Faculty Senate passes revised changes to political science curriculum
On Monday night Faculty Senate unanimously passed a recommendation to revise the political science curriculum
The proposal was constructed by the political science department and recommended to the Educational Policy Committee.
The changes include revisions for a political science major with a policy studies and civic leadership concentration, a political science minor and a secondary education political science minor.
A revised international relations major was also recommended with a comparative politics, governments and globalization concentration and an international cooperation and conflict concentration along with a revised international relations minor.
According to the report to the Educational Policy Committee, the political science department hopes to “update and streamline our curriculum, to provide a balance of rigor and flexibility for our students, to rationalize course numberings and to emphasize the development of key social scientific skills.”
These goals were also emphasized by political science professor and department chair Kevin den Dulk.
“It’s really intended to be a way of having the majors catch up with the times and so the political science department has been focusing more and more on global concerns and getting more interesting courses in American politics as well.”
According to den Dulk, these proposed changes only happened recently.
“Part of this change reflects the fact that we have essentially a new department,” said den Dulk. “Everybody in the department is seven years or less so what that means is that we have these new folks coming in with new ideas and so the discussion is fairly recent because nearly all the bodies there are recent.”
The proposed changes also came as a result from collaboration with different groups in the college.
“We spent last semester working on the proposal getting input from students, getting input from other departments on the campus and now we’re ready to roll it out,” said den Dulk.
Aside from additional concentrations, the report indicates that the major will include a requirement of a capstone (POLS 399) for international relations and political science majors and a basic methods course for both majors, eliminating the exception for students studying a foreign language.
The curriculum changes were made to refocus the curriculum in response to internal changes, including significant staffing changes over the past five years, but also due to external reasons. The report cites the fact that “political scientists have increasingly turned their attention to questions about political leadership, globalization, democratization and human rights in the United States and cross-nationally.”
Den Dulk believes that the new civic leadership provides a more local perspective for students.
“We are thinking globally but in some other ways we’re really trying to get students opportunities to think local nitty-gritty political policy issues at that level.”