The political scientist Charles Lindblom observed that political science “is a name given not to a field of conventional scientific inquiry but to a continuing debate” about such central political concepts as power, the state, and values. The discipline of political science does provide a formal structure for this ongoing debate about the nature of political life. The study of political science involves engaging in this debate across a variety of domains (comparative, empirical, historical, legal, and philosophical) and across a variety of topics (citizenship, conflict, cooperation, ethics, leadership, peace, and war).
The Political Science program at Mars Hill is committed to helping students enter the structured debate that is political science and develop skills crucial for leading self-examined lives so that they may be better citizens (both locally and globally) and become active members of their communities. Specifically, we strive to make students more conscious of the many and complex ways in which political forces – both domestic and global – shape their lives, for better or worse, and help them create pathways to make their world a better place.
The program, therefore, first seeks to help its students understand the nature of political systems, focusing primarily upon the context within which they operate, the forces that seek to influence them, the inner workings of systems, and their policy outcomes. Further, in appreciation of our ever growing interconnected world, the program seeks to help students understand global development, conflict, cooperation, security and peace. We strive to answer “big” questions: Why do nations go to war? Why are some nations poor and others rich? How can nations encourage peace? What is the future for America?
The program encourages the intellectual formation of students by encouraging them to think, read and write clearly, cogently, and critically about issues that matter and prepares them for their future responsibilities as citizens and leaders. Students of political science are prepared for careers in law, business, academics, and public service, including governmental and non-profit organizations.