About the program
- Augustana College offers a major and minor in political science, with classes in a wide variety of fields within the discipline: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, public law and public policy. The department also is closely associated with Augustana's pre-law program.
Augustana students went to the Illinois General Assembly in Springfield April 25, 2012, to advocate for a restoration of funding for the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP). From left are Kai Swanson, Augustana executive assistant to the president; Katlyn MacDonald, a first-year student from Rock Island; Nicole Imparato, a senior from West Dundee, Ill.; State Rep. Patrick J. Verschoore, D-Milan (72nd District); Jaleesa Patterson, a junior from Chicago; and Cameron Onumah, a sophomore from Smyna, Ga., and incoming president of the Student Government Association.
- The political science department is one of the most globally focused at Augustana, and serves as a key resource for several foreign study programs on campus, especially Asian studies and Latin American studies. Political science professors are involved in Augustana's Model United Nations and Model Arab League groups, and work closely with Augustana's Freistat Center for Studies in World Peace, which regularly brings ambassadors, consuls general and other international figures to campus.
- The political science department is dynamic, linking disciplinary knowledge to current events and giving students many opportunities to apply concepts and theories to real-world situations.
- Small class sizes mean professors and students get to know each other well, and can spend time practicing skills (such as writing and public speaking) that translate beyond the field of political science.
- Due to multiple tracks within the major, the varied research and teaching interests of the faculty, and the open nature of Augustana's liberal arts philosophy, students find the political science major to be very compatible with other academic programs. Some examples include communication studies, business administration, sociology
and economics. Political science faculty themselves are active in interdisciplinary programs across campus, including African American studies, environmental studies and women's and gender studies, along with Asian and Latin American studies.
- All students of political science collaborate on research with a faculty mentor, learning how to ask and answer significant questions and then present those findings to others. This kind of skill development means our graduates are employable in any number of contexts. Some recent graduates have careers in business, education,
urban planning, community organizing and grant writing. (The previous Mayor of Rock Island and former Illinois Representative Lane Evans both are Augustana graduates.)
Outside the classroom
In recent years, a typical Augustana student majoring in political science would have had the opportunity to:
- Take courses in Ghana or Vietnam for a term, traveling with Augustana faculty and students;
- Attend a session of Model Illinois Government in Springfield or a Model United Nations conference in Washington, D.C.;
- Experience political life in four cities and two states. Because of the college's location In the Quad Cities -- on the Mississippi River border between Illinois and Iowa-our students have frequent opportunities to participate in local, state and national political campaigns;
- Be interviewed by local or regional news media, who frequently turn to Augustana faculty and students for their expertise and opinions on political issues;
- Participate in Politics Club, a non-partisan organization of students interested in intelligent political discourse;
- Meet well-known political scholars and practioners: Benjamin Barber (author of Jihad Versus McWorld), Chris Homan (Director for Iraq Programs at the global non-profit National Democratic Institute for International Affairs), Melissa Harris-Lacewell (award-winning author of Barbershops, Bibles, and BET), Robert Levey (veteran political reporter for The Washington Post), and MinniJean Brown Trickey (one of the "Little Rock Nine").
What students say
Amanda Seifert '11, political science major:
"Political science is a major that easily gives back as much as you put into it; this makes it incredibly rewarding and always engaging. Different connections are constantly being made between ideas, giving me a new perspective on the world."
Nicolas Camlin '10, political science major:
"The professors in the political science department are intelligent and experienced, and are great people who want to help their students at any cost. With that much support ... I am confident that I will be well-prepared for the next level of my life, whether it's in law or politics."
Nate Combes '08, Ph.D. student at Univeristy of California-San Diego:
"The Augustana Political Science Department sets high standards for its students; from expecting them to contribute to high level academic discourse on a daily basis to completing a professional level senior thesis. Fulfilling these requirements not only provided me with the skills I needed to succeed in graduate school, but also taught me to continually set higher standards for myself."