POLS 116 02

POLS 116 - State and Local Government

2021 Fall Syllabus, Section 02, CRN 17101

Course Information

You are responsible for knowing this material, so please read carefully. Any changes will be announced in a Blackboard Announcement. You will be responsible for any changes. Your continued enrollment in this course is your implicit agreement to abide by the requirements of this class.

Times and Location

Instructor Information

Renee Cardarelle

Assistant Professor

Email: renee.cardarelle@ndus.edu

Office: Gamble Hall 265

2021 Fall Office Hours:
T, W, Th 10:15 to 12:15 & 1:15 to 3:15

Office Phone: 701-777-3546

About the Professor

Renee Cardarelle is a visiting assistant professor. She has an ABD in Public Administration and has taught government courses at several universities. Her area of focus is civic engagement and its role in governance. 

Course Description

Structure, function and problems of state and local government; executive, legislative, and judicial processes; federalism and metropolitan government.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course students will be able to:

  1. Describe how State and Local Government fits within the governing system that is the United States.
  2. Distinguish characteristics of the fields of political science and public administration.
  3. Apply their knowledge of governance, including policy making and advocacy, in ways that produce meaningful impacts in their lives.

Course Materials

Governing States and Localities 7 or 8 edition

Kevin B. Smith, Alan Greenblatt

ISBN: 9781544361147 

Other resources as assigned in Blackboard.

Technical Requirements/Assistance

You will use Microsoft Word to complete assignments (files created using Pages in Apple can be saved as a Word file before submitting). Students are expected to use their official UND email in the course. Visit the Office 365 Email webpage for information on your UND email and how to download/install a free version of Microsoft Office. For technical assistance, please contact UND Technical Support at 701.777.2222. Visit the University Information Technologies (UIT) website for their hours, help documents and other resources.

Minimum Technical Skills Needed

In order to succeed in this course, at a minimum, you should be able to:

Insert minimum requirements expected and needed. In the bulleted example list below

  • Navigate in and use basic Blackboard functions
  • Download and open electronic documents
  • Create, save, and upload/attach electronic documents
  • Send, receive, and manage email

Course Logistics

Access and Log in Information

This course was developed and will be facilitated utilizing Blackboard. To get started with the course, please go to: http://blackboard.UND.edu and log in with your NDUS.Identifier, Username and Password. If you do not know your NDUS Identifier or have forgotten your password, please visit Your NDUS Account page on the UIT website.

Course Overview

Insert an explanation of how the course is organized for navigation in Blackboard. An example is shown below.

The course content is organized into an 8 week semester. Each week you will have a required reading and discussion assignment which are due that week (late assignments are not accepted). There will be three content tests and a final paper. In addition, students will have hands on experience with local/state government. Additional learning aids such as videos or websites will be provided in Blackboard to enhance the learning experience and support the various topics. 

Example and optional addition: What Should Students Do First?

Prior to the start of the first week you should have reviewed the syllabus and purchased the required book.

Example and optional addition: How Students Should Proceed Each Week for Class Activities

On the left side course menu in Blackboard there is a “Lessons” tab. Inside Lessons you will find weekly folders with all the required readings, videos, and assignments/activities for the week. 


Many services are available to UND students such as writing assistance from the UND Writing Center, free online tutoring from Smarthinking, and more. Visit the Student Resources page for more information. Students also have access to the UND Student Resource Site via Blackboard. It is recommended that you become familiar with the tools and tutorials within the site to better equip you in navigating the course.

Course Requirements/Expectations

Insert the course requirements/expectations. An example is posted below.

  1. The student will review the syllabus and course schedule posted in Blackboard.
  2. The student will access and follow all course instructions found in the weekly area of the Blackboard course.
  3. The student will participate in any lecture or discussion sessions on campus or online as provided and as part of this course.
  4. The student will complete and submit assignments, exams, quizzes, etc. by the dated noted and in the manner described in Blackboard and on the course schedule. We will use Central Standard Time for due dates and times.
  5. The student will participate fully and in a timely manner to get the benefit of learning from instructor and/or peers.
  6. The student will contact the instructor to discuss clarification of assignments, concerns about grades, interruptions to work due to personal issues, etc. The instructor is available to help students identify and remove barriers so that students are able to succeed.


All communication will happen through Announcements and Email.


Announcements will be posted in Blackboard on a regular basis. Be sure to check the class announcements regularly as they will contain important information about class assignments and other class matters.


You are encouraged to post your questions about the course in the FAQs discussion board forum in the Blackboard site or raise them in class if held synchronously or on campus. The Blackboard discussion board is an open forum in which you and your classmates are encouraged to answer each other’s questions. But, if you need to contact me directly, check the Faculty tab in Blackboard or the syllabus for my contact information. I will respond back to you within 48 hours during the week or weekend.

Discussion Forums, Blogs, & Wikis

These tools are an excellent way for you to engage with the course material and with your peers. Each week we will have at least one of these tools for you to participate in. You are expected to read all assigned discussion boards, blog posts, and/or wiki pages and provide thoughtful contributions.

Course Etiquette

When participating in class (online or in person) it is important to interact with your peers in an appropriate manner. Always use professional language (no netspeak) in your postings and emails. Please be respectful of your classmates at all times even if you disagree with their ideas.


Group Project (33%)

Online Discussion160

As this is an asynchronous, online, course your participation in the weekly discussions will be an integral part of your grade. Your posts should demonstrate that you have watched the lectures, read the assigned readings, have a clear understanding of the materials and have taken any applied actions that are required. You should provide evidence (references or citations) from the readings and/or other sources to support your arguments. You may also draw on your own personal experiences.

Each week you will need to make your first post to the discussion by Wednesday, midnight. Then contribute two additional posts, responding to at least 2 different classmates, by Sunday, midnight. The online discussion is worth 33.5% of your final grade. A “C“ will be given for doing the minimal amount of work, higher grades require a higher level of response. For example, a short post followed by two short responses to other students, even if it covers the topic, will receive a “C”. A post that is more in depth, with some thoughtful analysis and responses beyond the required 2 would be an “A”. A more detailed grading rubric will be provided in Blackboard. 

Exam (19%)


This course includes three quizzes tied to the reading material. These quizzes are open book and will have the same due date as the discussions, however, you will have until the end of the semester to complete all of them. You will not be penalized for late work. They are worth 18% of your final grade.

Project (17%)

Attendance at 3 Meetings80

One of the goals of this course is to apply your knowledge in a way that gives you a real-life impact. To do this, students will be asked to attend 3 local/state governing meetings. This assignment will be posted the first week of class. Students will have most the semester to locate and attend a meeting. They will provide a reflection of the meeting, materials that outline the meetings content and evidence of attendance. This assignment will be worth 16% of your grade.

Paper (31%)

Final Paper or Project150

Students will be required to complete a final paper or project that ties a real-life issue to local or state governance. Details for this paper/project will be available no later than November 15 and will be due at the end of the semester. This will be worth 32.5% of your grade and will replace a final exam.

Schedule of Topics and Assignments

Week of Reading(s): Due:
10/18 Discussion Post Introduction & Local Government Exploration 10/24/2021
10/25 Chapters 1 & 2 10/31/20121
11/1 Chapters 3 & 4
Test on Chapters 1-4
11/8 Chapters 5 & 6 11/14/2021
11/15 Chapters 7 & 8
Test on Chapters 5-8
11/22 Chapters 9 & 10 11/28/2021
11/29 Chapters 11 & 12
Tests on Chapters 9-12
3 Meetings Assignment Due on 11/28
12/6 Chapters 13, 14, 15, 16 discussion (You will be assigned two) 12/12/2021
12/13 Final Paper/Project 12/15/2021

Course Policies

Assignment Policy

Due dates for each assignment or activity will be posted in Blackboard.

Late Work

All weekly discussions are due by the due date – no exceptions. Each discussion requires references tied to the weekly reading. The quizzes are open book and assigned a due date but no points are taken off for late submissions. The 3 Meetings assignment and the Final Paper/Project are due by the end of the semester. All requirements for this course must be completed during the course dates. 

Instructor Responsibilities and Feedback

Insert responsibilities students can expect the instructor to meet. Example provided below.

  • The instructor will provide feedback on all assignments and group activities by Friday of the following week.
  • The instructor will be available during appointed Office Hours to answer questions, provide feedback, and offer advice.

Class Participation

Students are required to login regularly to the online class site. Students are also required to participate in the weekly class discussion and respond to at least 2 other students during that week. Late discussion posts will not receive a grade.


It is expected that students will complete all requirements for a course during the time frame of the course. For reasons beyond a student’s control, and upon request by the student or on behalf of the student, an incomplete grade may be assigned by the instructor when there is reasonable certainty the student will successfully complete the course without retaking it. The mark “I,” Incomplete, will be assigned only to the student who has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work up to a time within four weeks of the close of the semester, including the examination period, and whose work is incomplete for reasons satisfactory to his or her instructor. More information regarding UND’s Incomplete policy can be found on The Grading System webpage.

Copyright Notice

(c)Renee Cardarelle

University of North Dakota Policies & Resources

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a serious matter, and any deviations from appropriate behavior will be dealt with strongly. At the discretion of the professor, situations of concern may be dealt with as a scholastic matter or a disciplinary matter.

As a scholastic matter, the professor has the discretion to determine appropriate penalties to the student’s workload or grade, but the situation may be resolved without involving many individuals. An alternative is to treat the situation as a disciplinary matter, which can result in suspension from the University, or have lesser penalties. Be aware that I view this as a very serious matter, and will have little tolerance of or sympathy for questionable practices. A student who attempts to obtain credit for work that is not their own (whether that be on a paper, quiz, homework assignment, exam, etc.) will likely receive a failing grade for that item of work, and at the professor’s discretion, may also receive a failing grade in the course. For more information read the Code of Student Life.

Access & Opportunity, Disability Support and Medical Services

If you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need accommodations in this course because of a disability, please visit with me as soon as possible. My office hours are at the top of this syllabus. If you plan to request disability accommodations, you are expected to register with the Disability Support Services (DSS) office online, (180 McCannel Hall, 701.777.3425).

If you have a temporary medical condition such as a broken arm or recovering after surgery, you may be able to arrange for courtesy services. In most cases, it is expected that you will make your own arrangements for these services. Examples of courtesy services include access to a test scribe if the student has a broken hand; lift equipped van transportation when the student has a broken leg or temporary accessible parking for a student using crutches for a short period. If you are unable to make your own arrangements, please contact DSS (777-3425). Unlike services and/or accommodations provided to eligible students with disabilities, the University is NOT obligated to provide courtesy services.

Resolution of Problems

Should a problem occur, you should speak to your instructor first. If the problem is not resolved, meet with insert name of conflict mediator or ombudsperson if available in your department, otherwise delete this sentence. If the problem continues to be unresolved, go to the department chair, and next to the college Dean. Should the problem persist, you have the right to go to the Provost next, and then to the President.

Notice of Nondiscrimination

It is the policy of the University of North Dakota that no person shall be discriminated against because of race, religion, age, color, gender, disability, national origin, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, veteran’s status, or political belief or affiliation and the equal opportunity and access to facilities shall be available to all. Concerns regarding Title IX, Title VI, Title VII, ADA, and Section 504 may be addressed to: Donna Smith, Director of Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Title IX Coordinator, 401 Twamley Hall, 701.777.4171, UND.affirmativeactionoffice@UND.edu or the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Dept. of Education, 500 West Madison, Suite 1475, Chicago, IL 60611 or any other federal agency.

Reporting of Sexual Violence

If you or a friend has experienced sexual violence, such as sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, or sex-based harassment, please contact UND’s Title IX Coordinator, Donna Smith, for assistance: 701.777.4171; donna.smith@UND.edu; or visit the Title IX webpage.

Faculty Reporting Obligations Regarding Sexual Violence

It is important for students to understand that faculty are required to share with UND’s Title IX Coordinator any incidents of sexual violence they become aware of, even if those incidents occurred in the past or are disclosed as part of a class assignment. This does not mean an investigation will occur if the student does not want that, but it does allow UND to provide resources to help the student continue to be successful at UND. If you have been the victim of sexual violence, you can find information about confidential support services on the Title IX webpage.

UND Cares Program

The UND Cares program seeks to educate faculty, staff and students on how to recognize warning signs that indicate a student is in distress.

How to Seek Help When in Distress

We know that while college is a wonderful time for most students, some students may struggle. You may experience students in distress on campus, in your classroom, in your home, and within residence halls. Distressed students may initially seek assistance from faculty, staff members, their parents, and other students. In addition to the support we can provide to each other, there are also professional support services available to students through the Dean of Students and University Counseling Center. Both staffs are available to consult with you about getting help or providing a friend with the help that he or she may need. For more additional information, please visit the UND Cares program Webpage.

How to Recognize When a Student is in Distress

The term “distressed” can mean any of the following:

  • Student has significant changes in eating, sleeping, grooming, spending, or other daily activities.
  • Student has cut off or minimized contact with family or friends.
  • Student has significant changes in performance or involvement in academics, sports, extracurricular, or social activities.
  • Student describes problems (missing class, not remembering, destructive behavior) that result from experiences with drinking or drugs.
  • Student is acting withdrawn, volatile, tearful, etc.
  • Student is acting out of character or differently than usual.
  • Student is talking explicitly about hopelessness or suicide.
  • Student has difficulty concentrating or difficulty carrying on normal conversation.
  • Student has excessive dependence on others for company or support.
  • Student reports feeling out of control of one’s emotions, thoughts, or behaviors.

UND Cares about Your Success

Important information is available to you through Starfish, which is an online system used to help students be successful. When an instructor observes student behaviors or concerns that may impede academic success, the instructor may raise a flag that notifies the student of the concern and/or refer the student to their academic advisor or UND resource. Please pay attention to these emails and take the recommended actions. They are sent to help you be successful!

Starfish also allows you to (1) schedule appointments with various offices and individuals across campus, (2) request help on a variety of topics, and (3) search and locate information on offices and services at UND.

You can log into Starfish by clicking on Logins on the UND homepage and then selecting Starfish. A link to Starfish is also available in Blackboard once you have signed in.

Ensure Accessibility

To comply with the latest accessibility guidelines, documents posted online, including, but not limited to, Adobe PDF files, Microsoft Word documents, Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, and online flipbooks, must be screen-reader friendly. For directions on how to make your syllabus and other course materials accessible, visit the Creating Accessible Content webpage on the TTaDA site.