About the Political Science Department
Since Aristotle linked traditional inquiry into the political good with empirical comparison of governance, the systematic study of politics has been an integral part of the Western intellectual tradition. The study of politics is recognized as an essential component of a liberal arts preparation for citizenship and leadership in a democratic society. Indeed, the controversies that plague society and the world make the study of politics more important now than ever before.
The political science department recognizes and embraces its distinctive roles, as defined by not only the liberal arts tradition of the College of Liberal Arts, but by the land-grant origins of the University of Nevada, Reno. At the heart of the department's mission is the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research and service.
A core component of the department's teaching mission is the education of informed, competent and productive citizens. The department fulfills this role through political science major and minor programs; three graduate programs; participation in an interdisciplinary major in International Affairs; and through the participation of faculty and graduate assistants in the delivery of the University's core curriculum. The department encourages the pursuit of excellence in teaching in a number of ways.
The program affords young men and women an unmatched opportunity to:
- Develop an understanding of political institutions and behavior
- Question the ends and principles of political life
- Understand the role of human agency within the nexus of society's political institutions and processes
The curriculum develops both an understanding of politics and political life and an ability to analyze and critically evaluate political developments from both an observational and theoretical standpoint.
The research component of the mission recognizes the role that active research plays in supporting the overall curricular efforts of the department, the college and the University. The department fulfills this role through a faculty engaged in individual and collaborative research efforts, the results of which have been widely published by academic presses and in political science journals across the spectrum. Faculty are encouraged and supported in their research projects. Faculty attendance at national and international conferences is encouraged as well.
A core component of the department's service mission is to provide service to the community. It recognizes the assumption of service arising from a land grant institution like the University of Nevada, Reno. The department fulfills its service mission in multiple ways. The faculty sit on numerous departmental, college, university and community boards and committees. They routinely give interviews to the media on current political issues; offer seminars and public speaking events to the public; and provide advanced training for public managers through the graduate programs. Faculty also engage in applied research designed to identify and cope with various public policy problems at all levels of government.
Opportunities to serve in congressional, legislative and public service internships are provided to students. Many of the courses are offered at nontraditional times, including evenings and weekends, as a convenience to non-traditional and non-degree-seeking students and the community at large.
The department offers its undergraduate curriculum together with its commitment to graduate education, public service and research. The faculty are committed to the idea that research and teaching benefit each other, and that students benefit most by being linked to faculty at the cutting edge of research and public service, and that they learn as much from committed fellow students, as from faculty.