Government Department Learning Goals

The Government Department at St. Lawrence University is comprised of four generally recognized sub-fields: American Politics, Political Theory, Comparative Politics, and International Relations. Students who major in Government should master a number of broad categories of knowledge and skills. The curriculum of the department is designed to educate students to be informed and inquisitive citizens, to understand diverse perspectives, and to be conscious of their rights and responsibilities within local, national and global communities.

Learning Objectives

• Disciplinary knowledge: Students should have a general understanding of the broad range of political values, theories, and institutions that undergird politics. They should be particularly cognizant of issues pertaining to power and justice, and how these two elements complement and confront each other. By engaging such issues in departmental courses, students are further encouraged to examine their own political attitudes and beliefs and consider the experiences of others.

• Analytical skills/Critical thinking: Students should be able to access a broad range of research material from diverse voices in their field, including both primary and secondary sources. They should be able to formulate and interrogate an argument; to reflect critically on the soundness of their own and others’ points of view; to critically analyze systems of power that exclude, oppress, and marginalize; to appreciate the variety of methodologies that inform the discipline; and to acquire expertise and research literacy in its study.

• Technical and applied skills: Students should be able to express themselves clearly and concisely. They should be able to conduct research consistent with the practices of the discipline and have familiarity with the disciplinary concepts and vocabulary employed by political scientists. Students should be encouraged to take an active interest in political life, to engage with difference, and to develop the habits of intellectual curiosity, self-reflection, and open-mindedness that are the hallmarks of lifelong learning.