The faculty shares a strong consensus on our teaching mission. We want our students to care about politics, to recognize how politics shapes our lives, and to understand the dynamic processes that shape political outcomes. As teachers, we strive to develop subject knowledge, analytical skills, and civic formation.
Subject Knowledge: A Basic Understanding of Political Science – How does the Congress work? What insights about organizing power can we learn from Aristotle? What are the causes of war? Why are some political systems capable of reform, while others are stalked by revolution? We want our students to be familiar with real life social-political processes and relevant empirical details, as well as the scholarship that seeks to explain such.
Analytical/Communication Skills: Reason, Critique, Presentation -- The capacity for reason, critical thinking, and problem solving is the essence of a liberal arts education and a life well lived. In daily life, we are inundated with competing explanations and solutions on how best to organize political power, to resolve social conflict, and to address societal needs. We want to prepare our students to think for themselves, to build an intellectual foundation upon which they can make good choices, to seek out appropriate evidence to support their positions, and to articulate their views clearly, logically, and persuasively. This entails familiarization with good arguments about difficult issues, the methods of social science research, and practice at effective communication.
Civic Formation: Citizenship, Awareness, Engagement -- Finally, we want our classes to cultivate good citizens for a democratic republic. Our teaching seeks to impress on students their interconnectedness between their individual choices and aggregate consequences for the polity and humanity. In this area, our teaching goals complement the university mission to promote contemplation, service, and formation.
Upon completion of the M.A. program, our students are expected to:
- demonstrate substantial knowledge of one subfield of political science
- conduct scholarly work at the post-graduate level
- be strong candidates for admission to Ph.D. programs in political science or for professional jobs that require post-graduate education
- have a good understanding of proper professional ethics in political science