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Spotlight on Assessment: Political Science

Congratulations Political Science Faculty on Closing the Assessment Loop!

The most significant program improvement as a result of assessment data has been to expand offerings in the area of international relations (IR) and political theory. Both internal assessment data and data from the MFT field exam showed that comparative politics (CP) and international relations (IR) areas were the weakest areas of political science for our students. Consequently, a new hire in IR allowed for more courses in the subfield. The scores of our students on the MFAT exam in the CP area rose 28% and in the IR area 54% when compared to scores before the hire. POLS 151 Introduction to Political Ideas was added to the curriculum as a direct result of assessments that indicated students needed more background and beginning level instructions in that sub-field. Discussion with students about their theory preparation suggested they would greatly benefit from exposure to political theory before they took it at the 400 level. POLS 151 was designed to address these needs and to be part of the core of the major. The course has proven quite popular for majors and essential learning students alike (it is an essential learning option for Social and Behavioral Science requirements), drawing more students into the program. POLS 151 supports SLO #3 (Articulate diverse perspective surrounding a political issue (critical thinking)) through exposing students to at least 12 different political theory perspectives and asking them to use those perspectives to engage contemporary political issues in class discussion and on exams. It supports SLO #4 (Devise a strategy to promote civic involvement within the broader community for themselves and others (civic engagement)) by asking them to identify civic values necessary for developing community engagement and participation among citizens.