Each generation faces the work in the world that people can and need to do together, and that is what politics is all about. The tasks of the next generation are many and fateful: to heal the planet, to connect to peoples and cultures all over the world, to vanquish hunger and war, to manage economic and technological change, to seek and assure social and economic justice at home and abroad, to safeguard the heritage of liberty, and human rights, that are the treasures of our ancestors, to work toward justice, equality, generosity and an end to violence, and to exercise effective ethical and political intelligence in all aspects of human life. These tasks have never been more difficult or monumental.
The tasks that the next generation faces at this moment in history are particularly momentous. In the Political Science Department, we see ourselves teaching all aspects of politics - American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Politics and Political Theory, the history of thinking about politics - in order to prepare students for their lives as citizens, as activists, as policymakers, as political thinkers and as leaders, as they face the challenges of their political lives in the decades to come in an increasingly hectic, fragmented and fast-changing global world.
In the Department of Political Science, we take an approach to politics that emphasizes the relation between theory and practice. Political action needs to be grounded in political thought. Theory deepens the understanding that should inform decision making and enables us to handle the complexities, historical conditions and multiple layers of connection that generate intelligent political action. We also emphasize history. Politics is founded in history and particular circumstances; its practice is always contextual and conditioned by the past as well as the present. We take pride in teaching the acquisition of appropriate research methods and skills for accomplishing political goals. We also seek to develop in ourselves and our students the self-reflection that makes for depth and breadth in our commitments to intellectual and political work. Our students are interested in making a difference, in many ways and many fields. We are dedicated to helping them learn all they need to know to be able to do the work they want to do in the world with knowledge, efficacy and compassion.