Citizenship and Disciplinary Objectives in Introductory Political Science (100- and 200-Level)
Students should receive instruction in the methods of attending to, participating in, and reasoning about the politics that affect them as individuals and as members of communities and states. We identify three sets of skills that well-educated citizens should develop:
- Effective Awareness. Competence in monitoring political phenomena should be demonstrated by:
- the ability to identify the kinds of political activity that characterize local, state, national, and international politics;
- the ability to identify the sources of information that can be used to track important political behavior; and
- evidence that the student has personally monitored political events.
- Effective Participation. Competence in political participation should be demonstrated by:
- the ability to identify the varieties of participatory behavior that are available to individuals and to members of any given political community;
- the ability to characterize the likely consequences of each kind of political participation; and
- evidence that the student has personally engaged in political action.
- Effective Reasoning. Competence in political reasoning should be demonstrated by:
- the ability to engage in political argument that weighs alternative positions on the objectives and methods of political action;
- the development of conclusions that are logically consistent with a specific set of objectives and methods; and
- evidence that the student can evaluate and integrate personal political values and available public choices.
Disciplinary Objectives in Intermediate Political Research and Analysis (200- and 300-Level)
Students should gain practice in the skills identified above and receive instruction in political research that contributes to the following objectives.
- Effective Political Research. Student competence in research on political phenomena should be demonstrated by:
- representativeness in the use of print and electronic resources on politics, such that students both consult and build on classic and current political analysis of the problem under consideration, following guidelines that will be provided by the individual course instructor; and
- depth in the exploration of power relations that are fundamental to the problem under consideration, following guidelines that will be provided by the individual course instructor.
- Effective Political Analysis. Student competence in the evaluation of political behavior, data, and text should be demonstrated by:
- focus, in that it defines a political problem explicitly and stays on topic;
- thoroughness, in that it explores a range of political issues and politically relevant data that accurately represent the scope of the problem at hand;
- fairness, in that it explicitly considers and critiques at least two of the significant competing perspectives that bear on the problem at hand; and
- conclusiveness, in that it offers a judgment that builds on data and perspectives treated in the course of the analysis.
Objectives for the Advanced Political Science (400-Level)
Students should demonstrate that they can integrate and apply the entire range of foregoing skills. The focus of this demonstration is to provide an opportunity for students to show how awareness, participation, reasoning, research, and analysis draw upon skills that can be applied synergistically to a political problem of particular interest to the student
Our goals also include the provision of political science content that students at a liberal arts college should be able to study. These areas, as listed in the 2007 proposal, include: US politics, public administration, public policy, global politics, comparative politics, and political thought.
Finally, our program assumes responsibility for the general education of KSC students. As described in the 2007 proposal:
Work in the Political Science major will contribute to all eight broad categories of skill that the Integrative Studies Program has identified as potential emphases of courses that participate in the program:
- information literacy;
- ethical reasoning;
- critical thinking;
- creative thinking;
- critical dialogue;
- technological fluency; and
- quantitative reasoning.