Statement of Goals
The department has at least twelve goals which are closely related to its mission and those of the College and University:
- To recruit and retain the best qualified faculty.
- To recruit and retain highly competent students as majors.
- To enhance course content by the use of appropriate technologies.
- To enhance faculty technology skills.
- To enhance faculty advising skills.
- To enhance degree programs by incorporation of appropriate course work.
- To participate in interdisciplinary programs involving women’s studies, global studies, American studies, international economics, Africana studies, and environmental studies.
- To offer an adequate number of writing-across the curriculum courses for majors.
- To create new knowledge regarding political science and planning by supporting faculty research.
- To fund faculty participation in conferences and workshops relevant to their research.
- To enhance the Murphy Center for Public Service in its mission to assist government officials in carrying out their duties.
- To increase political participation in the United States by improving students’ understanding of the American and Georgia political systems.
The mission and objectives of the Political Science/Planning Department are directly related to those of West Georgia and the College of Arts & Sciences. First, political science and planning make a major contribution to the student's appreciation of the skills and knowledge necessary to be better persons and citizens in our complex, culturally diverse global society. Basic knowledge of governmental processes is essential to good citizenship and a well-rounded education. Each of us must gain this knowledge so that we can participate in an informed manner in the making of governmental decisions. Political science is the study of governments and governing procedures, focusing upon governments of sovereign states, their sub-units, international entities, and the theories and philosophies on which these states rest. It is more than just the study of politics and government. Because politics is all pervasive and affects the entire range of human behavior, it must be thoroughly understood. Planning aims to achieve orderly growth, assisting local governments and bringing citizens into the process within their communities.
Both the A. B. and B. S. programs prepare students to enter professional fields or graduate studies, and both provide students with useful skills that will assist them in their journey through life. The A. B. degree is especially useful for students who are interested in international political issues. They become proficient in a foreign language and minor in a related field of study. The B.S. degree emphasizes technical knowledge and specialization in professional training. Political theory and political practice are frequently joined. It is not unusual for political scientists and planners to put into practice what they learn about politics, government, and community growth. Many career opportunities are open to political science majors: business, law, teaching, government service and journalism. Planning is a rapidly growing field with job opportunities in public and private agencies. The M. P. A. degree prepares students to enter public employment or enhances the skills and knowledge of those already in government or nonprofit positions. Some go on for further study in doctoral programs. The M. S. in Rural and Small Town Planning provides graduates with the necessary technical skills and theory to analyze the critical economic, social, geographic and environmental issues related to growth, change and the quality of life so that they can be employed in public or private agencies. Departmental courses are regularly offered at Newnan and other off-campus locations.
The faculty members are dedicated to excellent teaching and are engaged in research and scholarly pursuits. They have regularly received awards for teaching and advising excellence. They have reviewed books in their field for publication. They have achieved an excellent record of publishing their research findings as refereed articles, monographs and books and presenting them at international, national and regional conferences in their fields. A national quarterly research journal was housed in the department for seven years. Faculty serve on editorial boards of several research journals and have been officers in numerous professional associations. Moreover, through consultation and workshops under the auspices of the proposed Center for Public Service, the faculty will provide assistance to local governments and non-profit organizations in the region to improve their ability to prepare comprehensive plans and to deliver services to citizens.
Departmental faculty members regularly teach courses to students in the Advanced Academy and Honors College. Dr. Don Wagner, who heads these programs, is a tenured member of the department. Students are required to write research papers in the upper division and graduate courses. Several students have competed to present their findings at Big Night or at regional conferences in their respective fields. Furthermore, departmental faculty have participated in the creation of the Freshman Center, have served as advisors at the Center, have been Advisors to Student Mentors, have attended advising workshops, have participated in the Student Retention Committee and have attended a national conference on Student Retention.