Mission and Goals
The Department of Politics at Washington and Lee University teaches students to be informed and active citizens of a free society, able to think about politics with rigor and nuance. We offer a wide array of courses in American government, political philosophy, global politics, and statistics and methods. We encourage students to pursue their education in an interdisciplinary manner and we provide opportunities to augment their study in off-campus and experiential learning programs.
To this end, the Politics Department faculty:
- Offer a broad, robust political science curriculum.
- Structure the major in an interdisciplinary spirit and encourage students to take advantage of off-campus and foreign study programs.
- Teach in a responsive, solicitous manner.
- Engage and contribute to the study of politics in the broader scholarly community.
- Teach courses that enable students to demonstrate competency in: Research and Analysis Objectively Evaluating Information and Arguments and Formulating their own thesis Integrating Knowledge into a broader understanding of Politics
Student Learning Objectives
In keeping with our mission statement, the Politics Department has established the following student learning objectives.
- Students will achieve advanced study in one of the three major subfields of Political Philosophy, American Government and International and Global Politics.
- Students will demonstrate competency in basic methods of quantitative analysis.
- Students will demonstrate competency in Research and Analysis Skills:
Choosing from a wide array of methodological techniques, we teach students how to select, collect, and analyze data according to the strictures of their respective disciplines.
- Students will demonstrate competency in the Evaluation and Formulation of Theses:
Understanding the key differences between information and knowledge, we teach students to employ discipline-specific techniques to evaluate data, discriminate between levels of importance and suitability, the end of which is to develop an independent interpretation of phenomena that is the hallmark of critical thinking.
- Students will demonstrate competency in Integrating Knowledge:
Cultivating an appreciation that knowledge does not emerge in a vacuum, that it is the fruit of an on-going dialogue in works of scholarship that constitute a discipline, we teach students to engage in and contribute to that dialogue in ways that enhance their understanding of and participation in society.