Political Science Department Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
1) Knowledge of facts and history in the political science discipline. Students will acquire a foundation of knowledge concerning crucial facts, historical events, and structures of political institutions. This includes recognition and understanding of a common set of core topics including major political systems, ideas, values, and practices, political behavior, the role of law in civilizations and cultures, relations between nations, major political philosophies, and the ethical dimensions of government. Students will demonstrate familiarity with the demographic diversity of the world, the problems faced by different people, especially the impact of the process of globalization, and the interrelated nature of these problems.
2) Knowledge of major theories and explanations in political science. Students will demonstrate familiarity with the different assumptions, methods, and analytical approaches used by the discipline of political science. Students will demonstrate understanding of how political science theories have been applied to a variety topics and questions in the discipline, particularly in the core areas of American Politics, World Politics, and Law and Politics. Students will be able to identify strengths and weaknesses of the various theories, and evaluate their usefulness to particular phenomena.
3) Written communication of political science theories and findings. Students will demonstrate writing skills appropriate for a well-educated college graduate, including the ability to write in a concise, organized, social science style, proper use of sources, citations, quotations, and correct grammar. Students will demonstrate skills in explanatory and argumentative writing sufficient to express their understandings of political science arguments, and to interpret and communicate the results of both quantitative and qualitative analysis.
4) Oral presentation of political science concepts and arguments. In oral presentations students will demonstrate the ability to introduce a set of concepts to the audience, and to develop an argument so the audience can follow it.
5) Systematic gathering and evaluation of social scientific evidence. Students will learn how political science knowledge is acquired and evaluated. This includes an introductory level of statistical analysis. It also includes fundamentals of research design and evaluation, and how to acquire information using electronic and library resources. Students will learn how to evaluate methodological elements of social science arguments, and consequently, the strengths and limitations of the information that is presented to them in papers, books, and presentations.
6) Critical evaluation, integrating knowledge, theory, and methods. Students will learn how to critically integrate knowledge, theory, research methods, and presentation in a systematic manner. Students will demonstrate the ability to identify theories applicable to a chosen topic, select a method to test an aspect of that theory, and critically evaluate the data collected in relation to the proffered theories. Students will demonstrate an ability to apply disciplinary knowledge and skills to real world situations and indicate an understanding of both empirical and normative consequences of this application.