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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Interesting discussion in my seminar course today

If we're not talking about writing papers in the class we're talking about business in the political science department. There are other things worth discussing, but let's take those one at a time.

First off and this is the first time I ever I heard this. The Political Science Dept is growing. When I first arrived at Morehouse it was obviously a small department of mostly 6 or 7 professors on staff. There are two other programs within this Deptartment mainly International and Urban Studies. Ultimately they're approaching enough students to overtake the Business Department.

I chuckled at that! I'm not a business major, although I sure could have enrolled as a Finance major. I chuckled because I hear a lot of the business majors whining and complaining about the work they have to do. Financial statements, value chains, mission statements, and other terms that I have no idea about. Still they do I heard one business professor talk about how one of his colleague has passion. That professor might make or break you!

So the lack of surprise is that a lot of the guys come to the Political Science Dept saying they're not liking the Business program. Some of it is probably because it's demanding though of course I'm not saying that political science is any easier. I'll give you one example.

The constitutional law professor is a legend of sorts because he's said to have sent more HBCU students to Ivy League law schools than any other HBCU professor. Because of the rate he may fail or hold back students he is often referred to as "Dr. Death". If you don't brief the cases and make the attempt at reading or studying. Indeed you may choose not to come to class weeks at a time until the next test but you choose not to read during that period, a student shouldn't be surprised if he finds himself with an F at the end of the term.

He's not the only example but he is one example. For me political philosophy is hard. To me while reading is important it requires great critical thinking. Indeed it certainly helps if you had some exceptional reading comprehension. I guess it's intimidation because philosophy tends to be, in my opinion, heady!

In comparison to business you're learning how to research but mostly social or political phenomena. Also political science is apparently a jump off for law school. To be honest I hear it's not the best preparation. You might be better off majoring in English or Philosophy if you seek to enter a law school. In fact some Political Science majors choose to specialize within the department in political philosophy if they desire going to law school.

Also you may not have to work with numbers as much. You know statistics! There is a scope and methods course in the department but there isn't a course in social science statistics. If that's your speed or you want to go to grad school you might have to consider enrolling in a course outside of the department say an Economics or Sociology statistics.

Tangent: Hmm, now I wonder why some people choose to major in political science to begin with? I'll tell my story later!

Another issue that has come up is money. Morehouse isn't a very wealthy school perhaps compared to other liberal arts colleges. Also the political science department could use some money for scholarships especially in addition to perhaps other necessary resources in the department. I heard many years ago and it was touched upon today by another student that in general academic departments aren't allowed to raise money for their departments. All this money has to go thru the office of business/finance of the school. Almost unfortunate since the previous chair of the department has roughly the same issue and he figured other schools allowed departments to raise funds why not Morehouse?

So our professor who also chairs the department says that if he's not on campus he's out trying to raise funds. He mentioned how he a Morehouse alumni is interesting in donating some money into the department, he owns a local business here in Atlanta. He wants to know how the department works or at least the work put out by the students, especially as they graduate. Well an important thing to do if you want to make an investment.

Our chair couldn't stress this enough that there are areas of instruction they need to improve over. Students aren't well versed in scope & methods. Another issue among political science majors is writing. My political philosophy professor mentioned a student who doesn't know how to put together a thesis or even write a good essay even though he passed English composition. So at least she's going to help him thru that end and that's great. Hmm the previous chairman wanted to have a writing lab but apparently didn't get too far with that, unfortunately.

Oh yeah he mentioned a young Morehouse graduate running for Congress against John Lewis. If you follow the Congressional Black Caucus that is a name you should have heard of. Been a congressman for the city of Atlanta for decades apparently. So he suggest finding ways of getting students to help him out in his campaign.

A lot of stuff to cover I only wished that I knew about this little tidbits beyond having to attend class for this! And just a little taste about what they're teaching us down here. If of course you're interested.

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