Political Science and Public Administration
Department of Political Science
Professor Bob Beatty, PhD, Chair
Associate Professor Linsey Moddelmog, PhD
Assistant Professor, Amber Dickinson, PhD
Lecturer Grant Armstrong, MA
Consistent with the missions of the University and the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Political Science offers students the opportunity to deepen and broaden their knowledge of the theories and functions of politics, policy and governance which regulate the civic interactions of both peoples and sovereignties in the United States of America and internationally. Students enrolled in the offerings of the department will learn to critically examine the laws, organizations, political practices and public behaviors/involvements in the workings of governments both foreign and domestic. Through engaged teaching, guided practical involvement, and mentored scholarly research, faculty contribute to the intellectual development of students who acquire skills for the examination and understanding of the discipline. In addition to the academic/classroom experience, opportunities are provided for observation, participation in, and assessment of the political environment through internships, field study, and the opportunity to experience and interact with public officials, analysts and policy experts through course offerings and events.
Description of the Discipline
Political Science is the study of governments, public policies and political behavior using both humanistic and scientific perspectives and skills to examine the countries and regions of the world. See www.apsanet.org.
The Political Science Department administers the two degrees of political science (BA) and public administration (BPA), and a Certificate of Non-Profit Management (see also the Department of Human Services).
The Bachelor’s degree in Political Science (BA) seeks to prepare well-rounded students who understand politics and policies domestically, internationally, theoretically, and administratively. The BA in Political Science is for those who plan to go on to graduate or law school, careers in public affairs or public employment, or who seek a well-rounded liberal arts education in preparation for any number of life callings.
The Department offers a Bachelor of Public Administration degree (BPA) that emphasizes public and non-profit management. We also offer jointly with the Department of Human Services in the School of Applied Studies the Certificate of Non-Profit Management.
Student Learning Outcomes
Political Science students at Washburn University, upon graduation, are expected to have acquired knowledge in four of the following five subfields:
- The political institutions and processes of the governments of the United States.
- International political issues, significant international organizations, and the world political economy.
- The field of comparative political institutions and political processes.
- The field of public administration, its processes, and the general principles and problems of complex public organizations.
- Interpret the meaning and significance of political data.
3.5 overall GPA and a 3.5 Political Science/Public Administration GPA (All Political Science/Public Administration courses taken. Cognates for the BPA are not counted in the major GPA calculation, but must be C or better to count towards the degree).
PO 106 The Government of the United States (3)
Theory, organization and functioning of our democratic government in modern society with special emphasis on the national government and its relations with the states. The role of government in a democratic society as a supplier of services, the embodiment of values and the arbiter of conflict is stressed.
PO 107 Kansas and the U.S., State and Local Government (3)
Examines American state and local politics, government, and public policies from the grassroots to the institutional level with a particular emphasis on the similarities and differences that exist in Kansas in comparison to the characteristics found in the rest of the states. Contrasting the fundamental differences between states and localities and the national government is also an emphasis of the course.
PO 225 Introduction to International Politics (3)
Theory and practice of international politics with special attention to foreign policy and decision-making process, major issues facing the international system, the role and functions of international and transnational organizations with respect to conflict and cooperation in the international community.
PO 235 Governments of the World: Comparative Politics (3)
Examines selected governments of the world. Basic concepts, theories and methods in comparative analysis of political institutions, processes, and policies of nations. Case studies of selected political systems developed and developing, Western and non-western, democratic and non-democratic illustrate the analytical approaches.
PO 245 Introduction to Public Administration (3)
Designed to acquaint the student with the organization and functioning of the administration of government. Includes introduction to theories of administration, policy and administration values, study of the governmental bureaucracy and administrative behavior.
PO 255 Introduction to the American Legal System (3)
Designed to acquaint the student with the basic institutions and procedures of the American legal system. Also a very basic introduction to substantive areas of American law such as: torts, contracts, civil procedure, regulation of business.
PO 300 Special Topics/Political Science (1-3)
Topics will vary from semester to semester and will be announced in advance.
PO 305 Public Policy (3)
Examines the role of government as a supplier of services to its citizens. It will cover the following topics: the nature of politics and policy, social problem identification and articulation, interest groups and the formation of public policy, the analysis of policy content, policy implementation, and policy evaluation.
PO 306 Urban-Metropolitan Government (3)
Analysis of historical, political, economic, and social development of urban America. Emphasis will be placed on discussion of contemporary urban problems through investigation of the legal status of municipal and county governments, machine, reform, and ethnic politics, socioeconomic class status and urban society, community power, forms of participation in urban politics, the problems and politics of urban policymaking, and suggestions for improving urban-metro governments.
PO 307 Internship - State or Local Government (3-6)
Experience in an operating office of state or local government in order to gain insight into government at these levels. Problem paper required. Prerequisites: Political Science 107 and/or consent of instructor. Junior or Senior standing.
PO 308 American Elections and Federalism (3)
Examines American national elections in the context of the American federal system. A study of the nature, patterns, and impact of American federalism, including historical, fiscal, economics, policy and political significance.
PO 309 Kansas Legislative Experience (3)
Analysis of the Kansas legislature and governor, along with other state-wide offices and the media — how all function within the governmental system of Kansas. Along with an in-depth study of the legislative session, the student will be required to attend legislative committee meetings, floor debates, and gubernatorial press conferences. Students will also conduct participant observation within a legislative or executive branch office. No prerequisites.
PO 325 Advanced International Relations (3)
The course will examine traditional realist approaches to international power; alternative perspectives to power politics; American foreign policy; and understandings of the roots and resolution of international conflict. Prerequisite: PO 225. Non-majors may enroll without prerequisite by instructor permission.
PO 332 Politics through Film & Literature (3)
Exposes students to the nature and varied dynamics of politics through film and literature. Emphasis will be placed on classical, modern, and post- modern understandings of politics as expressed in film and literature with the expectation of sharing an informed and inviting view of politics in the Western world. No prerequisites.
PO 335 Advanced Comparative Politics (3)
A study of the governments politics, policies and political cultures of the countries in particular regions of the world e.g. Latin America, Central and Western Europe, or China, Japan and Eastern Asia. Analysis of the political processes, government institutions, national and multi-national alliances, public policies, political economies, cultures, interest groups and leaders that shape the political landscapes of the particular region covered in a given semester constitutes the scope of each semester's class. A specific emphasis on the forces of political and economic change will be central to the course. Prerequisite: PO 235. Non-majors may enroll without prerequisite by instructor permission.
PO 337 Religions and Politics (3)
Describes the many current trends of religions and politics in the U.S. focusing on the major religions and their political teachings, considerable political power and activism in contemporary American politics, society and life. Prerequisite: 3 hours of political science, or consent of the instructor.
PO 343 Administrative Law (3)
The scope of the law as it applies to administrative agencies of the government. Focuses on the powers of agencies, administrative rule-making, regulatory activities, due process, and judicial review of administrative actions.
PO 346 Problems in Public Administration (3)
Problems and cases involved in administering public policy.
PO 371 Topics: American Politics and Government (3)
At the discretion of the instructor this course may investigate any aspect of the theories, institutions, contexts, or contemporary problems of American politics and government. Chief subject elements they include are the various branches of American government, federalism, constitutionalism, the roles of the press, public opinion, interest groups and non-governmental policy and service institutions, and the various policy fields of the government, e.g. economic, welfare, education, public health, and military defense.
PO 372 Topics: Comparative Politics (3)
At the discretion of the instructor this course may investigate any aspect of the theories, institutions, contexts, or contemporary problems of comparative politics. Chief subject elements may include regional international alliances, democratization, non-democratic governmental systems, international political economy, human rights issues, global trade, the international political implications of immigration, food production, environmental degradation and restoration, species migration, and climate change.
PO 373 Topics-International Relations (3)
At the discretion of the instructor this course may investigate any aspect of the theories, institutions, contexts, or contemporary problems of international relations. Chief subject elements may include theories of nation-state interaction, negotiation, and war, American foreign policy, and examining aspects of changing global hegemonic power.
PO 374 Topics-Public Administration (3)
At the discretion of the instructor this course may investigate any aspect of the theories, institutions, contexts, or contemporary problems of the field of Public Administration including but not limited to: the theories of bureaucratic administration; public law; personnel management and labor relations; organizational theory, management and behavior; public policy making, implementation, and evaluation; intergovernmental relations; leadership; public finance, budgeting and auditing.
PO 386 Directed Readings (1-3)
Readings in the selected fields of Political Science. May be taken until three credit hours are earned. This course is repeatable for another 1-3 hours if the topic areas differ. Prerequisite: Senior Political Science major or approval of the department head.
PO 390 Applied Political Research (3)
Introduction to utilization of basic research techniques in public administration and political science.
PO 391 Public Personnel Administration (3)
The principles and techniques involved in managing public employees. Particular attention is given to staffing, separation, and administrative functions related to public employment.
PO 393 Public Budgeting (3)
The politics of planning, financing, and managing governmental budgets at the national, state, and local levels.
PO 394 Public Management Techniques (3)
A study of the differences in the setting of the management of the various kinds of public organizations, and a survey of the basic techniques of strategic planning, fund-raising, decision-making, community inter-organization development, leadership, negotiations, mission definition, policy analysis and evaluation for maximum effectiveness in the public sector.
PO 395 Non-Profit Management (3)
A survey of the various forms and particular differences of the management and operation of Non-Profit organizations as distinguished from traditional government administration.
PO 396 Topics in Applied Research (3)
This is an expansion of the methodological foundation laid in PO 390, the required methodology course for PO majors. In this course the basic techniques and tools introduced in PO 390 are reviewed and expanded to include contemporary techniques in multi-variate analysis. Students will also be expected to develop and complete research inquiries into relevant quantitative and/or qualitative data, and prepare and present their analysis before a departmental audience. Prerequisite: PO 390 or by permission of the course instructor.
PO 397 Advanced Applied Research (3)
This is an advanced course in social science research methodology involving instruction and student participation in various aspects of the research enterprise as used by political campaign staffs, consultants, public agencies and other public policy investigative organizations. Possible areas of investigation include but are not limited to survey research design, questionnaire development and testing, focus group research, quasi-experimental research design and execution, qualitative research tools, multi-variate statistical analysis, OLS regression analysis, data description, and presentation formatting. Prerequisite: PO 390 or by permission of the course instructor.
PO 401 Program Evaluation Methods (3)
The most vital methods of evaluating the effects of programs and agency goals of government and non-profit agencies.
PO 450 Senior Seminar (1)
This is required for graduating Seniors majoring in political science. It is a capstone course offered every semester. It is a review of the major theories in the areas of Political Theories, American Politics, Comparative Politics, Public Administration, and International Relations, plus quantitative research methods. The course is team taught by the faculty. Student proficiency in the discipline will be measured by a national performance exit exam over areas of Political Science.