Western Texas College
Department of Social Sciences

  1. Basic Course Information
    1. Course description - Origin and development of the U.S. Constitution, structure and powers of the national government including the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, federalism, political participation, the national election process, public policy, civil liberties and civil rights.
    2. Prerequisites - Student should have a proficiency in reading and writing.
  2. Student Learning Outcomes. Upon successful completion of this course, students will: 
    1. Explain the origin and development of constitutional democracy in the United States.
    2. Demonstrate knowledge of the federal system. 
    3. Describe separation of powers and checks and balances in both theory and practice. 
    4. Demonstrate knowledge of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government. 
    5. Evaluate the role of public opinion, interest groups, and political parties in the political system.
    6. Analyze the election process. 
    7. Describe the rights and responsibilities of citizens 
    8. Analyze issues and policies in U.S. politics. 
  3. Major Course Requirements
    1. Exams:  There will be three to four major exams spaced throughout the semester. Exam questions may include any combination of the following: True/false, multiple choice, fill in the blanks, short answer, and essay.
    2. Writing Assignments: There will be multiple writing assignments spaced throughout the semester.
    3. Collaborative Exercises: There will be multiple collaborative exercises spaced throughout the semester. Each of these assignments will require you to work with your peers analyzing documents, articles, and other information relating to the study of government.
  4. Information on Books and Other Course Materials
    1. American Government and Politics Today, 2017-2018 Edition, Ford, Bardes, Schmidt, Shelley. Wadsworth/Cengage Publishing.  ISBN: 13-978-1-337-09919-6
  5. Other Policies Please refer to the WTC Course Catalog for the following:
    1. Campus Calendar
    2. Final Exam schedule
    3. How to drop a class
    4. Withdrawal information
    5. Student Conduct/Academic Integrity
    6. Students with disabilities
  6. Course Organization & Tentative Schedule*



    Reading Assignments

    WEEK 1

    Course Introduction


    WEEK 2

    Introduction to Government & Democracy

    Schmidt, Chapter 1
    Taking Sides Issue

    WEEK 3

    The Constitution

    Schmidt, Chapter 2
    Taking Sides Issue

    WEEK 4


    Schmidt, Chapter 3
    Taking Sides Issue

    WEEK 6

    Political Ideology & Political Socialization

    Schmidt, Chapter 6
    Taking Sides Issue

    WEEK 7

    Political Parties & Interest Groups

    Schmidt, Chapters 7&8
    Taking Sides Issue

    WEEK 8

    Campaigns and Elections

    Schmidt, Chapters 9  & 10
    Taking Sides Issue

    WEEK 9

    Public Opinion & the Mass Media

    Schmidt, Chapters 6  & 11
    Taking Sides Issue

    WEEK 10

    Civil Liberties & Civil Rights

    Schmidt, Chapters  4 & 5
    Taking Sides Issue

    WEEK 11

    Legislative Functions 

    Schmidt, Chapter 12
    Taking Sides Issue

    WEEK 12

    Executive Functions

    Schmidt, Chapter 13
    Taking Sides Issue

    WEEK 13

    Judicial Functions

    Schmidt, Chapter 15
    Taking Sides Issue

    WEEK 14-15

    Public Policy

    Schmidt, Chapters 16-18
    Taking Sides Issue

    WEEK 16

    Final Exam



*The above schedule, policies, procedures, and assignments in this course are subject to change.


Last Modified: August 16, 2017