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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: POSC 332
Course Title: The American Presidency
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: Presidential powers and their use and impact on American political life. Prerequisite: POSC 111.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): POSC 111.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered even Spring.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Any current edition of a text on the president or presidency covering all topics in the Topical Outline. Suggested texts are:

Presidential Leadership: Politics and Policy Making
By Edwards and Wayne (Wadsworth)
Understanding the Presidency
By Pfiffner, and Davidson (Pearson)
The Presidency and the Political System
By Nelson (CQ Press)
The Politics of the Presidency
By Pika, Maltaese, and Thomas (CQ Press)
Course Objectives
  • To understand and appreciate the various roles of the American president.
  • To understand the nature and impact of the presidential nomination and election process.
  • To understand the development of presidential powers during America’s past and how presidents have used those powers.
  • To understand the structure of the executive branch.
  • To understand the relationship the president has with Congress and the Supreme Court.
  • To assess the various leadership styles used by presidents to help achieve their goals.
    Measurable Learning
  • Describe the president’s Constitutional responsibilities and how those powers have evolved.
  • Explain in detail the presidential nomination and election processes.
  • Describe the basic structure of the executive branch, including the president’s staff, advisors, and other agencies within the executive branch.
  • Assess the relationship between the president and the other branches of government.
  • Evaluate the president’s role of making foreign and domestic policy.
  • Evaluate factors lading to presidential success or failure.
    Topical Outline: Note: A significant writing component is required for this course. The requirement may be satisfied by requiring students to submit a single type-written paper of twelve pages in length, properly cited, or by multiple assignments of equivalent length.
  • The Constitutional and historical development of the presidency.
    - The presidential selection process
    - Nomination (primaries, caucuses, convention, types of delegates)
    - Election: The Electoral College (historical development, problems and proposed solutions, etc.)
    - The president, the media and public opinion.
  • The structure of the executive branch (advisors, agencies, etc.) and the bureaucracy.
  • The powers of the president
    - Commander in chief
    - Chief Legislator
    - Chief Executive
    - Chief Diplomat
    - Head of State
    - President as party leader
  • Presidential policy making
    - Foreign Policy
    - Domestic Policy
  • Presidential leadership styles

    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 30

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: David Roebuck Date: August 5, 2014
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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