Approved by Faculty Senate

UNIVERSITY STUDIES COURSE PROPOSAL

DEPARTMENT OR PROGRAM
Political Science

COURSE NUMBER
221

SEMESTER HOURS
3

FREQUENCY OF OFFERING
Annually   

COURSE TITLE
State and Local Government

CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION
An examination of the structure and policies of state and local governments in the U.S.
and the relationships among national, state and local governments in the areas of
education, welfare, criminal justice, economic development and environmental
protection.

This is an existing course previously approved by A2C2

This course would satisfy arts and sciences-social science

Department contact person
James Bromeland

General course outcomes

    1.  To gain a perspective of the role of states in the federal system.

    2.  To be able to think analytically and systematically in evaluating the
          financing of state and local governments.

    3.  To gain an understanding of the institutional arrangements and processes
         of state and local governments.

    4.  To be able to explain why policies differ among the states.

    5.  To gain an understanding of the relationship among governments at the
         national, state and local level.

Course outcomes

a)    Understand humans as individuals and as parts of larger social systems
Participation in state and local politics is analyzed, including voting behavior, the role of
political parties, and of interest groups in shaping state and local policies.

b)    Understand historical context of social science
Theories of American federalism, both empirical and normative are presented and
discussed.

c)     Identify problems and frame research questions relating to humans and
        their experience
Students will be expected to explains state to state difference in public policy, and to
explain the relationships among state local and national governments.

d)    Become familiar with the process of theory building and theoretical
       frameworks used by the social sciences
Students will become familiar with current research that attempts to explain
developments in public policy by finding correlates of policy differences and building
casual models.  Students will also evaluate current policies of state and local governments
using accepted models of policy evaluation.

e)  Understand research methods used by the social sciences
Simple and multiple correlation are used to explain state tot state differences in public
policy.

f)    Describe and detail discipline specific knowledge and its application
The influence of political sub culture, economic factors, and political factors on public
policy is analyzed.

g)    Understand differences among and commonalties across humans and
       their experience, as tied to such variables as gender race
       socioeconomic status, etc.
Gender, race and other socioeconomic variables are presented as possible explanations
for state to state policy differences. State and national pollicies intended to promote racial
and gender equality are analyzed.

 

WINONA STATE UNIVERSITY
POLITICAL SCIENCE 221
STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

SAMPLE SYLLABUS

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
This course focuses on the role of the states in the federal system, the
institutional arrangements and processes of state and local governments, and
the public policy issues facing state and local governments.

COURSE OBJECTIVES:
This course will satisfy three semester hours of the university studies
requirement for social science.  The following are expected course outcomes:

    a.    understand humans as individuals and as parts of larger social
           systems;

    b.    understand the historical context of the social sciences;

    c.    identify problems and frame research questions relating to humans
           and their experience;

    d.    become familiar with the process of theory-building and theoretical
           frameworks used by the social sciences;

    f.     describe and detain discipline-specific knowledge and its applications;

    g.    understand difference among and commonalties across humans and,
           their experience, as tied to such variables as gender, race,
           socioeconomic status, etc.

    Additional outcomes include the following:

    1.     To gain a perspective of the role of states in the federal system.

    2.    To be able to think analytically and systematically in evaluating
           proposed solutions to the financial problems of state and local
           governments.

    3.    To gain an understanding of the institutional arrangements and
           processes of state and local governments.

    4.    To be able to explain why policies differ among the states.

    5.    To gain an understanding of the relationships among governments at
           the national, state, and local level.

TEXTS:
Dresang and Gosling, Politics and Policy in American States and Communities.
Bruce Stinebrickner, Annual Editions

METHODS OF INSTRUCTION:
We will use informal lectures and class discussion.

REQUIREMENTS
  
1.    Attendance and participation is required.   This is a minimal
           requirement for the course.   Excessive unexcused absences will result
           in the student receiving no academic credit, regardless of performance
          on exams.

    2.    Students will be expected to come to class prepared to discuss assigned
           topics.  This means having read at least the assigned readings.  Students
           are also expected to do additional reading on their own in order to
          contribute to class discussions.   Quizzes may be given to assure that all
         students are meeting this requirement.

    3.    Each student will analyze a current state or local issue.  Using
           newspaper reports, interviews, attendance of public meetings, or other
           methods, the student will gather information and conduct an analysis
           to be presented to the class.   Each student will also prepare a 3-5 page
           paper making a policy recommendation on the issue studied.  With the
          approval of the instructor, students may work together on teams of 2-3
          members on this project.

EVALUATION:
Evaluation will be based upon the following:

    1.  Presentation (25%)

    2.  Paper (25%)

    3.  Mid Term Exam (25%)

    4.  Final Exam (25%)

COURSE OUTLINE AND ASSIGNMENTS
1. THE IMPORTANCE OF STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
            Chapter 1
            Social science learning outcomes: a, b,c

2.  THE ENVIRONMENT OF STATE AND LOCAL POLITICS
            Chapter 2-4, Stinebrickner: Articles 1, 2,4
            A.  Cultural setting
            B.  Socioeconomic setting
            C.   Intergovernmental Relations
            D.  Constitutional framework
           Social science learning outcomes: a,b,c,g

3.  POLITICAL PARTICIPATION
           Chapter 6-8, Stinebrickner: Articles 8,11,14-16
           A.  Voting
           B.  Political Parties
           C.  Interest Groups
           Social science learning outcomes: a, c,d, e, f, g

4.  INSTITUTIONS OF STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
          Chapters 9,10,12,13, Stinebrickner:   Articles, 17-20, 23-25, 28
           A.  Governors and the Executive Branch
           B.  Sate Legislatures
           C.  Bureaucracies
           D.  State Courts
          Social Science learning outcomes: d, e, f

5.  LOCAL POLITICAL SYSTEMS
          Chapter 11, Stinebrickner:   Articles 30-36
           A.  Structure and setting of grassroots government
           B.  Federalism and local governments
           C.  Machines, bosses and reformism
           D.  Community power structures
           E.  Metro politics
           Social science learning outcomes: c, d, e, f, g

6. POLICIES OF STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
         Chapters 5, 14-18, Stinebrickner:   Articles 41-43, 44-47, 38-40,48-53
         A.  Education
         B.  Poverty and Welfare
         C. Fighting Crime
         D.  Environmental Policy and economic Development
         E.  Financing State and Local Government
         Social Science learning outcomes: c, d, e, f, g

7.  THE FUTURE OF STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
         Chapter 19
         Social science learning outcomes: c, d, f