I have found that there are </p><p>almost always articles about state and local issues in the Times that provide fuel for discussions. </p><p>Expectations: The course will follow a lecture-discussion format generally reflecting the </p><p>outline of topics and readings below. Readings should be completed prior to class discussion, </p><p>and regular attendance is expected. Based on past experience, attendance is highly correlated </p><p>with success in the course. Reading topics and assignments listed are subject to change, but if </p><p>that becomes necessary I will try to give you ample notice. </p><p>At times during the course we will be discussing issues that prompt strong feelings; however, </p><p>discussions should be civil, and disagreements should be based on evidence and logic, and not </p><p>personal. My job is to organize material, highlight and extend (but not replace) your reading, and </p><p>get you to think. Getting you to think often means that I will argue positions that are not my own. </p><p>Unless authorized, electronics/digital devices (e.g., cell phones, laptops) cannot be used during class; </p><p>turn them off and stow them beneath your seat once class begins. Note taking is easy since on most </p><p>occasions I post my outlines or handouts ahead of classes. If you print the notes, bring them to class, </p><p>and expand on them, then your subsequent retyping becomes your first careful review. </p><p>Grading Policy: I will be relying on three take home exams, equally wieghted, with </p><p>approximate dates noted in the outline, accounting for 90% of your grade. The exams will cover </p><p>readings as well as classroom discussion, and make-ups will only be given under exceptional </p><p>circumstances and with advance approval. The balance of the grade will reflect completion of a </p><p>policy paper or an observation of your local governing board; both assignments will be discussed </p><p>in some detail in class, but are described briefly below. </p><p>As the narrative above suggests, you have two alternatives for completing the final 10% of your </p><p>course grade. For those so inclined and with the necessary time and transportation, you may </p><p>complete a paper describing your attendance at a meeting of a local governing board, due and </p><p>discussed on April 2, 2015. I have attached a handout describing the assignment in more detail. </p><p>As an alternative, you may select and complete one of the exercises/policy questions noted in </p><p>bold italic font in the outline and summarized at the end of the outline. The intent is to become </p><p>something of an expert on a specific topic; of course I will be happy to meet with you </p><p>individually to give you some guidance on the topics. We of course will discuss the assignment </p><p>in more detail in class. </p></li><li><p>3 </p><p>In summary, grading will be based on: </p><p>Exam One 30% </p><p>Exam Two 30% </p><p>Exam Three 30% </p><p>Governing Board Report 10% </p><p> or </p><p>Policy paper 10% </p><p>EMU Writing Support The University Writing Center (115 Halle Library) offers one-to-one writing consulting for both </p><p>undergraduate and graduate students. Students can make appointments or drop in between the hours of 9 </p><p>a.m. and 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays. Students should bring a </p><p>draft of what theyre working on and their assignment. Check the schedule online for Center hours. </p><p>The UWC also offers small group workshops on various topics related to writing (e.g., Reading in College: </p><p>Tips and Strategies; Incorporating Evidence; Revising Your Writing). Workshops are offered at various </p><p>times Monday through Friday in the UWC. To register for a workshop, click the "Register" link from the </p><p>UWC page at http://www.emich.edu/english/writing-center. </p><p>The Academic Projects Center (116 Halle Library) offers one-to-one consulting for students on writing, </p><p>research, or technology-related issues. No appointment is required students can just drop in. The APC is </p><p>open 11-5 Monday-Thursday. Additional information about the APC can be found at </p><p>http://www.emich.edu/apc. Students visiting the Academic Projects Center should also bring with them a </p><p>draft of what theyre working on and their assignment sheet. </p><p>The UWC also has several satellite sites across campusin Sill Hall for COT students; in Marshall for </p><p>CHHS students; in Pray-Harrold for CAS students; in Porter for CHHS and COE students; and in Owen </p><p>for COB students. The locations of these sites and their hours will be posted on the UWC web site </p><p>http://www.emich.edu/english/writing-center. </p><p>Academic Integrity Academic dishonesty, including all forms of cheating and/or plagiarism, will not be tolerated in this class. </p><p>Penalties for an act of academic dishonesty may range from receiving a failing grade for a particular </p><p>assignment to receiving a failing grade for the entire course. In addition, you may be referred to the </p><p>Office of Student Judicial Services for discipline that can result in either a suspension or permanent </p><p>dismissal. The Student Conduct Code contains detailed definitions of what constitutes academic </p><p>dishonesty, and it can be accessed online at www.emich.edu/sjs </p><p>Classroom Management Issues Students are expected to abide by the Student Conduct Code and assist in creating an environment that is </p><p>conductive to learning and protects the rights of all members of the University community. Incivility and </p><p>disruptive behavior will not be tolerated and may result in a request to leave class and referral to the </p><p>Office of Student Services (SJS) for discipline. Examples of inappropriate classroom conduct include </p><p>repeatedly arriving late to class, using a cellular phone, or talking while others are speaking. </p><p>Students with Disabilities If you wish to be accommodated for your disability EMU Board of Regents policy #8.3 requires that you </p><p>first register with the Access Services Office (ASO) in room 203 King Hall. You may contact ASO by </p><p>telephone at (734) 487-2470. Students with disabilities are encouraged to register with ASO promptly as </p><p>you will only be accommodated from the date you register with them forward. No retroactive </p><p>accommodations are possible. </p><p>http://www.emich.edu/english/writing-centerhttp://www.emich.edu/apchttp://www.emich.edu/english/writing-centerhttp://www.emich.edu/sjs</p></li><li><p>4 </p><p>Course Outline </p><p>Week Of Topic and Readings </p><p>1/6 Course introduction, objectives, expectations and requirements; the "Tragedy of </p><p>the Commons;" why we need government, what is it, what is politics? The </p><p>Tragedy of the Commons </p><p>1/13 Studying state and local governments, approaches, issues, a comparative </p><p>perspective; an overview of local government arrangements. 1, 10. Birds Eye </p><p>View, CRC, parts 1-2, through page 22 </p><p>1/20-27 State governments in the federal system; diversity and uniformity; changing </p><p>federalism, intergovernmental relations; functions and roles of state units. State-</p><p>local relationshipsunitary arrangements in a federal system. 2, 12. </p><p>Compare the federal relationshipthat between the nation and the several </p><p>statesand the relationship between a state and its local government units. </p><p>What is the meaning of the full faith and credit clause and how is it applicable </p><p>today? </p><p>2/3 State Constitutions and local charters; meaning, nature and purpose of a </p><p>constitution or charter; patterns and principles in state and national constitutions </p><p>and local charters; Michigan's constitution; a typical local charter. 3. History of </p><p>the Michigan Constitution; Ann Arbor Charter </p><p>Find the city or village Charter of the community in which you live (or an </p><p>adjacent city or village) and read and react to it. How does it compare with our </p><p>most familiar fundamental law, the U.S. Constitution? </p><p>Why are state constitutions so much longer than the U.S. Constitution, and </p><p>what are the consequences of that length? </p><p>2/12 Exam 1 due, discussed in class on 2/17 </p><p>http://www.law.udmercy.edu/udm/index.php/10-law-library/47-history-of-the-michigan-constitutionhttp://www.law.udmercy.edu/udm/index.php/10-law-library/47-history-of-the-michigan-constitution</p></li><li><p>5 </p><p>2/10-17 Political participation and elections; state and national requirements governing </p><p>elections; voting procedures and patterns across state and local units; who votes, </p><p>why and why not? Direct democracy techniqueswhy do we have them, what </p><p>are the consequences (analysis of state ballot propositions), neighborhood </p><p>governance. 4. The Ballot Battleground; Reform of Michigan's Ballot </p><p>Question Process; Memo to Self: Dont Run for Office; Jungle Primary </p><p>Should we allow citizen initiatives, given that they are so easily commandeered </p><p>by big-money interests in an age where consulting firms contract to secure </p><p>petition signatures? Is it really about citizen action? </p><p>How do we apportion election districts locally and statewide in Michigan and in </p><p>your view should that be changed? What is the impact of gerrymandering on </p><p>the political process? </p><p>2/24 Winter Break </p><p>3/3-10 Political parties; party functions; nature of the party system; party organization; </p><p>nomination and campaign processes. Pressure groups; nature, role and impact of </p><p>interest groups; sources of influence; distinguished from political parties. 5. </p><p>Political Parties and Interest Groups </p><p>Identify the most important interest groups influencing state policy here in </p><p>Michigan. Why are they influential, perhaps more so than other groups? </p><p>3/19 Exam 2 due, discussed in class 3/24 </p></li><li><p>6 </p><p>3/17-24 Legislative bodies; the institution, role, authority and power; representative </p><p>governmentwhat does that mean? Structure, process and conflict in legislative </p><p>decision-makingwhy it is so hard to make law. 6, 11. Local Legislative Bodies; </p><p>CRC Term Limits; Full or Part Time Legislature. </p><p>Should we have a part-time legislature here in Michigan and what would that look </p><p>like? </p><p>Why do we have term limits here in Michigan and what are the consequences? </p><p>Would you recommend eliminating them? </p><p>In your view should we utilize at-large or district-based elections at the local level? </p><p>3/31-4/7 State and local executives; Governors, Mayors and Managersinstitution, role, </p><p>authority and power variations; other state and local elected officials; nature and </p><p>role of bureaucratic agencies; civil service; questions of accountability; </p><p>reinventing government. 7-8. State and Local Executives; Local </p><p>Administration/Bureaucracy; Yonkers Manager or Mayor; Privatization: Is </p><p>It Truly In the Public Interest? </p><p>What are the differences between the city manager and the strong mayor form </p><p>of government, and which is better? </p><p>Describe the advantages and disadvantages of contracting out for the </p><p>production of local government services. </p><p>4/2 Observation or Policy Assignments due, returned on 4/7 </p><p>4/14 The Courts and the judicial process; typical court system; selection of judges; the </p><p>nature of law; judicial policy-making. 9. </p><p>Why do we elect judges in Michigan, what are the problems that poses, and </p><p>what would you recommend as an alternative? </p><p>4/23 Final Exam due at scheduled class time, 11 am </p></li><li><p>7 </p><p>OHREN PLS 202 STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT </p><p>Policy PapersSummary </p><p>Students may select one, paper due 4/2/2015 </p><p> 1. Compare the federal relationshipthat between the nation and the several statesand the </p><p>relationship between a state and its local government units. </p><p>2. What is the meaning of the full faith and credit clause and how is it applicable today? </p><p>3. Find the city or village Charter of the community in...</p></li></ul>

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