PSCI 2306: U.S. and Texas Government
(Spring 2019 - section 6)

Dr. Paul Hensel
Office: 165 WH

Please note that this web page is not the full syllabus for this course. The full syllabus -- including the schedule of assigned readings, course exams, and other assignments -- is only available in the full syllabus (PDF Format). Be sure to print out that complete syllabus and be familiar with it, so that you do not fall behind or miss any assignments during the semester.

Course Description

This course is meant to introduce students to the government and politics of the United States and Texas, and is required by the Texas legislature for all students in colleges or universities receiving public funding. We will focus on the laws and institutions that make up the U.S. and Texas political systems, including the Constitution and the three branches of government. We will also examine a number of issues that are affected by these laws and institutions, including federalism, civil liberties, and civil rights. Upon completion of this course, students should have a broad understanding of the fundamentals of American and Texas government and politics, and should be able to think critically about current and past political events in these political systems. This should be useful both for being an educated voter and citizen and for taking further courses on the subject.

It should be noted that this is not a course in current events, although some reference will obviously be made to current events. Also, I do not seek to indoctrinate students with my own personal opinions or political views, whatever these might be. Rather, my goal is to provide students with the tools to evaluate events themselves and form their own opinions. Students are expected to attend every class meeting, having already done the assigned reading; class lectures will assume a basic understanding of the readings and will go beyond the content of those readings, rather than simply restating them. Class performance will be measured with three (non-cumulative) exams that combine multiple choice and short answer/identification questions, as well as a series of assignments from the course's online workbook.

Teaching Assistants

The teaching assistants should be your first resource for any administrative or procedural questions related to the course (such as late assignments, missing homework, or incorrect grades). If you have a complaint, please only contact me after you have spoken with the TA, and be sure to clarify what you and s/he have already done to try to resolve the problem. Of course, you may always contact your TA or the instructor with any substantive questions related to the course (and you are especially encouraged to do so during our scheduled office hours).


Post Basnet

Alex Goodwin

Raul Guerrero

Antonio Molinar

For student names:

A - D

E - J

K - R

S - Z



131 Wooten Hall

110 Wooten Hall

110 Wooten Hall

152 Wooten Hall

Office Hours:

MWF 12-1 PM

M 3-5, TTh 9-1, F 2-3

M 11-12, W 12-2 PM

MWF 1-2 PM

Supplemental Instructors

Three Supplemental Instructors (SIs) are provided by UNT for all students who want to improve their understanding of the material taught in this course. SI sessions are led by a UNT student who has already mastered the course material and has been trained to facilitate group sessions where students can meet to compare class notes, review and discuss important concepts, develop strategies for studying, and prepare for exams. Attendance at SI sessions is free and voluntary. A schedule of SI meetings will be made available early in the semester.


Madeline Boche

LaTasya Booker

Christian Doak


Weekly sessions:

M 2:00-2:50, BLB 270
W 3:00-3:50, Language 212
F 2:00-2:50, WH 112

M 6:00-6:50, WH 115
W 1:00-1:50, Physics 116
F 3:00-3:50, WH 215

M 1:00-1:50, GAB 310
W 5:00-5:50, GAB 114
F 12:00-12:50, WH 115

Assigned Readings

This course uses a custom electronic "webtext" that is unique to this course, which gives you access to the relevant chapters of three books that will be used for this course, without forcing you to pay for chapters that we won't be using or for the cost of printing, shipping, and shelving printed books. The three books (all published by Soomo Learning) are the following:

A single access code giving access to all three books is available for purchase at the UNT bookstore, as well as through the Barnes & Noble link in the Canvas page for this course. After you enter your access code, Soomo (the publisher) will also allow you to order a printed copy of the book for what they describe as "a small fee" if you'd prefer to read a hard copy of the book rather than an electronic version.

The first two (Central Ideas in American Government and Texas Politics) are standard textbooks, offered in an electronic form that is accessible via Canvas. Although the webtext versions of these books include exercises and multiple choice quizzes, you will not be graded on these materials (they are listed on Canvas as zero points) -- but you may find them to be useful as a check on how well you understood the material, which might help you on the exams, and there is a very good chance that some of these questions will appear on the exams.

The third is an online workbook that includes eight chapters of text written by UNT faculty who are experts in these areas, with online assignments related to each chapter that will form an important part of the course grade. The workbook is only accessible in electronic format through the class Canvas page (there is no printed option that can be turned in for credit), and requires that the access code be purchased to allow access.

All textbook and workbook chapters are accessed through this course's page on Canvas ( The Syllabus tab in Canvas shows each assigned chapter, ordered by due date; the Assignments tab separates them by the type of assignment (displaying the eight workbook chapters separately from the remaining textbook chapters).

Course Requirements

(1) Examinations: Three (non-cumulative) exams will be given in class. Each exam counts for 25% of the course grade (so the three exams together account for 75% of the total grade), and will draw roughly equally from the assigned readings and the instructor's lectures. Each will contain 40 multiple choice questions, and 5 short answer/fill-in-the-blank questions. Be sure to be on time to the exam; once the first student leaves the room after the exam starts, anybody else entering to take the exam will lose five letter grades.

(2) Workbook Assignments: Eight workbook assignments are included as part of the assigned readings, which are due on the dates listed in the class schedule on this syllabus. These will give you a chance to check your understanding of the reading when you are first doing it, and can be very helpful in making sure that you understand the material before you come to class (and before you take the exams). These assignments must be completed electronically through the course workbook (via Canvas); your grades will automatically be recorded as you complete them. Your combined total score across all workbook assignments for the course will count as 25% of the total course grade.

Assignments may be retaken as many times as you like, but they will face a 50% penalty if completed after the start of class on the assigned due date. Your lowest of the eight grades will be dropped from calculation of the grade.

Rest of Syllabus

The remainder of the syllabus -- course rules, notes about academic integrity and the Americans with Disabilities Act, and assigned readings -- is only available in the complete syllabus (in PDF format). Be sure to print out that complete syllabus and be familiar with it, so that you do not fall behind or miss any assignments during the semester.
Last updated: 4 April 2019 (updated SI session schedule)
This site © Copyright 1996-present, Paul R. Hensel. All rights reserved.