Our programs are designed to cultivate greater attention to each student both in and out of the classroom. Small classes provide students significant opportunities to develop close relationships with their colleagues and with the department faculty. Special attention is given to student course and career advising.
The department's experiential opportunities are flourishing. Several of our students have recently interned in Washington DC. In Spring 2008, three majors received full-time internships in Tennessee’s General Assembly, and one minor earned a position in Governor Phil Bredesen's office. Our majors also attended a variety of political conferences, including the National Conservative Student Conference, the Air Force Academy Undergraduate Student Conference and the Midwest Political Science Association Spring Meeting. The department also actively seeks to assist our students in finding opportunities at local law firms and in local political campaigns.
Political Science students are significant contributors to the Belmont community. Many of the department's majors and minors are involved in the new "Engaged Scholars" program as well as hold offices in the Student Government Association. Majors and minors in PSC classes are multiple winners of the campus-wide Crabb Writing Award (best written paper completed within a class setting). Some of these winners have also captured the Tennessee Political Science Association Undergraduate Paper Award. Our students have received other campus-wide and/or school awards in numbers far in excess of the number of majors in our program.
Political Science has been an active participant in the annual Belmont Undergraduate Research Symposium each Spring Semester, as our students present their senior thesis research. Several of our students have used their research in their political science classes as springboards to presentations at national research conferences.
Through The James Madison Society, our departmental student organization, students plan numerous politically-oriented convocation events each semester, often presenting papers or leading discussions on a variety of issues. Energetic Republican and Democratic clubs on campus also offer avenues for political participation. The department has likewise renewed its commitment to the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL), which offers students a forum to present public policy legislation that they draft in cooperation with other college studentsOur students possess lofty academic and professional goals, and the scholarly expectations are high in our classes. We believe the work is worth it! Many of our graduates go directly into politically related careers at the national, state, or local levels. A significant majority of our majors continue their education in graduate or law schools.