War and peace, taxing and spending, dictatorship and democracy — these and a hundred other realities of modern life are played out in the realm of domestic and international politics. In an increasingly complex and interdependent world, public decision-making requires thoughtful discourse, broad-based participation and intelligent, responsive leadership. To that end, the Department of Political Science promotes the systematic and critical analysis of government, politics and public policy. It helps students learn to frame thoughtful questions, conduct imaginative research, marshal convincing evidence, write with clarity, precision and conviction, and engage in lively conversation. Its faculty members conduct research that enriches understanding of political life and public affairs in a global context, not only for other scholars but for decision-makers and citizens as well. The department also seeks to provide and promote responsible and effective leadership within and beyond the St. Olaf community.
The study of politics is an essential part of a liberal arts education and our lives as scholars. The Department of Political Science fosters habits of reflection and analysis, and cultivates knowledgeable, thoughtful, and effective citizens.
Intended Learning Outcomes
Students will demonstrate:
- Understanding of political institutions and processes, both domestic and international
- Understanding of normative and explanatory theories, both classic and contemporary, concerning the state, society, and justice.
- Familiarity with diverse geographic, ethnic, racial, gender-based, cultural, and temporal perspectives on political issues and public life.
- The ability to develop an argument, and to support it with scholarly and empirical evidence, in clear and engaging prose.
- The capacity to be knowledgeable, thoughtful, and effective citizens.