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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Lloyd Jansen
POL S 382
Seattle Campus

State Government

Focus on the structures, processes, and policy outputs of state governments in the United States.

Class description

This course will present an overview and analysis of the histories, politics, structures, processes, policies, and administration of state governments within the federal system of the United States. Washington State government will receive especially close attention. The class will consider state governments as they are formally constituted and as they actually work, looking at interest groups and lobbying, campaign finance, electoral politics, policy development and implementation, ballot measures, legislatures, executives, judiciary systems, political personalities, and intergovernmental relations in our federal system. Through readings, class lectures, guest speakers, examination of news and editorials, class discussions, small group discussions, and writing assignments, students will also be exposed to a wide range of current issues in our state governments.

Student learning goals

Be able to understand the roles and responsibilities of local governments, states and the national government in our federal system, and the power relationships between them.

Be able to define federalism and understand how it contrasts with unitary government.

Be able to understand the roles, relationships, and powers of the principal institutions of state and local governments, both formally and informally.

Be able to articulate current political issues in state government, with emphasis on issues both nationally and in Washington state.

Be able to contrast different types of state constitutions and be able to explain constitutional reform.

Be able to understand the unique role of tribal governments in the United States political system.

General method of instruction

Classes will be a mix of lecture and discussion.

Recommended preparation

This class will complement classes American Goverment, but students need not have taken American Government classes to do well. A UW Canvas Web page will be set up by the time class starts.

Class assignments and grading

This is a W-Class. As such there will be a 10 page essay that will be submitted once, revised after grading, and resubmitted. There will be two exams. Summary and analysis sheets for assigned readings will be collected and graded on a credit/no credit basis.

Grades will be based on assignments, exams (two), and the essay.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Meera Roy
Date: 03/27/2013