Yesterday, I attended the meeting for political science majors regarding the staffing situation in the political science department. I blogged earlier about the underclassmen meeting that took place a week before. The reason there were two different meetings was because freshmen and sophomores have different needs than juniors and seniors.
There is a chance for the department to recover (of course this situation is only temporary) by the time the underclassmen become seniors. But for those for whom the future is now they have to worry about getting there so that they can go in 2009 or 2010. What's going on this current year will affect upperclassmen the most.
There are no political theory (philosophy) courses offers this fall. Not even the introductory sophomore level course that I had taken last semester is offered. The man reason is that they couldn't find a replacement for the professor who left Morehouse who would teach them. The department chair hopes to have an adjunct from another college or the school's scholar-in-residents to teach some of the political theory courses in the department.
The department chair talked about contingency plans. Students might need to figure out what courses they need to take in order to graduate. That might mean that they have to cross-register at other colleges to get their necessary credit. They can do that at AUC schools but also at other schools in the Atlanta area.
Also unlike last semester there is no capstone courses offered because of the staffing situation. There is no senior seminar, but the chair will allow for approved substitutes. Such as for instance if you are on a track then you can do an approved capstone in one of the courses in the track. Of course it has to be a 300 or 400 level course. He says that it's important to have a capstone course because if you want to get employed or go to a graduate school they'll look for that.
He also stressed that if you leave the department without a theory course students will be hurting themselves. It's probably stressed for those who are seeking to continue their education. Especially if you're going to grad school, it might be required to study some political theory during the course of your graduate studies in political science.
You know I don't talk about my progress at school much but I must admit that I don't have the worries of many of these students. I'm almost through with my requirements in fact the future for me is RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Though I will admit that the department's situation is of concern at the moment and I'm glad I attended that meeting to hear about as much of the structural issues as possible.