This year, APSA’s Special Projects Fund provided grants of up to $25,000 for ten collaborative projects aimed at advancing the discipline. One of these projects aims to advance the undergraduate political science major. The Conference on the Undergraduate Political Science Major Undergraduate will consider the curricular development the political science major with an eye toward a new era in higher education, tackling new challenges and taking advantage of new opportunities facing Political Science education in the 21st century. This project is led by John Ishiyama (University of North Texas), Marijke Breuning (University of North Texas), Terry Gilmour (Midland College), Cameron Thies (Arizona State University), Renee Van Vechten (University of the Redlands), and Sherri Wallace (University of Louiseville). To learn more about the Special Projects Fund visit APSA’s Centennial Center website.
Call for Proposals: “Rethinking the Undergraduate Political Science Major”
Denton, Texas May 31 – June 2, 2019
(supported by the American Political Science Association and the University of North Texas)
There has not been a major American Political Science Association sponsored curriculum reform effort regarding the undergraduate political science major (hereafter, UPSM) since the publication of “Liberal Learning and the Political Science Major: A Report to the Profession,” referred to as the “Wahlke Report” (Wahlke 1991). That report promoted a vision of liberal education and the political science major that emphasized the structure and sequencing of courses to better promote critical thinking and other important transferable skills.
Today, the discipline faces many new challenges that did not exist in 1991, including declining enrollments (in part fueled by declining interest in law school, a traditional goal of political science undergraduates), shifts in the share of UPSMs in the direction of large public universities, changes in the demographic composition of incoming students, and demands for the development of “employable skills” at the undergraduate level. However, there are new opportunities as well. The rise in mass political engagement–exemplified by the “Black Lives Matter,” “#MeToo,” and “March for Our Lives” movements–suggests a rising interest in politics. The Wahlke Report, although a major step in providing association-wide guidance on the structure of the political science major is, in our view, outdated. It is time for the association to consider new recommendations regarding the structure of the undergraduate major in political science.
To that end, with generous funding from the APSA, the conference “Rethinking the Undergraduate Political Science Major” will be held from Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2, 2019 at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Denton is part of the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex and is readily accessible from the region’s major airports. The conference will focus on revisiting the recommendations of the Wahlke Report with the purpose of developing new ideas regarding the structure of the political science major.
This conference will include political science teachers and scholars from a variety of institutions and epistemological orientations. Our goal is to address the desirable features of the structure of the UPSM for a new era. If accepted, funding will be available for travel and lodging for the conference. Once accepted, information about housing and the conference location will be distributed to participants.
We welcome proposals from ALL institutional settings and epistemological orientations. Paper proposals/abstracts should be no longer than 250 words, should summarizes the proposed project, and describe briefly how the project is related to the conference theme–restructuring the undergraduate political science major and making recommendations to the discipline. The due date for proposals is January 4, 2019 and should uploaded to: https://politicalscience.unt.edu/forms/call-proposals-rethinking-undergraduate-political-science-major