L.A. Pierce College

Political Science 1


Email: hollankd@pierce.laccd.edu

(818) 710-4434, ext. 5265



Course Description: To study the United States Government via the major documents (such as the U.S. Constitution), principles, institutions and policies of the American Federal System.



Required Text(s):

Cummings & Wise (CW); Democracy Under Pressure; 9th Edition

Field & Sohner (FS); California Government and Politics Today; 9th Edition

(or latest editions)



Recommended (any one of the following):

Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Time, Newsweek, L.A. Weekly or New York Times. Also, watch KCET/PBS Life & Times. In addition, watch CSPAN and CSPAN2 and listen to KPFK, NPR, KCRW. Should be available on Campus and the Internet. To be used as a resource for current affairs.



Week 1: Topic: The Study of Politics: Theories, & Models of Politics.

Readings: CW Chapter 1, FS Chapters 1-4



Week 2: Topic: The Study of Politics: Public Opinion and Political Parties.

Readings: CW Chapters 6, 9; FS Chapter 6



Week 3: Topic: Political Interaction: Interest Groups, Lobbyists & the Media

Readings: CW Chapters 7, 8; FS Chapter 5

Week 4: Topic: The Role of the Lobbyists & Media in Politics: The Power Game (video).

Prepare for Exam #1!


Week 5: Topic: Exam #1 (date subject to change if necessary)

Concepts of Federalism & Constitutionalism

Readings: Declaration of Independence & U.S. Constitution (Appendix section, A-1 & A-4)

Readings: CW Chapters 2-3


Week 6: Topic: Concepts of Federalism & Constitutionalism, The Role of Water in Politics (Cadillac Desert)

Week 7: Topic: Political Interaction: Role of Campaigns & Elections.

Readings: CW Chapters 10-11; FS Chapter 7

Constitution assignment due!

Prepare for Exam #2.



Week 8: Exam #2. (date subject to change if necessary)


Week 9: Topic: Governing Institutions: The Presidency & The Power Game: the Presidency

Readings: CW Chapter 13; FS Chapter 9


Week 10: Fall Semester: Go to Week 11 for topic and readings

Spring Semester: Spring Break--no classes this week!

Week 11: Topic: Governing Institutions: The Congress

Readings: CW Chapters 12: FS Chapter 8

Week 12: Topic: Governing Institutions: The Bureaucracy & Judiciary

Readings: CW Chapter 14-15; FS Chapters 10-11


Week 13: Topic: Exam #3. (Date subject to change if necessary.)



Week 14: Topic: Civil Rights & Civil Liberties

Readings: CW Chapters 4,5

Week 15: Topic: Public Policy & Political Economy

CW Chapters 17-18; FS Chapters 12-15


Week 16: Topic: Foreign Policy.

Readings: CW Chapter 16

Web quizzes, Movie Reviews and Comparative Essays are due this week.

Week 17: Final Exam: Please refer to the Final Exam Schedule of the Schedule of Classes.




Grading Requirements:

Grades are determined by your performance on the Constitution assignment (50 points), Midterm exams (100 points each) and on the Final Exam (200 points). There are NO make-ups for missed exams. The Comparative Essay will replace your lowest Midterm score, should you decide to write one. Remember, any student who misses a Midterm MUST write the Comparative Essay to replace the missed exam. However, should any student miss more than one exam, it is strongly advised that the student drop the class, as the student becomes at risk of failing the class. Any student caught cheating will automatically fail the course.



The grading scale below is absolute and not based on a curve.

Constitution: A=45-50 B=40-45 C=30-40 D=25-30 F=Below 25


Midterms: A=90-100 B=80-89 C=60-79 D=50-59 F= Below 50

Final Exam: A=180-200 B=160-179 C=120-159 D=110-119 F= Below 100

Final Grade: A=495-550 B=440-494 C=330-439 D=275-329 F= Below 275










Final notes:

  1. Proper etiquette requires that all cell phones and beepers be turned off during class time, so please be considerate of the instructor and fellow students.
  2. Attendance will also be taken at every class session. Regular attendance is essential for the following reasons: Much of the material covered in lectures will not be found in the text and will benefit you on the exams. A bonus of 5 points will be given to students who miss no more than 3 classes. This might mean the difference on borderline grade cases!
  3. Extra Credit assignments are due one week before the Final Exam. None will be accepted at any time after the established due date. Assignments may be turned in via Email. However, it is the students responsibility to verify receipt of all emailed documents. The Instructor is not responsible for any electronic malfunctions. Good Luck!!!




Web Activities



Instructions: Using the website link, click onto the Web Activities. These activities are broken down by chapter number. Choose any one of the activities to do and complete the entire activity for credit. Each activity is worth five (5) points. You may do no more than five (5) activities per semester. All activities are due one (1) week before the final exam date. Have fun!


If the web page link is NOT working, use this address: