Jonathan D. Klingler - Teaching

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I have extensive experience as a teaching assistant at the University of Rochester in a variety of courses. I have also developed and taught my own courses on American politics and game theory. I have either taught, assisted, or prepared course materials for the following classes:

Introductory Undergraduate Courses

Introduction to American Politics

(TA (with Valeria Sinclair-Chapman), Spring 2012; Instructor, Summer 2012, 2013)

This course will introduce students to the foundations of American government and institutional design using the tools of rational choice theory. Students will examine important political institutions and the linkage mechanisms that connect institutions, political actors, and American citizens. This course is appropriate for majors and non-majors with an interest in understanding how and why the American political system works as it does and avenues for possible reform. Students will be graded on two midterms, a final exam, and short writing assignments.

Introduction to Game Theory

(TA (with Konstantinos Matakos), Spring 2013; Instructor, Summer 2011)

Game theory is a systematic study of strategic situations. It is a theory that helps us analyze economic and political strategic issues, such as behavior of individuals in a group, competition among firms in a market, platform choices of political candidates, and so on. We will develop the basic concepts and results of game theory, including simultaneous and sequential move games, repeated games and games with incomplete information. The objective of the course is to enable the student to analyze strategic situations on his/her own. The emphasis of the course is on theoretical aspects of strategic behavior, so familiarity with mathematical formalism is desirable.

Survey Research Methods

(TA (with Michael Peress), Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012)

This course offers an introduction to the understanding of politics through data analysis, with particular emphasis on surveys of the mass public. We will study selecting a sample, designing and conducting a survey, interpreting the results of a survey, correcting for bias in a survey, and measuring the accuracy of a survey. During the semester, we will pay special attention to the accuracy of public opinion polling preceding the 2008 and 2012 primary and Presidential elections.

Advanced Undergraduate Courses

The American Congress

This course offers an overview of the legislative branch of the United States government. We will discuss the electoral process, the nature of representation, legislative organization, the committee system, floor procedure, congressional parties, and inter-branch relations. We will also examine theories of lawmaking and the impact of institutional and electoral rules on legislative behavior and outcomes. The course is structured around a semester-long simulation of the policymaking process.

The American Presidency

This course introduces the major topics and theoretical perspectives in the study of the U.S. presidency. Topics include rationales for and effects of separation of powers, the presidency in comparative perspective, the nature and origin of the president's influence on policy, the president's role in lawmaking and the veto, presidential management of the executive branch, war powers and the president's role in national security. The course is structured around a semester-long simulation of the policymaking process.

Business and Politics/Interest Group Politics

(TA, (with David Primo) Fall 2009)

This course is designed to introduce the issues that concern political scientists (especially) and economists about interest groups in American politics. The goal of the course is to provide a better substantive understanding of interest groups specifically and the political system more generally. Foci include the historical development of the interest group system, the nonmarket environment for businesses, the formation of organizations, the relationship between associations and formal political institutions, money and politics, and policy-specific case studies.

Campaigns and Elections

In this course we study the events and repercussions of the most recent elections and the issue dynamics shaping the next set of elections. We consider how electoral rules in the United States, such as the presidential Electoral College and the single member plurality elections used in congressional elections, affect the choices candidates make to win office. Additionally, we identify how these rules advantage or disadvantage various types of candidates. Some issues, such as party polarization and campaign finance reform are generally in the news and of thus of continuing interest. However, new issues will inevitably arise and we will discuss these as they come up over the course of the semester.

Graduate Courses

Quantitative Methods in Political Science

(RA, (with Curt Signorino) Fall 2012)

In this course, we will examine the linear regression model, its variants, and the basics of maximum likelihood estimation. The linear model is a natural starting point for understanding regression models in general, inferences based on them, and problems with our inferences due to data issues or to model misspecification. However, the classical linear regression model is inappropriate for many of the most interesting problems in political science. Thus, following discussion of the linear regression model, students will learn methods to analyze other models of interest using MLE. These other models may include event counts, durations, censoring, truncation, selection, multinomial ordered/unordered categories, strategic choices, and time series, depending on time and student interest. A major goal of the course will be to teach students how to code in R and develop new models and techniques for analyzing issues they encounter in their own research. Note: This course may be split and expanded into a two course sequence.

Learning from Text as Data
Written words and speech provide researchers with vast quantities of information which have only recently begun to be exploited. This course covers the basics of initial exploratory analysis of bodies of text and automated text analysis. Machine learning techniques are frequently used to organize natural language, and the techniques of supervised and unsupervised machine learning using a variety of methods will be covered as well. Students will complete the course with working familiarity with key software for automated text analysis and machine learning.
Experimental Methods in Political Science
Experimental methods offer many opportunities to make causal inferences, and such methods are increasingly utilized by political scientists. This course covers the basics of causal inference from experimental methods, lab, field, lab-in-the-field, and survey experiments, and provide students with a familiarity with the basics of experimental research design, z-Tree, and experimental ethics.