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Example B: Introducing the Goals of a Course

The American Congress was created by the Founders to be the first branch of the federal government, but today the institution is criticized for its legislative gridlock and has public approval ratings at record lows. The goal of this course is to investigate Congress’s role in the national government envisioned at the Founding, causes of its perceived inability or unwillingness to act, and potential ways in which the current issues afflicting Congress could be overcome. The course considers the balance between institutional needs and the goals of individual members; running for Congress and congressional elections; legislative behavior; congressional rules, procedures, and leadership structures; Congress’s interactions with other political actors; and select policy matters. In addition to traditional readings, lectures, and class discussions, students will employ class materials through a semester-long electoral strategy simulation (the CIRCUS Project described herein).