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Great Basin College Profile

Danny Gonzales, Ph.D.
Political Science Professor


"When people learn no tools of judgment and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown." — Stephen Jay Gould


Dr. Gonzales is a Native Nevadan, born and raised in Las Vegas. After graduating from Western High School, he moved to Reno. From the University of Nevada, Reno, he earned a B.A. in Political Science, a Masters in Public Administration and Policy, and Ph.D. in Political Science. He has worked at GBC for 19 years and has served in various appointments at the Nevada State Legislature, Nevada System of Higher Education, and Nevada Supreme Court. He served as a higher education consultant and presented at several national conferences on community colleges offering bachelor degrees. Dr. Gonzales served a three-year appointment on the City of Elko Planning Commission and four-year legislative appointment on the Nevada Commission on Minority Affairs. He just finished serving a 20 year gubernatorial appointment with the Nevada Juvenile Justice Commission.


Contact Information

Office Location: EIT 128, Elko Campus
NOTE: Substitute @ for (a) when sending a message.

Office Hours

  • Monday: AM - 8 am to 9:30 am PM - 2 pm to 3 pm
  • Tuesday: AM - By appointment. PM - 2 pm to 3 pm
  • Wednesday: AM - 8 am to 9:30 am PM - By appointment.
  • Thursday: AM - By appointment. PM - By appointment.
  • Friday: AM - By appointment. PM - By appointment.


Note: Appointments with the Mad Political Scientist can be made during the week outside of posted office hours to accommodate student class and work schedules.


  • Ph.D. in Political Science, University of Nevada, Reno, 2004
  • Masters in Public Administration and Policy, University of Nevada, Reno, 1995
  • B.A. in Political Science; Criminal Law Minor, University of Nevada, Reno, 2000


Recommended Reading

  • Primary Colors, Joe Klein
  • Animal Farm, George Orwell
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson
  • All Politics is Local: And Other Rules of the Game, Tip O'Neill


Recommended Web Links

  • Racquetball
  • Golf
  • Nevada Faculty Alliance
Honors and Awards
  • National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education 2003-04 Associates Program


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INT 295
Title:Educational Travel
Catalog Description: The study of people, art, music, culture, and history through travel. Unlimited repeatability. [S/U]
My Comments:One of the best ways to experience American government and politics is by visiting Washington, DC. Guided tours include trips to the several war memorials, museums, monuments, and historical sites.
Syllabus (PDF)
INT 349
Title:Integrative Social Science Seminar
Catalog Description: An integrative seminar on topics in the social sciences. The topics will vary to address needs and interests of programs. Course fulfills the upper-division integrative social sciences general education requirements. May be repeated once for credit if the topics are different.
My Comments:How much influence does the entertainment industry and media have on political attitudes? Are American film goers more secular and liberal than the general population, resulting in filmmakers acting as capitalists and responding to audiences? How are the leadership styles of American Presidents portrayed in Hollywood? Do celebrity endorsements influence the way you vote or view a particular policy matter such as the environment, treatment of pets, adopting children from other countries?

The first part of the course is designed to provide a foundation and understanding of the modern Presidency in relationship to the other branches of government and the public. The class will also examine the association with linkage institutions such as the media, interest groups, political parties, and entertainment industry. The second part of the class will focus on the contention by one of the authors that American film reflects political culture in American society. One aspect that will be highlighted is the extent Hollywood influences the publicís perception of politics and the American Presidency.

Current events, popular culture examples, documentaries, and online and multimedia resources are used to supplement the readings in order to examine of current political events, governmental actions, and public policy decisions as part of the weekly assignments. This integrative seminar calls for active participation by each student. The writing and research component requires the student to focus on the weekly topics and provide an insightful analysis of the assigned readings by comparing and contrasting the scholarly works.
Syllabus (PDF)
PSC 101
Title:Introduction to American Politics
Catalog Description: A survey of United States, national, state, and local governments with emphasis on the cultural aspects of the governing process. Satisfies the legislative requirement for the United States and Nevada Constitutions. (Formerly PSC 103, Principles of American Constitutional Government)
My Comments:Do you know why the elephant is the symbol of the Republican Party and the donkey represents the Democratic Party? Did you know that political parties, candidates, and interest groups can determine how you will vote based on the food you eat, the soft drinks and beer you drink, and the vehicle you drive? This introductory class examines the basic principles of American and state government such as power, authority, legitimacy, and force. Current events, popular culture, documentaries, and online and multimedia resources are used to complement the readings.
Syllabus (PDF)
PSC 210
Title:American Public Policy
Catalog Description: Analysis of the interplay of forces involved in policy making at all levels of American government. Study of the impact of policy on individuals and institutions.
My Comments:Have you ever wondered about the relationship between morality and public policy? How long is the publicís attention span? Will the Bush Doctrine and the notion of preemptive strikes wane with President Barack Obamaís Administration? Are faith-based initiatives unlawful under the First Amendment separation of church and state? This class is designed to introduce students to frameworks to examine public policy areas such as defense, education, criminal justice, and environment.
Syllabus (PDF)
PSC 401F
Title:Public Opinion and Political Behavior
Catalog Description: Studies factors which shape basic political attitudes, circumstances which result in different kinds of political behavior, and psychological aspects of American government and politics in relation to public opinion in electoral politics, governance, and democratic theory.
My Comments:What role does education, media, church, family, and peers have on individual political attitudes? Why are political campaigns interested in consumer purchasing patterns? What is the difference between a liberal brain and a conservative one? This class will explore these questions and factors that influence public opinion and mobilize voters.
Syllabus (PDF)
PSC 403C
Title:Environmental Policy
Catalog Description: An examination of environmental policy and environmental law including issues in policy formulation and implementation, the basic statutory and regulatory framework, and judicial interpretation of the law. (Formerly PSC 421, Environmental Policy)
My Comments:What is a tree hugger? Why is the sea otter part of the weasel family? Are polar bears drowning due to climate change? Does recycling really make a difference? We will examine these questions and related topics. Politics is central to understanding environmental policy. In this class, we will study the political players and level of influence they exert. The text assesses the key strengths and weaknesses of the public policymaking process.
Syllabus (PDF)
PSC 403K
Title:Problems in American Public Policy
Catalog Description: Examination of American public policy frameworks and spectrum of the political characteristics, institutions, and dynamics associated with decision-making processes in American government.
My Comments:How is conflict resolved in American government? Does money really make a difference? Approximately $1.3 billion was raised by the 2008 general election presidential candidates. Do lobbyists, media, and special interests exert a greater degree of influence than other policymaking participants such as the President, Congress and Supreme Court? This class will examine these questions.

Photo Gallery

Washington Monument in 2009.
Washington DC -- Spring 2009
Capitol Building in 2009.
U.S. Capitol -- Spring 2009
Ford Theatre in 2009.
Ford's Theatre -- Spring 2009

Questions about GBC?
Great Basin College - 1500 College Parkway - Elko, Nevada 89801 - 775.738.8493
A member institution of the Nevada System of Higher Education
Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
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