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CCOG for PS 203 Fall 2023

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Course Number:
PS 203
Course Title:
State and Local Government
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Examines state and local government policy formulation and outcomes on issues ranging from taxation to prisons, and education to environmental concerns. Focuses on Oregon state and local politics. PS 201, PS 202, and PS 203 can be taken in sequence. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Articulate the diversity of human experience and culture in relationship to how we think and interact with others with regards to controversies associated with state and local government policies.
  2. Organize information in conceptual frameworks using different methods of inquiry and analytical skills in order to discern meaning from ongoing study of state and local government policymaking structures and policy formulation.
  3. Analyze the roles of individuals and political institutions as these relate to contemporary problems and issues ranging from taxation to prisons and education to environmental concerns.
  4. Reason quantitatively and qualitatively using analytical skills expressed in both written and oral communication to address political problems at the state and local government levels in the U.S.
  5. Articulate personal value judgments while respecting different points of view, while practicing ethical and social requirements of responsible citizenship by participating in elections and other opportunities for action at the state and local government levels in the U.S.

Social Inquiry and Analysis

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to apply methods of inquiry and analysis to examine social contexts and the diversity of human thought and experience.

General education philosophy statement

Political Science is fundamental to helping students understand and act as more effective and empowered citizens. We contribute to the college and the wider community by examining critical questions about power and by preparing our students to be better citizens across the globe. Political science offers a variety of diverse approaches to the college and is strongly grounded in the sub-fields of American and Comparative Politics, International Relations and Political Theory. Our mission is to support educated and empowered students and to foster deep understandings of complex global and local issues. Our goal is to teach critical thinking and to expose students to the complex and diverse world that we live in.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

At the beginning of the course, the instructor will distribute a course syllabus which clearly includes the criteria for assigning course grades. The SAC assumes that instructors will assess student learning by using some combination of formative assessment tools which may integrate the following types of tasks into the course to assess student achievement of course outcomes in a fair, comprehensive, and holistic

  1. Exams comprised of essay and/or objective (like short answer) elements which require integration, application, and critical examination of course concepts, issues, and themes.
  2. Short analytical or application papers on specific concepts, issues, or themes.
  3. Term or research papers, using a variety of research strategies.
  4. Oral presentations resulting from group research, analysis, and critical evaluation.
  5. Participation in class discussions, role plays, case studies, workshops, and/or other activities.
  6. Response papers or journals reflecting on life experiences, events, and social/political phenomena.
  7. Service-learning tasks: involving service to community, reflection, and application of course criteria.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

After completing this course, the student should have a basic understanding of

  1. concepts including "elitism", "pluralism", and "hyper pluralism" as these may help explain political realities at the state and/or local levels in different parts of the United States.
  2. how policymaking structures operating on state and local levels are influenced by political parties, interest groups, and the impact of money upon campaigns for political office.
  3. selected case studies illustrating the dynamics of state and local government politics upon policy outcomes which impact all persons within the realm of a particular jurisdiction.
  4. the relationship of personal behavior and lifestyle choices to crises and conflicts which took place in the past, continue into the present, and may or may not be transcended in the future.
  5. how one's own values and actions impact what is seen as right and wrong, good and bad, and the prospects for a future to unfold that is more to one's liking.

Competencies and Skills:

  1. Write and communicate orally in a clear, organized, and effective manner.
  2. Think critically about current public policy issues and analyze complex social and political realities.
  3. Use varied and effective research techniques and strategies.
  4. Develop and refine group process skills, which may include listening, brainstorming, cooperating, negotiating, or otherwise communicating regarding shared tasks.
  5. Develop an ability to listen to and empathize with diverse perspectives and experiences.
  6. Integrate coursework with current events and trends through examination of popular media and various sources of news.
  7. Develop and practice active citizenship skills.

Approved Texts:
All texts are selected at the each instructor's discretion. However, successful past offerings of this
course and a desire to have some continuity of pedagogy among the instructors has encouraged the
adoption of the following text in its State and Local Version -- thereby encouraging students to complete
the entire PS 201, 202, and 203 sequence using the same textbook:
Government By the People (State and Local Version), by Burns, Peltason, Cronin, and Magleby
(Prentice-Hall Publishers, 2000).