POLS-101: American Government: Democratic Participation and Civic Engagement

Liberal Arts
Social Sciences
Political Science
Academic Level
Course Subject
Political Science
Course Number
Course Title
American Government: Democratic Participation and Civic Engagement
Credit Hours
Instructor Contact Hours Per Semester
62.00 (for 15-week classes)
Student Contact Hours Per Semester
62.00 (for 15-week classes)
Grading Method
Eligible to take ENG courses at HFC.
Catalog Course Description

Examines principles and problems of American political institutions, including the role of government and politics in society, the balancing of liberty with authority, and the theories of the state. Probes mechanisms of citizen empowerment and control (public opinion, pressure groups, political parties, elections), and formal structure. Public policy as a means to meet societal needs is analyzed and evaluated along with the tools that citizens can use to influence the public policy process. Also examines foreign and domestic public policy and contemporary events. Includes how to write effective arguments as well as how to formally present political arguments.

Goals, Topics, and Objectives

Core Course Topics
  1. American Democracy and Political Culture
  2. Constitutional Framework and Federalism
  3. Executive Branch
  4. Legislative Branch
  5. Judicial Branch
  6. Civil Liberties
  7. Civil Rights
  8. Political Parties and Interest Groups
  9. Political Socialization and Public Opinion
  10. The Mass Media Role in Politics and Public Policy
  11. Citizen Participation and Electoral Politics
  12. Civic Participation and Responsibility
  13. Domestic Economic Policy
  14. Educational and Social Policy
  15. American Foreign Policy
Core Course Learning Objectives (Separated)
  1. Identify and explain the institutions of U.S. government and the constitutional framework: The legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government.
  2. Describe the public policy process.
  3. Explain civil rights and civil liberties from a historical perspective, and analyze how civil rights and civil liberties impact American society today.
  4. Describe how American democracy is based on citizen participation and the electoral process.
  5. Discuss extra-constitutional institutions and their impact on Americans.
  6. Compose a strategic political participation action plan for articulating political voice.
  7. Distinguish between civil rights and liberties and civic responsibilities.
  8. Evaluate the norms and values of democratic societies and institutions with the actions of political participation.

Assessment and Requirements

Assessment of Academic Achievement

Each instructor will identify and implement appropriate methods to assess the achievement of the learning objectives for the course.

General Course Requirements and Recommendations

Civic Action Activity surrounding a contemporary political will be a central focus of this course. Students will develop a Strategic Plan for raising their concern/issue on the public and the political agenda at a local, state, national, or international level.


Common text book to be determined by Political Science Department.


General Education Categories
  • Social Sciences
Institutional Outcomes
  • Civil Society and Culture - U.S. and Global
MTA Categories
  • Category 4: Social Sciences
Satisfies Wellness Requirement

Credit for Prior College-Level Learning

Options for Credit for Prior College-Level Learning
Other Details

Determined by department.

Approval Dates

Effective Term
Winter 2022
ILT Approval Date
AALC Approval Date
Curriculum Committee Approval Date
Review Semester
Winter 2022