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PS 557 Syllabus Spring 2012


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PS 557 Syllabus Spring 2012

  1. 1. PS 557 SPRING 2012KENTUCKY GOVERNMENT& POLITICSMWF 9AM-9:50AM CB 233 Course Hashtag: #ps557 (OpenClass)INTRODUCTION:PS 557 Kentucky Government and Politics focuses on understanding Kentuckyʼs distinctive politicalculture and history, the structure of Kentuckyʼs State and Local Governments, the role and function ofKentuckyʼs political parties and interest groups, and important public policy issues facing Kentucky. Whilewe will draw on Kentuckyʼs political history to understand these issues, we focus on contemporary politicsand situations and their potential impact on the futures of the Commonwealth. We will make a specialeffort to draw on current political events in the state, taking time to focus on, among other things, the 2011elections, the 2012 legislative session, and the current legal and political issues surrounding the Beshearadministration, Kentuckyʼs political parties and Kentuckyʼs economic development policies. It is the goal ofPS 557 to provide you with a critical understanding of Kentuckyʼs political past, the promise and peril of itspolitical present, and the potential for its political future. Whether you are a political spectator or have aninterest in participating in the state and/or local politics of Kentucky, this course is intended to make you awell-informed citizen of the state of Kentucky.The lens through which we will explore these themes will be through the conceptual and methodologicalframeworks of futures studies. Harold Lasswell is rightfully recognized as the father of policy studieswithin the discipline of Political Science. Less well-known, however, is Lasswellʼs interest in future studiesas a legitimate policy analysis and development framework. In Kentucky Politics this semester, we will bethinking about the possible futures of Kentucky as futurists. To this end, a good deal of our class time willbe spend learning methods of environmental scanning, systems thinking and analysis and scenariobuilding and applying them in a practical way to concrete issues in Kentucky politics and public policy.If you are looking for a class in the “horse race” approach to state and local and politics, this isnot the class for you. Rather than focusing on state and local governments and elections and aprocedural/institutional/constitutional approach to studying politics, we will be focusing on the systemsand political processes underlying these phenomena. To do so, we will largely focus on politicaltheoretical approaches to the subject, but always grounded in local case studies and histories. If youʼreinterested in interrogating the “why” and not just the “what” of Kentucky politics, then this is the course foryou. Be advised that the reading and work loads for this course will at times be quite heavy, and how wellthings go for you individually, and for the class as a whole, will depend to a large extent on how well youparticipate in class, to what extent you keep up with the readings, and how ready you are to discuss andcritique the subject matter and course materials. This will be an active learning environment, so be readyfor all that entails! Welcome aboard! 1
  2. 2. COURSE GOALS:By the end of this course, you should be able to: • Understand the basic structure of Kentucky state and local government and the historical trajectories that led to its current state. • Conduct basic policy and trends research through web research, library research and interviews. • Understand and articulate the potential impact of current STEEP trends, political events and policy decisions on the futures of Kentucky. • Apply a systems-thinking perspective to understanding current and historical events. • Apply basic futuring methods – such as STEEP analysis, cross-impact matrices, Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) and scenario-building – to a range of policy issues. • Conduct research and work collaboratively using a range of Web 2.0 technologies, including Google Apps and Twitter.INSTRUCTOR INFORMATION:Instructor: Dr. Christopher S. Rice Twitter: @ricetopherOffice: 518 King Building (Science Library) Email: csrice00@g.uky.eduOffice Phone: 257-4011 Skype: EduFuturistOffice Hours: By Appointment (via Google Web: Calendar) in-person or by SkypeCOURSE REQUIREMENTS:Grades and Examinations: Your final course grade will be based on three (3)components: • Class Preparation & Participation – 30% • Systems Thinking Paper – 20% (DUE March 7) • Scenarios Project – 50% (DUE May 3)These three components will be graded on a 0-100 point scale. Your final numerical grade for the courseis determined by the following formula: GRADE = .3*(Class Preparation & Participation%) + .2*(Systems Thinking Paper%) + .5*(Scenarios Project%)Your final letter grade is determined as follows: A=90-100 points, B=80-89 points, C=70-79 points, D=60-69 points, and E=0-59 points. This course is not graded on a “curve.” Undergraduate students will be thprovided with a midterm grade via MyUK after March 9 .Course Readings: The following books are required for this course: • Penny Miller, Kentucky Politics and Government. ISBN: 978-0803282063 • Donella Meadows, Thinking in Systems: A Primer. ISBN: 978-1603580557 • Additional readings will be posted to the OpenClass site or linked to on the web. 2
  3. 3. Class Participation & Preparation: Because this course is designed around acollaborative research and learning approach, attendance is absolutely necessary to your success, aswell as that of the course. You will be expected to come to each class session having completed allreadings for that class period and to have prepared a response (approximately 1-2 pages) to orcompleted the assignment from that day’s prompt (which will be posted on OpenClass). You must submitthe response/assignment using OpenClass (or Google Apps, depending upon the prompt) no later than12am the day of each class session. I also strongly encourage you to bring (if you have access to one)your laptop, tablet/iPad or internet-capable phone to class EVERY DAY. Class time will not be spentpassively listening to lectures; rather we will be engaged in active learning almost every class session,including research and data analysis. An internet-capable computing device will prove to be of high valueto you in this regard. If you do not have access to OpenClass through a laptop, tablet or internet-capablephone during class, you should print out a copy of your response and bring it to class that day.Furthermore, we will be using Twitter as a “backchannel” both during and outside of class. You areencouraged to use Twitter both during and outside of class to share links and research you find useful,brief reactions to the scheduled course readings, comments on class activities, and to, more generally,collaborate with your research team members and fellow classmates. You will be graded on the both thequantity and quality of your contributions – both in and out of class – to our exploration of the readings,data and other course work. A rubric outlining how participation and preparation will be graded will beposted on the OpenClass site by August 18.You should come prepared every day to be an active participant in the course, working on courseactivities, arguing for your own perspectives on the course material, listening to the viewpoints andarguments of other class members and then engaging with them and the instructor in an informed,thoughtful and considerate manner. If you feel that you cannot devote the time to this course that isexpected (2.5 hours in-class + 8-10 hours out of class per week), then you may want to consider droppingthe course. For those of you willing to invest the time, however, I promise you a rewarding experience!Class preparation & participation counts for 30% of your total course gradeSystems Thinking Paper: There will be a 6-8 page paper assignment assessing yourunderstanding of systems thinking and analysis, worth 20% of your total course grade. The paper topicwill be posted to the OpenClass site on February 29 and must be submitted using OpenClass no laterthan 12am, March 7.Kentucky Futures Scenario Project: The largest part of your work for the class thissemester will be the production of a scenario document examining potential futures for theCommonwealth of Kentucky in 2032. Prior to Spring Break, we will divide the class into research teamsand I will provide the scenario project details. Each student should expect to contribute at least 3500words to the text portion of the project, as well as contributing research, bibliographic work, photos, video,infographics, editing, etc. Your work for this project will constitute 50% of your course grade. While youwill be graded primarily on your individual work, a portion of your grade will be determined by the overallquality of the scenario project as well as an evaluation of your contribution to the group effort by yourfellow teammates. In other words, both your work as an individual and as a group member is important!All work on the scenario project must be completed and posted to OpenClass by 12:30pm, May 3, 2012.Full details of the project will be posted to OpenClass prior to Spring Break.OpenClass: This semester we will be using OpenClass for our course Learning ManagementSystem (LMS) instead of Blackboard. OpenClass is a new LMS developed by Pearson that enjoys heavyintegration with Google Apps.

In order to use this collaborative tool, you will be required to have aUniversity of Kentucky Google Apps account ( Most of you will have acquired thisaccount when you transitioned to cloud email last summer. For those of you who have not, please go to, log in with your LinkBlue ID and password and set up your Google Apps 3
  4. 4. account there. You may create a Google Apps account even if you chose to create a MicrosoftWindowsLive account during the cloud email transition.

To enter our OpenClass course site, please go to and log in with your Google Apps account. Then click on the OpenClass linknear the bottom of the list of available apps. You will then be taken to your OpenClass dashboard. Selectour course from the list on the left and you will be taken to our course website.

The University of Kentuckyis engaged in an OpenClass pilot this semester as a design partner with Pearson to help improveOpenClass for future use. OpenClass is what is often referred to as a “beta release,” meaning that theproduct is not as finished or flawless as a final release. As a result, we may, from time to time, encounterissues or quirks in OpenClass. Pearson and UKIT are providing close support to our course this semesterfor the pilot, so any issues should (hopefully!) be resolved quickly. Rest assured, you will not be penalizeddue to any failure or error on the part of Pearson or OpenClass. If you have an issue with OpenClass,please let me know and contact the UK Help Desk (218-HELP) immediately.COURSE POLICIES:Classroom Standards: I expect all students to behave in a professional manner during classtime. This means coming to class on time and being ready to start class at 9am. It is disrespectful tome and to your fellow students to come late and disrupt class, so be on time. I will not tolerate chronictardiness, and if you arrive to class more than 5 minutes late, you may be asked to turn around and leave.Also, unless you have obtained prior approval from me, you may not leave class early. Furthermore, I donot tolerate rude and disruptive classroom behavior. During class, refrain from engaging in non-relevantand distracting side-conversations, reading a newspaper, doing crosswords, sudoku or otherpuzzles/games, sleeping, non-class-related text messaging or other cellphone use, or listening to youriPod or other .mp3 players. Laptops and other internet access devices ARE permitted in class for takingnotes and looking up material relevant to that dayʼs work on the internet. Please do not abuse thisprivilege by using your internet access device to Facebook, do email, shop online or play games. Ireserve the right to dismiss from class any student in violation of these policies.Email Policy: You may always feel free to contact me via email. However, I do have a few generalguidelines you must follow when doing so. Always begin the subject line of an email to me with “PS557:”. This will put your email into the appropriate inbox, allowing me to respond to your email in a timelyfashion. Emails that do not have “PS 557:” at the beginning of the subject line may not receive aresponse. Also, emails are NOT text messages/IM communications. When emailing me you should openthe email by addressing me as Dr. Rice, identifying who you are and which course you are in (and at whattime the course meets), concisely providing the nature of your problem/request, and then signing off withyour name. If you have followed these directions, you may expect a response within 48 hours of itsreceipt. If you have a pressing emergency, you should speak to me during office hours, before or afterclass, or by phone. As a final note, I will NOT provide your grades (nor discuss any personally-identifiablegrade information) by email or over the phone.Twitter Policy: While I do not follow students on Twitter, I will always see Tweets sent using@ricetopher or the course hashtag #ps557. I check Twitter often throughout the day and will generallyrespond to Tweets within 24 hours. While Twitter is a more informal mode of communication, I still insistthat you treat me and other members of the class with respect when communicating via these channels,just as you would during an in-class discussion. I will NOT provide your grades (nor discuss anypersonally-identifiable grade information) by Twitter. Remember: messages sent to me on Twitter, usingthe course hashtag are publicly available. If you need to speak to me about a private matter, please useyour U.K. email account or speak with me face-to-face. If you have privacy concerns while using Twitter,You DO NOT have to use your real name when crating an account. Simply create an account with ausername that cannot be connected to you and do not use your real name on the profile or in your 4
  5. 5. messages. Please let me know what username you will be using for the course so that I may note it in thegradebook and give you credit for your work.Office Hours: I will be scheduling several office hours each week, though the times and days forthese will vary as we find what works best for this class. You may sign-up for office hours at any time byvisiting my Google Calendar and selecting one of the available slots there. You have the option of withercoming to my office in 518 King at that time or by contacting me on Skype and using video chat.Disputing Exam and Research Project Grades: Should you wish to dispute thegrading of an exam or your research project, you may submit a written grievance. Your grievance shouldidentify the question/answer in dispute and provide arguments supporting your position. The appeal mustbe submitted by stapling your written grievance to your exam or research paper and personally giving thisto me within one class period following the return of the exam or research project. I will provide a writtenresponse to your grievance within one week of its receipt.Excused Absences: The University defines the following as acceptable reasons for excusedabsences: illness of the student or serious illness of a member of the studentʼs immediate family; death ofa member of the studentʼs immediate family; trips for members of student organizations sponsored by anacademic unit, trips for university classes and trips for participation in intercollegiate athletic events; majorreligious holidays; any other circumstances which the instructor finds reasonable cause fornonattendance. I reserve the right to require documentation for any excused absence. It is the studentʼsresponsibility to notify me before any absence if possible, but no later than one week following theabsence in any case. It is the studentʼs responsibility to provide proper documentation and notification inall cases. See Student Rights and Responsibilities, Part II, Section for UKʼs policy on excused absences.Late Assignments: University policy will be followed regarding all make-up exams and writingassignments. Make-up exams and writing will only be allowed for excused absences. For definitions ofthese terms, please consult the Student Rights and Responsibilities handbook.A Brief Note on Cheating & Plagiarism and Academic Integrity:Please see the home page for the Office of Academic Ombud Services ( for adefinition of plagiarism, how to avoid plagiarism and UKʼs new academic offense policy. See also StudentRights and Responsibilities, Part II, Section 6.3 ( forUKʼs policy on academic integrity.Classroom and Learning Accommodations: If you have a documented disabilitythat requires academic accommodations, please see me as soon as possible during scheduled officehours. In order to receive accommodations in this course, you must provide me with a Letter ofAccommodation from the Disability Resource Center (Room 2, Alumni Gym, 257‐2754, email for coordination of campus disability services available to students withdisabilities.One Last Thing – Dropping the Course: Not that I hope you choose to leave ourlittle soiree, but there are a couple of dates you should keep in mind should the need arise. The last dayto drop this course without it appearing on your transcript is February 1, 2012. The last day to withdrawfrom the course is April 6, 2012. 5
  6. 6. COURSE SCHEDULE (TENTATIVE):NOTE: All items in the Course Schedule are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor. Youare responsible for all announced changes, so come to class and visit the course website often. See theOpenClass site for readings & prompts assignments.Introduction to Kentucky Government and PoliticsIntroduction to Kentucky Politics and Government (January 13)January 16 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – NO CLASSESKentuckyʼs Political Culture and Constitutions (January 18,20,23)The Kentucky Legislature (January 25,27,30)The Kentucky Governor and Executive Branch (February 1,3)The Kentucky Judiciary (February 6)Local Government (February 8)February 10 – NO CLASSEconomic Development (February 13,15,17)Systems Thinking and AnalysisDiscussion of Thinking in Systems: A Primer (February 20-March 2)In-Class Systems Mapping (March 5,7)March 7 – Systems Thinking Paper DUESpring Break (March 12,14,16) –– NO CLASSIntroduction to Futures StudiesIntroduction to Futures Studies (March 19,21)STEEP Analysis & Environmental Scanning (March 23,26)Cross-Impact Matrices (March 28,30)Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) (April 2,4)Scenario Building (April 6,9,11)Thinking About the Futures of KentuckyThinking about The Big Project: The Futures of Kentucky (April 13)Futuring – Combination of Policy & Data Analysis, Readings Discussions, Visits from Subject MatterExperts, and Scenario Labs (April 16-27)May 3 (12:30pm) – Scenario Project Work DUE 12:30pm 6