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Online classes

Effective: Early Spring 8-Week 2017/2018

POSC 332: The American Presidency

Course Description

Presidential powers and their use and impact on American political life.

Prerequisite: POSC 111

Proctored Exams: Midterm and Final



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Joseph A. Pika, John A. Maltese and Andrew C. Rudalevige. (2017). The Politics of the Presidency (revised 9th ed.). : Sage Publishing.
    • [ISBN-978-1-506-36779-8]

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.


Course Overview

Welcome to POSC 332, The American Presidency. The presidency is an institution in flux as never before. Its powers and responsibilities are briefly listed in the Constitution, but each president has changed the office, usually by assuming and exerting more power. We will look at the constitutional origins of the office, how presidents have viewed its powers, how they are nominated and elected, how they interact with their publics, how they lead, what their formal and informal roles are, how they work with the other branches of government, and how they make or influence domestic and foreign policy.

You will do this by using course content found in the textbook and other resources to guide your understanding of the current presidency. You will follow current events closely, apply course concepts and principles to them, and discuss them online; accordingly, you will be required to read a reputable daily newspaper (print or online) and regularly watch the news on television (online is acceptable). You may want to deepen your current events reading to include journals of opinion and commentary. An excellent non-partisan magazine is The Atlantic Monthly. A quality journal of conservative opinion is National Review. A quality journal of liberal opinion is The Nation. This is not an academic-reading-heavy course; however, it is an engagement-heavy course.

Many Americans have strong views about their presidents. You may have strong views as well. Good for you. Two notices: In this course, you are expected to 1) back up your points of view with facts and 2) keep your narratives civil and respectful.

Now is a very exciting time to study anything in American government and politics, but especially the presidency. Here we go.



Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.


Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the president’s constitutional responsibilities and how these powers and roles (written and unwritten) have evolved.
  2. Explain the presidential nomination and election process.
  3. Assess the various presidential leadership styles.
  4. Describe the basic structure of the executive branch.
  5. Assess the relationship between the president and the other branches of government.
  6. Evaluate the president’s role in making domestic and foreign policy.
  7. Evaluate factors leading to presidential success or failure.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 657-730 90-100%
B 584-656 80-89%
C 511-583 70-79%
D 438-510 60-69%
F 0-437 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (15) 150 21%
Weekly Analyses (8) 280 38%
Exams (2) 300 41%
Total 730 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 0 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 2 10
Weekly Analysis 1 35 Sunday
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 4 10
Weekly Analysis 2 35 Sunday
Proctor Information N/A
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 6 10
Weekly Analysis 3 35 Sunday
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 8 10
Weekly Analysis 4 35 Sunday
Midterm Exam 150
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 10 10
Weekly Analysis 5 35 Sunday
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 12 10
Weekly Analysis 6 35 Sunday
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 14 10
Weekly Analysis 7 35 Sunday
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15 10 Thursday/Saturday
Discussion 16 10
Weekly Analysis 8 35 Friday
Discussion 17 0 Saturday
Final Exam 150
Total Points 730

Assignment Overview

Discussions

Each week you will participate in two discussions. Initial posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Thursdays, with at least two responses due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of the assigned week.  In week 8, the responses are due at 11:59 pm CT Saturday, the last day of the course. Discussions are each worth 10 points each except for the first introductory discussion which is ungraded.

Initial posts and responses must be substantive.  The question must be answered completely and the answer must demonstrate comprehension of the assigned reading.  You are required to post your initial answer to the discussion before you can read other’s posts. Late posts are not accepted. 


Weekly Analyses

You will apply course concepts and principles to current events involving the presidency in a two page paper (minimum length, bibliography and title page not included in page count) using standard sourcing and citations rules. The assignment must be submitted to its respective course Dropbox.  They are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of the assigned week except for week 8 when the assignment is due by 11:59 pm CT Friday.  Late papers are not accepted.  You can use any citation style (APA, MLA, etc.) – just be consistent. Each activity is worth 35 points.


Midterm Exam

The Proctored Midterm Exam will be available beginning Monday of week 4 and must be completed by 11:59 pm  CT Sunday. It will cover course materials from weeks 1 through 4. This exam is worth 150 points. The format is 20 objective questions and a long answer essay. You will have a maximum of two hours to complete it. 


Final Exam

The proctored Final Exam will be available beginning Monday of week 8 and must be completed by 11:59 pm CT Saturday. It will cover course materials from weeks 5 through 8. This exam is worth 150 points.  The format is 20 objective questions and a long answer essay.  You will have a maximum of two hours to complete it.  



Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Week 1: Constitutional and Historical Development of the American Presidency
Readings
  • The Constitution of the United States (Appendix XXX in text)
  • The Politics of the Presidency – Chapter 1
  • The Federalist Papers #69 [link]
  • The Federalist Papers #70 [link]
  • “The Strict Constructionist Presidency” -- William Howard Taft, Our Chief Magistrate and His Power (Columbia U. Press, 1916), pp. 138-45 [PDF]
  • “The Stewardship Presidency” -- Theodore Roosevelt, The Autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt, Centennial edition (Scribners, 1913), pp. 197-200 [PDF] 
  • “The Public Presidency” -- Woodrow Wilson, Constitutional Government in the United States, (Columbia U Press, 1908), pp. 56-81 [PDF]
  • “The Prerogative Presidency” -- John Nicolay and John Hay eds., The Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, v. 10 (Francis Tandy Co., 1984), pp. 65-68 [PDF]
  •  Lecture:  The Constitutional and Historical Presidency

Note: If you are using Internet Explorer, the links to The Federalist Papers above direct to the main page of the book. Select the first link, "Read this book online," and then select the correct reading from the resulting table of contents.

Discussion 1
Introduce yourself to the class: Where you live, year in school, family, occupation or life situation, hobbies, why you are taking this class, etc. You are encouraged to respond to your classmates.
Discussion 2
Per the readings, which of the four theoretical approaches to the presidency is best?  Why?  Provide your reasoning. Also, define “best.”  Cite sources. 
Weekly Analysis 1
In your daily newspaper and news programs find and provide examples of how President Trump approaches the presidency – Strict constructionist? Steward? Public?  Prerogative? Depends on the issue? Write a two page analysis of his approach, citing sources. 
Week 2: Presidential Selection
Readings
  • The Politics of the Presidency – Chapter 2
  • Lecture: Presidential Nominations and Elections
Discussion 3
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current presidential nomination process?  Cite sources.
Discussion 4
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current presidential general election process? (Do not include the Electoral College.  We’ll save that for next week.)  Cite sources.
Weekly Analysis 2

From your textbook and daily paper and news program archives, describe, providing specific examples, demonstrating how the 2016 presidential election campaign was different from previous campaigns.  Write a two page analysis, citing sources.

Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.
Week 3: Presidential Selection (continued) and Presidential Relations with the Public
Readings
  • The Politics of the Presidency – Chapter 3 and review Chapter 2
  • Lecture: The Official Presidential Election and the President and His Publics   
Discussion 5
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Electoral College? Cite sources.
Discussion 6
Describe and analyze President Trump’s interaction with traditional and social media.  Cite sources.
Weekly Analysis 3
From your textbook and daily paper and news programs, describe how President Trump interacts with his publics. Provide and cite specific examples in a two page analysis, citing sources
Week 4: Presidential Styles of Leadership
Readings
  • The Politics of the Presidency – Chapter 4
  • Lecture: How Presidents Lead, and Why They Lead That Way
Discussion 7

Based on your reading, describe and analyze the character of President Trump. Discuss at least three components.  Cite sources.

Discussion 8
Based on your reading, describe and analyze the psychological characteristics of President Trump.  Describe at least three characteristics.  Cite sources.
Weekly Analysis 4
From your textbook and daily paper and news programs (archives as necessary) compare and contrast the management styles of President Barack Obama and President Trump.  Write a two page analysis that includes a discussion of their character, psychological profile, and management styles, citing sources. 
Midterm Exam
The proctored Midterm Exam will be available beginning Monday of week 4 and must be completed by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.  It will cover course materials from weeks 1 through 4.  This exam is worth 150 points. The format is 20 objective questions and a long answer essay.  You have a maximum of two hours to complete it. 
Week 5: Presidential Relations with Congress
Readings
  • The Politics of the Presidency – Chapter 5
  • Lecture: The President as Chief Legislator
  • Video: "Frank Buckley on Presidential Powers and the 'American Monarchy'"  (required for Discussion 9)
Discussion 9

View the video, “Frank Buckley on Presidential Powers and the ‘American Monarchy.’” Do you agree or disagree with the commentator’s point of view?  What is your evidence?  Cite sources. (Link to video provided in course.)[Note:  transcript available]

Discussion 10
Of the six factors that contribute to presidential success with his legislative program, which two are the most important?  Why?  Cite sources.
Weekly Analysis 5
From your textbook and daily paper and news programs, evaluate President Trump’s level of legislative success.  Provide and discuss specific examples in a two page analysis, citing sources.
Week 6: Presidential Relations with the Executive and the Judiciary
Readings
  • The Politics of the Presidency – Chapters 6 and 7
  • Lecture: The President as Chief Bureaucrat and Chief Magistrate
Discussion 11
Identify an issue currently before Congress and briefly analyze it from the perspective of presidential-congressional relations. Cite sources.
Discussion 12
How effective are presidential-judicial checks and balances?  Give two examples.  Cite sources.
Weekly Analysis 6
From your textbook and daily paper and news programs, identify and analyze an Iron Triangle that impacts your life.  Write a two page analysis, citing sources. 
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Week 7: The President and Domestic Policy
Readings
  • The Politics of the Presidency – Chapters 8 and 9
  • Lecture: The President and Domestic Policy
Discussion 13
Identify and discuss an economic issue that President Trump has proposed legislation to address. This can include legislation that has been signed into law.  Cite sources.
Discussion 14
Coordination of economic policy is complicated.  What are at least two ways that it might be simplified?  Cite sources.
Weekly Analysis 7
From your textbook and daily paper and news programs, identify a national economic issue and analyze it from both a macroeconomic and microeconomic perspective.  Write a two page analysis, citing sources.
Week 8: Presidents and National Security; Presidential Success
Readings
  • The Politics of the Presidency – Chapters 10 and 11
  • Lecture: The President and Commander-in-Chief and Chief Diplomat; Presidential Success
Discussion 15
Identify and discuss a national security or foreign policy issue that President Trump has proposed legislation to address.  This can include a treaty, an executive agreement, or legislation that has been signed into law.  Cite sources.
Discussion 16
Analyze President Trump’s performance to date.  Cite sources.
Weekly Analysis 8
From your textbook and daily paper and news programs (archived as appropriate), make a case for the success or failure of Barack Obama’s presidency.  Write a two page analysis, citing sources.
Discussion 17
What was the most important item you got from class?  What would you have liked more of?

Note that this discussion is optional, ungraded, and you need not respond to peers. I would, however, benefit from hearing your responses.

Final Exam
The proctored exam will be available beginning Monday of week 8 and must be completed by 11:59 p.m. CT Saturday of Week 8.  It will cover course materials from weeks 5 through 8.  This exam is worth 150 points.  The format is 20 objective questions and a long answer essay.  You will have a maximum of two hours to complete it.


Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism

Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.

Non-Discrimination

There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted. 

No late assignments accepted without prior approval.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.


Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.


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