Current Courses

Constitutional Law II; GOVT 4316 (2018- ). Reading and writing-intensive upper-level course (and companion course to GOVT 4315) introducing students to the development of constitutional law, with a focus on levels of judicial review for claims brought under provisions of the US Bill of Rights and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.  Student assessments are based on the completion of case briefs, analytical writing assignments, and legal hypotheticals, as well as earnest participation in class discussions structured by the Socratic Method.

Constitutional Law I; GOVT 4315 (2017- ).  Reading and writing-intensive upper-level course introducing students to the development of constitutional law.  Students are expected to complete case briefs, analytical writing assignments, and legal hypotheticals examining such themes as the separation of powers and federal/state relations from 1783 to the present.  Beyond an overview of the Supreme Court’s role in tracing the contours of our nation’s highest law, the course is designed, in part, to prepare pre-law students for the Langdellian case method commonly employed by law school professors.  While equal protection and individual liberties appear briefly in some course material, these are core issues covered in Constitutional Law II.

Moot Court; GOVT 3375 (2018- ). Reading, writing, and speaking-intensive upper-level course that introduces students to appellate advocacy by way of the American Moot Court Association (AMCA) annual case problem.  Students will learn the basic form of appellate advocacy through sustained classroom practice including the presentation of case briefs, advocacy of petitioner and respondent positions, and preparation of a formatted, complete merits brief for the AMCA case problem at the end of the term.  Students may be selected to compete in invitationals and AMCA regional qualifying tournaments.

[2018 Texas Tech Law Regional Tournament: “Sweet Sixteen” Award]

Introduction to the US Legal System; GOVT/CRJU 2392 (2017- ).  Introductory course designed to familiarize students with fundamental aspects of the nation’s legal system.  Topics studied include types of legal systems, theories of law (jurisprudence), court organization, judicial selection, lawyering, criminal and civil processes, judicial impacts, statutory interpretation, and constitutional interpretation.  Student progress is assessed via short, written assignments, formal exams, and oral presentations.

Environmental Politics; GOVT 2350 (2019- ). Sophomore-level, reading-intensive course focusing on the history of U.S. environmental policy, including how political decisions have shaped the U.S. environment and how the environment has shaped political decision-making, as well as the policymaking process in the U.S.  Special attention is given to the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts (and amendments), waste policies, and ongoing climate disruption debates.  Student progress is assessed via formal exams, a series of debate presentations, and a reflective essay following a tour of the San Antonio River Authority Regional Lab.

Social Science Research Methods; GOVT 2325 (2017- ). Sophomore-level course designed to introduce students to the process of creating knowledge in the social sciences.  Students are exposed to a variety of concept measurement, data collection, and research design techniques, as well as basic quantitative data analysis.  Students apply class and textbook themes through methodological critiques of peer-reviewed, scholarly articles, and by completing an original research paper developed incrementally throughout the term.  Students conclude the term by formally presenting the research paper, including initial data analyses.


Previous Courses

American National Government and Politics; PSC 121 & POL 205 (2014-2017).  Introductory course with purpose of familiarizing students with the American political process, covering institutions of government, mediating institutions, political participation, contemporary and historical political ideologies, public opinion measurement and trends, and the nature of constitutional rights and liberties. Students assessed through a variety of short writing assignments, objective and essay examinations, and in-class simulations (such as the New York Times federal budget activity and moot court exercises).  Course material conveyed through a mixture of open discussions, group problem-solving exercises, video clips, and interactive lectures.

Free Speech in America; PSC 300 (2014). Upper-level, special course offering with purpose of introducing students to historical, legal, and cultural determinants of the meaning of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.  Students assessed through a combination of case briefing presentations of modern Supreme Court and federal appellate court free speech controversies, law-school style hypothetical writing assignments, reviews of canonical literature, and a cumulative portfolio assignment.  Course material conveyed through open discussions, film viewings, moot court activity, and interactive lectures.