Rhonda L. Callaway
Robert Biles, Robin Bittick, John Bolus, Rhonda Callaway, William Carroll, James Carter, John Domino, Jason Enia, Heather Evans, Masoud Kazemzadeh, Jeongwoo Kim, Melinda Kovács, Corliss Lentz, Mitzi Mahoney, Sarmistha Majumdar, Stacy Ulbig, Tamara Waggener, Mike Yawn
The mission of the Department of Political Science is to provide students with theoretical knowledge and understanding of core concepts and principles in political science while helping students develop practical experience and skills that are necessary for the marketplace. Within that context, the department focuses on programs and courses that emphasize civic engagement, public service, and citizenship and ethics at the local, national, and global levels.
To carry out this mission, the Political Science faculty endeavor to:
Develop students’ analytic, writing, speaking, interpersonal, and professional skills
Prepare students for professional careers in the 21st century
Build students’ citizenship skills, knowledge, and activism
Help students understand human beings in their diversity and appreciate democratic values
Expand the frontiers of knowledge in political science and public and nonprofit administration
Contribute to a better community within the university and the society.
CHSS Building 490
The study of political science is exciting. It mixes the drama of politics and public issues with the development of skills of analysis and communication. Students examine major problems such as the influence of interest groups on Congress’ decisions, how candidates win elections, what election results mean, and how decisions about war and peace are made. In the process, students learn tools of analysis, explore major philosophical issues, and develop their skills in writing and speaking - tools of value in any profession.
Political Science faculty members bring unique backgrounds to the classroom. They have strong academic credentials, with doctorates from top schools such as, Rice, Rutgers, and the University of Texas, and they write scholarly books and articles. But they also have practical experience in government and politics to bring to the classroom. They have served on local school boards and city councils, as party county chairs, members of state boards of citizens groups, U.S. Senate staff, Foreign Commercial Officer, local, state, and federal administrators, and political consultants. Visiting professors have included a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a former member of Congress, and judges from the Texas Supreme Court.
Studying political science meets the career needs of two different sets of students. Some want a liberal arts education that provides a foundation to deal with a broad range of ideas and challenges. With today’s economy, in which most people experience several major career changes, this is a valuable foundation. Other students want to prepare for specific career goals. Most graduates work successfully in private business. Others attend the major Texas law schools, teach (from junior high to university level), work in public service (at the federal, state, county, or city level), or go into political life (such as state legislator, judge, or lobbyist). Recent graduates have held a range of positions: congressional aide, state director of a cattleman’s association, city planner, director of a local development organization, and radio talk-show host. There is an increasing need for trained people to work in nonprofit organizations, and the department has a program in administration, research, and writing that prepares graduates to enter this exciting area.
Outstanding students are recognized with membership in Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society. Political Science students are active in (and often lead) the student government, the campus organizations of political parties, the NAACP, and service organizations. The Junior Fellows conduct field trips to events such as the presidential inauguration, presentations by national leaders at the Bush Library and provide opportunities to meet and work with candidates. In the past, students have organized a model political convention featuring speakers from the local, state, and national level. Another student group meets regularly to discuss international events. In department-sponsored events, students have listened to and questioned members of Congress, leading political scientists, and foreign scholars.
Advanced students are encouraged to gain professional experience, make contacts, and explore career options through the department’s successful internship program. Recently, students have interned in city and county governments, the state legislature, the U.S. Congress, nonprofit groups, both major political parties, and the Washington office of the NAACP. The department’s Junior Fellows program allows undergraduates to work with faculty members on research and special projects.
In addition to the University’s student financial aid programs, the Department of Political Science also offers scholarships to majors and minors. For information, contact the department secretary. Information on University scholarships may be obtained from the Office of Academic Scholarships website at www.shsu.edu/~sfa_www/scholarship.html or telephone (936) 294-1672.
The department offers courses in five areas: American government and politics, international relations and foreign policy, comparative politics (the study of politics in other nations), public administration, and political theory and methodology. Students should consult with their advisor as to what mix of these areas best meets their needs. Political science courses can be combined with courses in other areas such as criminal justice, environmental studies, or business to prepare for careers in both the public and private sector.