In response to student criticism and observed inadequacies, the politics and government program is making changes to their curriculum.
According to Joseph Murphy, a junior politics & government and history double major, the main intention of any major is to prepare students for the “real world” or grad school. Murphy was adamant that, at this point, the program does not accomplish that.
Murphy is also a Vice President of the student body. Recently, SGA made an appeal to apply more stringent requirements to this major.
“From my own experience, the program is not up to par,” said Murphy. “We need more challenging classes required over a broader range of study. That is why we have chosen Dr. Sample to act as our faculty liaison.”
Academic Vice President Dr. Bradford Sample said that, even apart from SGA’s request, the department is undergoing changes.
“Col. [Ron] Petitte is spear-heading a movement in the curriculum. The new major will have an intro course, plus more strategic categories and a senior seminar. This idea has been in process since April or May of 2012,” said Sample.
One recent poli-gov graduate agreed with Murphy, saying that he felt ill-prepared for the work of grad school. Alan Brown graduated from the program in May 2012 and is now studying at Belmont University College of Law.
Brown said that fewer than half of his classes were actually related to poli-gov. Consequently, he spent an average of two hours per week on work outside of class and still graduated with a 3.7 GPA.
“It was a ‘learn what you want to learn’ type of major. At Belmont though, I spend five to eight hours a day studying outside of class just to keep up, because I wasn’t required to take certain things,” added Brown.
“It didn’t prepare me in terms of work ethic. Academic institutions need to be geared towards encouraging students to fulfill their potential, and that can’t all be intrinsic. We need guided assignments. There weren’t enough of those.”
According to Professor of Political Science Col. Ron Petitte, those changes are imminent.
“It was President Livesay who saw the need for the new program. All of my students are aware that Matthew 18:15 [“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you”] operates in my classroom. Yet, no one has come to me,” said Petitte.
When it comes down to it, “Students,” Petitte said, “are the ones who choose to take the major here. This is out of the realm of SGA.”