Political Scientists seek to bring the systematic inquiry and rigor of scientific methodology to the study of politics. Politics means more to Political Scientists than just government, although it does include government. It also encompasses mediating institutions such as parties, the media, and interest groups as well as non-institutionalized political phenomena such as social movements, political culture, and political socialization. Whether it is through attention to public opinion polling techniques, comparative case studies methods, or dialectical analysis of competing normative theories of politics most Political Scientists maintain that application of the methods of science and systematic analysis provides us with the best approach to understanding the political world.
Since at least Aristotle Political Scientists have sought to answer the question of what the best form of government is. Today we are still grappling with that question. Some scholars would answer that we have already attained it in the form of liberal democracy, while others would object that the environmental crisis and the problems that gave rise to the U.S. Occupy movement in 2010 demonstrate that liberal democracy as it currently exists is not up to the challenges of the twenty-first century. However that debate may be settled intellectually, whether we will reject liberal democracy in favor of something radically different or simply reform it for a new age as has been done in the past can only be determined politically.
“…what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?”
Student Learning Outcomes for Political Science:
Political Science 1 & 1H: Introduction to Political Science
SLO 1: Marshall empirical data to support a political science theory.
SLO 2: Differentiate among changes in the American constitutional government over time.
Political Science 2: Comparative Politics
SLO 1: Identify the key features of parliamentary and presidential forms of government and identify their advantages and disadvantages.
SLO 2: Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of proportional representation and single member district plurality as electoral methods.
Political Science 5: Political Theory 1: Ancient to Contemporary
SLO 1: Evaluate and assess divergent political philosophical and theoretical viewpoints as to their relative validity.
SLO 2: Analyze the relationship between philosophical assumptions and theories of government.
Political Science 7: Political Theory II: Early Modern to Contemporary
SLO 1: Explain the meaning of the terms public sphere and civil society in the theories of contemporary political theorists.
SLO 2: Explain theories of power and crisis associated with theories of thinkers covered in the course and to compare them
Political Science 9: International Relations
SLO 1: Define, explain, analyze and compare core theories in International Relations and explain which theory best describes international relations and why.
SLO 2: Describe the International Relations concept Levels of Analysis and argue which level, or levels, best explains and analyzes international relations
SLO 3: Analyze the relationship between social, political and/or economic institutions and human behavior.
Political Science 10: Environmental Politics
SLO 1: Define sustainability taking account of social, economic, and environmental indicators.
SLO 2: Identify and compare competing models of sustainable political economy.
Political Science 25: Latino Politics in the United States
SLO 1: Identify significant changes that have occurred over the past two decades in representation by latinos in American government and politics.
SLO 2: Identify similarities and differences in public opinion held by different latino communities such as Mexican-Americans and Cuban-Americans.
SLO 3: Differentiate among changes in the American constitutional government over time
Political Science 35: African American Politics
SLO 1: Identify significant changes that have occurred in African-American political participation since the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
SLO 2: Assess the success of African Americans in attaining representation in various levels of government.
SLO 3: Differentiate among changes in the American constitutional government over time.