Political Science 570J:
"South Carolina
Government and Politics"

(Fall, 2013)

Course Conducted on-line;  two recorded modules each week (generally recorded on Fridays).

Instructor:    Mark E. Tompkins         Office:    328 Gambrell Hall

Office Hours: 
Mondays and Wednesdays (3:35 - 5:00)
Tuesdays (2:30 - 4:30)

Description of 
Course Conduct:
This course is designed to examine the government and politics of South Carolina in an active learning environment.  The course will be conduced on-line -- this year the course will begin building toward a revised format but will necessarily rely in important ways on existing resources.   There will generally be two modules presented each week, covering the usual meeting times for a course at this level.   (Note that Graduate Students will be required to complete additional work, commensurate with graduate level requirements.)
Lectures and more formal reading materials will draw on the South Carolina Governance Project in Civic Education as well as various other resources which are available in various formats.
The course will also explicitly draw on comparative materials – comparing and contrasting institutions of governance and public policies in this state with other states in the U.S. (both similar states and others, with very different characteristics).
You can expect some of the content in the course to evolve in response to unfolding events.ou ca
Course Objectives: The course will provide students with an understanding of contemporary government and politics in South Carolina. The course’s presentation will be designed to take advantage of our proximity to the state capital and contemporary issues and concerns to incorporate a more active and contemporary learning environment into the course. Students will investigate the major institutions of government – both the major branches of state government (executive,legislative and courts) and its bureaucracies, as well as the other institutions of government in thestate operating at the local level. Students will also learn more about the role played by other public actors, such as the media and interest groups, in shaping public life in the state.
In other words:
Students will learn the essential characteristics of major South Carolina political institutions,
... they will critically analyze the role of each institution in contributing to good governance,
... they will hear from some current and recent leaders in the state’s major political institutions in discussing contemporary issues in South Carolina (an unfolding process this semester),
... they will enhance their skills at written communication through the preparation of a major reflective essay, a final summative essay, and three short papers, involving critical feedback on each, and
... they will develop a better understanding of the relative performance and the comparative arrangement of major institutions between South Carolina and other states of the U.S.

of Student
Grades in the course will be based on five assignments and participation:
  • Three short essays (selecting from four possible topics -- including each of the three major institutions The General Assembly, The Governor, or the Supreme Court), or an interview with a local political leader (worth 15% each, or 45% of your final grade).
  • As a follow-on to several lectures, you will be asked to participate in an on-line conversation (in Blackboard's discussion board);  as with class attendance, you are expected to participate in at least 90% of these discussions.   If you do not, I may penalize you, just as I would for missing too many classes.
  • A project paper (worth 30% of your final grade), involving either
    A book project, based on a book  treating some aspect of South Carolina government and politics, or
    A course project (based on a contemporary issue, problem or policy area in South Carolina).
    • One aspect of this paper will involve posting key findings from the project, and followup postings on other project postings.
  • Final Summative Essay Assignment, completed before the end of the class (worth 25% of the grade);

Course Resources: Most of the assigned course readings will come from the South Carolina Governance Project in Civic Education. The primary book for the course will be Government in South Carolina, Charlie B. Tyer, ed. (Columbia, S.C.:   University of South Carolina Institute for Public Service and Public Policy Research, 2002).

Some additional materials will be provided in class.
A link to SCIWAY -- a page with many relevant links to S.C. resources.
A link to a SCIWAY page with S.C. Government resources on it.


A link to a page where materials on South Carolina politics are available:

Link to class schedule

You are expected monitor the e-mail account that you provide to me and the class schedule,
       which will be maintained on this public web site.
       You are responsible for anything posted once it has been available for four days. 
Class participation, including watching the class material distributed, is expected,
        since class presentations are an integral part of the course.  
If you miss a class meeting, it is your responsibility to obtain materials distributed in the class.
Assignments are due at the date and time noted.   If you wish to have your absence excused, or to delay completion of an assignmetn, you need to make a prior, explicit agreement with me.  If that is not done, please note that I reserve the authority and responsibility (in fairness to other students) for penalizing late material as I find appropriate.

      Electronic submissions of work must be made through "Safe Assignment" in Blackboard
              and are not completed until you have received a confirmation.

              Again, the only exceptions to due dates involve a prior,
              explicit agreement made with me. 

       If emergencies arise, they should be brought to my attention as soon as possible. 
Students are expected to do their own work;  
       Plagiarism is unacceptable and will be penalized as I find appropriate.
Your conduct should be governed by the Carolina Creed (available here) and
the associated University of South Carolina honor code (available here);
if it is not, I reserve the right to apply such penalties as I find appropriate.

Document URL:  http://people.cas.sc.edu/tompkins/Fall2013/PS570J.Home.html

  Published on September 4, 2013.
  Maintained by Professor Tompkins;     Contact Professor Tompkins by e-mail at: tompkins.mark@sc.edu.
  © Copyright 2013.  All Rights Reserved.