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Institute of Government

Tennessee State University


Summer 2002


Course Number:                     PA 647


Title:                                       Seminar In Tennessee State Government


Course Credit:                        Three Credits


Instructor:                              Rodney E. Stanley, Ph.D.

Office: Avon Williams Campus, Suite F-13


Phone: (615) 963 – 7249: W

                                                            (615) 886 – 4542: H

Office Hours:  Tuesday 12:00 – 5:00

                        Thursday 12:00 – 5:00


Course Description:            This class explores the various theories and practices that have led to, and continue to dominate the study of Tennessee State Government. This seminar will be conducted in a manner that compares various processes, institutions and public policies found in Tennessee State Government to other state governments across the US.  Students will display their knowledge of Tennessee State Government in various reading, writing and oratorical assignments throughout the semester.


Course Objectives:            At the end of this course the student will be able to:


·        Inform others about the history and development of Tennessee State Government.


·        Create analytical reasoning techniques that the Tennessee State Government student may apply to their professional career as an administrator in a public or non-profit agency.


·        Establish communication skills that will assist the public administrative student in the various career endeavors associated with the management of public and non-profit agencies in Tennessee State Government.


·        Inform the student about emerging issues and trends impacting Tennessee State Government.


Topical Outline:            Political development and culture, the constitution, institutions in government, political processes, public policy, local government


Teaching Strategies:            Lecture, class discussion, individual presentations, book reports, and final exam.


Required Texts:


Lyons, William, John M. Scheb II, Billy Stair.  2002.  Government and Politics in Tennessee.  Knoxville: Tennessee University Press.


Gray, Virginia, Herbert Jacobs.  2001.  Politics In the American States: A Comparative Analysis, Seventh Edition.  Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press.


Course Requirements


Final Exam                                                100 points

One Book Report                                     100 points

Two Class Presentations (100 ea)            200 points

Participation/Attendance                         100 points

Total                                                            500 points


Grading Scale:  Final Grades will be premised on cumulative points as follows: A = 500- 440; B = 439 - 380; C = 379 - 300; D = 299 - 220; F = below 220.



Each student will be required to complete a final exam.  The exam will be take home and the student will have one week too complete the exam.  The student will be required to answer all the questions given in this assignment.  The main texts, as well as other sources outside the class on state government, will be used to answer the questions composing the final exam.


Book Reports:

Each student will prepare one book report for the class.  The book report will critique the author’s main arguments and provide an opinion of whether or not the student believes the book is valid for the subject of Tennessee State Government.  Each book report should be between 7-10 pages in length. 


*** All written reports and exams should use the following format: Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1” margins from left to right and top to bottom, and double spaced.  Each student should submit two copies of their papers, of which, one will be returned with the grade.  Make sure you number all pages in each written assignment you submit for a grade. Each paper should have a title page with the student’s name, class identification information and of course a title.

Class Presentations:


Each student will be required to assist in the presentation of the reading material at least once, and maybe twice in the semester (depending on the size of the class).  Groups of two to four individuals will be assigned to present the basic arguments of the literature assigned for that week and facilitate discussions regarding the literature.  Your presentations will be critiqued on how thorough you present the material, how well you project to the class, the amount of class discussion that results from your presentation (in other words try to be controversial it makes for better discussions), and the amount of time you use in your presentations (please try not to exceed 30 minutes in your presentations).  You will need to create a detailed outline for each chapter presentation to distribute to the class (this is required for all presentation).


1)      Organization – There is a structured format in which the student displays throughout the presentation.

2)      Planning – There is evidence of rehearsing and the presentation flows well and is properly paced according to time.

3)      Visual Aids – Adequate use of visual aids to assist in explanations during the presentation.

4)      Speaker Enthusiasm – Displayed adequate knowledge of the subject, and exhibited sufficient self-confidence during the presentation.

5)      Voice Projection – Good articulation, proper delivery rate, no distracting gestures (e.g., chewing gum, too many “uhs”, etc).



Students are expected to be present in order to participate in class discussions.  For every absence the instructor will deduct 10 points from the students participation and attendance grade. Excessive absences will lead to a substantial lowering of a student’s grade. General criteria used to assess class participation include:


1)      Content Mastery: Students must display an understanding of facts, concepts, and theories presented in the assigned readings and lectures.  This ability is the basis for all higher-level skills and must be made evident by classroom comments and/or response to questions.

2)      Communication Skills: Students must be able to inform others in an intelligent manner what she/he knows.  Ideas must be communicated clearly and persuasively.  Communication skills include listening to others and understanding what they have said, responding appropriately, asking questions in a clear manner, avoiding rambling discourses or class domination, using proper vocabulary pertinent to the discussion, building on the ideas of others, etc.

3)      Synthesis/Integration: Students must illuminate the connections between the material under consideration and other bodies of knowledge.  For example, one could take several ideas from the reading or class discussions and combine them to produce a new perspective on an issue, or one could take outside materials and combine them to create new insights.  Students who probe the interdisciplinary roots of the theories presented or who are able to view the author or the materials from several viewpoints demonstrate this skill.

4)      Creativity: Students must demonstrate that they have mastered the basic material and have gone on to produce their own insights.  A simple repetition of ideas from the articles will not suffice, nor will simply commenting on what others have said.  Students must go beyond the obvious by bringing their own beliefs and imagination to bear.  Creativity may be displayed by showing further implications of the material, by applying it to a new field, or by finding new ways of articulating the materials, which produce significant insights.

5)      Valuing: Students should be able to identify the value inherent in the material studied.  The underlying assumptions of the author should be identified.  Furthermore, students should be able to articulate their own positions by reference to basic underlying values.  Students must not simply feel something is wrong or incorrect; they must be able to state why, based on some hierarchy of values.  In either accepting or rejecting a position, the operative values must become explicit.

6)      General Enthusiasm and Interest in the Class: This can be shown by regularity of attendance and thoughtful insights given throughout the semester in class discussions.


Additional Readings:

Additional readings will be assigned throughout the semester to accompany chapters in the required texts for this class.  The instructor will provide these additional articles to the students approximately one week before the readings are due in class.


Note: Following explicit directions are an important aspect of graduate school training.  Therefore, it is important that the student follow the stated guidelines in this syllabus, throughout the course of this class, because failure to do so will result in point reductions.  Furthermore, it will probably be to your best interest to submit papers to me before the due date (at least two weeks), so I can make suggestions on how you might want to change your work in order to receive a higher grade.


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Any students who feel the need for academic accommodations due to a recognized disability by the TSU Handbook, will be given such adjustments only after the student goes through the proper channels at the university to receive such accommodations.  The TSU Handbook is a good place to start if you are unaware of the “proper procedures.”


*** Note: This syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.


Course Outline

Class Introduction


Class One

            Chapters 1 & 2, Government and Politics in Tennessee

Chapters 1 & 2 Politics In the American States: A Comparative Analysis

Issues: Political Development, political culture, the state constitution, the socioeconomic and political context of states


Class Two

            Chapters 3 & 4, Government and Politics in Tennessee

Chapters 5 & 6, Politics In the American States: A Comparative Analysis

Addition Readings: Legislative Professionalism and Influence on State Agencies

Addition Readings: Evaluating Changes In Florida’s Legislative Process:  Innovative Rules and Conservative Norms

Issues: The General Assembly, the Governor, intergovernmental relations


Class Three:

            Chapters 5 & 6, Government and Politics in Tennessee

Chapters 7 & 8, Politics In the American States: A Comparative Analysis

Issues: The State Bureaucracy, and the Judiciary


Class Four

            Chapters 7, 8, 9 & 10 Government and Politics in Tennessee

Chapters 3 & 4, Politics In the American States: A Comparative Analysis

Addition Readings: The South Carolina Confederate Flag!  The Politics of Race and Citizenship

Addition Readings: All About Race?  Electoral Politics In Mississippi

Issues: Political parties, interest groups, public opinion, campaigns and elections, the media


Class Five

            Chapters 14, Government and Politics in Tennessee

Chapters 9, 12  & 13, Politics In the American States: A Comparative Analysis

Issues: Taxing and spending, finance and economic development, economic regulation


Class Six

Chapters 11 & 12, Government and Politics in Tennessee

Chapters 10 & 11 Politics In the American States: A Comparative Analysis

Issues: Health, welfare, education the environment and family

Book Reports Due


Class Seven

Chapters 13, Government and Politics in Tennessee

Addition Readings (first edition chapter on Crime), Politics In the American States: A Comparative Analysis

Additional Readings: Moral Issues In American Politics

Chapters 14, Politics In the American States: A Comparative Analysis

Issues: Crime and punishment, family issues


Class Eight

Chapters 15, Government and Politics in Tennessee

Additional Readings, Chapter 2: The Evolution of Cities and Suburbs

Additional Readings, Chapter 3: Who Has The Power? Decision Making And Urban Regimes

Additional Readings, Chapter 11: The Politics Of Metropolitan Government

Issues: local government policy, politics and administration


Class Nine

            Final Exams Due



Student Presentation Evaluation Forms


100            Superior, outstanding                            75            Not quite what was expected

95        Very Good                                       70            Less than expected

90        Much Better Than Expected                      65            Much less than expected

85        Better Than Expected                         60            Considerably less than expected

80        What was expected                           59 - 0            Pure charity


Name: ________________________________________________________________


Topic: ________________________________________________________________


Factor                                      Strong                                                 Weak

                                                            Comments:                                           Comments:


1) Organization (20)                              _______________________________________


2) Planning (20)                              _______________________________________


3) Visual Aids            (20)                              _______________________________________


4) Speaker Enthusiasm (20)                  _______________________________________


5) Voice Projection (20)             _______________________________________



Overall Grade: _____________ (100/Perfect Score)