Coming Soon to Spire – New Fall ’14 Pol Sci courses

April 24th, 2014 by psls

We know that many of you will be off-line after finals, and so we wanted to catch you now to let you know that we will be posting three new political science classes for the fall semester very soon:

  • POLISCI 220 Public Administration: Focus on political control of public agencies, including how and why agencies are created, the ways in which they shape public policies, how elected officials and other actors control agency discretion, and the ways in which agencies might be reformed. Covers a wide range of policy issues including social welfare, public health, and the environment.
  • POLISCI 308 Public Opinion: Exploration of public opinion on a variety of political topics to develop an understanding about how the public thinks about issues and why they think the way they do. Examines how peoples’ opinions influence their behavior, and whether or not political leaders follow the “will of the public” or manipulate public opinion to achieve their own aims.
  • POLISCI 328 Research Methods for political and social scientists: This course is designed to familiarize undergraduate political and social science majors with the basics of undertaking research in the social sciences. It will cover aspects of research design, and an introduction to various methodological approaches to political science research.

Keep checking Spire over the next few weeks for specific times and days! Each will be taught by our new faculty members — we’ve hired three new, tenure-track political science faculty and one new director of legal studies! The Department just keeps growing!

2014 Graduation Celebrations!

April 24th, 2014 by psls

Seniors: Remember that you have  TWO graduation ceremonies! (Twice the fun!)

1) May 9 at 4:30 in McGuirk Stadium is your official Commencement.

This is the University-wide celebration and it will include the Commencement address by Deval Patrick, and the awarding of honorary degrees to Former Rep. John W. Olver and Journalist Gail Collins ’70G. See here:

2.) May 10 at 1:00 in the Mullins Center is your College of Social and Behavioral Science Senior Celebration.

This is the college-only ceremony, and it is where your name will actually be read and you will walk across the stage and appear on the jumbo-tron. See here:

Seniors are encouraged to attend both celebrations.

New Fall Course for Criminology Certificate!

April 24th, 2014 by sadler

Now open on-line, no consent required!  This is a University Eligible/CPE course that does NOT require matriculated students to pay CPE tuition and fees in addition to their regular tuition.

Sociol 497CR(78692), Survey of Criminal Justice Fields w/ Robert Ryan,
Chief Probation officer of the Eastern Hampshire District

Wednesday, 5-7:30

Designed to provide students who have an interest in working in the
criminal justice system, with an overview of that system through the
lectures of professionals who hold significant judicial, legal, law
enforcement, and correctional positions. The speakers discuss their
personal journeys to their current positions, what their duties and
responsibilities are, and what type of background and experience their
agencies/offices are looking for in an applicant. Throughout the course,
there is a discussion of those Amendments to the Constitution (e.g. 4th,
5th, 6th) that are most significant in limiting the powers of those who
work in the criminal justice system.

Sociol 241, Criminology is a prerequisite but if you haven’t take
it, and you want to take this course, please contact:

Wendy Wilde at

New Summer In-Person 1 Credit Course: Public Policy in Pakistan and Iraq

April 24th, 2014 by psls

If you will be in the Amherst area this summer and have an interest in Policy or International Relations, consider our newly announced, 1 credit, POLISCI 395J: Public Policy in Pakistan and Iraq course.

More information is available here. 

The course is truly unique in that you will be sitting along side students from Pakistan and Iraq and have an opportunity to dive in-depth into policy differences and similarities in each country.

The class meets each weekday July 1 through Aug 4 for 2 to 3 hours and features lectures, discussions, debates, and projects. You will discuss methods of comparing policy across cultures; history; current political situations; society; and specific policy areas.

Students who participate in these Civics Initiative Courses often cite them as highlights of their UMass experience, and the connections made in the classroom often open other opportunities for networking, professional development and even internships down the road.

If you have any questions about this course or if you would like to register, please contact the instructor, Michael Hannahan at

Results from Political Science Ugrad Survey

April 15th, 2014 by psls

Thank you to all of you who participated in our Political Science Majors Experience survey (And congratulations to the two majors who won the hoodies for participating!)

We are committed to incorporating your feedback into our programming and wanted to share some of the results of the survey with you.

Among the top findings are: 

  • 84% of majors say that Professors are interested in helping students reach their full potential
  • The most frequently cited areas of improvement were 1.) getting more career advice and 2.) increasing the selection of course offerings
  • 85% of majors are satisfied with the quality of our advising staff
  • 74% of majors are satisfied with the opportunities for scholarships
  • 68% of majors are satisfied with mentoring from faculty
  • 44% of majors are satisfied with opportunities to work on faculty research projects.
  • 89% of majors are satisfied with the quality of instruction
  • 78% of majors are satisfied with our class sizes
  • 76% of majors are satisfied with the relevance of coursework to their future career plans.
  • 59% of majors are satisfied with the activities sponsored by the department

Why did you become a political science major?

Top 2 answers:

  • My interest in politics
  • My future career goals relate to politics and government

What three goals are most important to you as a political science major?

Top 3 answers:

  • Developing skills that will help with employment after graduation
  • Learning more about political affairs
  • Improving my understanding of other countries and cultures

In which areas have you improved most since majoring in Political Science?

Top Answers:

  • General knowledge of politics (57%)
  • Understanding problems facing citizens in the US and abroad (49%)
  • Understanding of political theory (43%)
  • Understanding of international relations (42%)

Bottom Answers:

  • Ability to conduct research (27%)
  • Public speaking (13%)
  • Ability to work as a part of a team (3%)

So what will we do next?

We are committed to growing our Undergraduate Research Engagement Program, and we are working with faculty to develop new opportunities for undergraduates to participate in hands-on research. Keep checking the link above over the summer as we add new positions and application instructions.

We are already doing a lot to help you explore careers –we developed an alumni network this year, hired several professors of practice, organized networking events like Meet the Law, brought back alums for advice and lectures, sent students to conferences and the United Nations, organized graduate school panels, and offered a 1 credit professional development seminar. But we’ve learned that we need to better communicate these things so that more students take advantage of them. Do you have suggestions? We regularly post on Twitter, Facebook, the Dept Website, bulletin boards, and in our weekly email. What else should we be doing? Let us know at

We’re thinking about ways to improve your public speaking opportunities, too. To start, we encourage all students to apply to present at the Statewide Undergraduate Research Conference every year. We’re talking with our program directors to see what options exist for offering a public speaking course. Stay tuned.


Apply to be A Field & Finance Intern for the Martha Coakley for Governor Campaign

April 8th, 2014 by mcallana

The Martha Coakley for Governor campaign is looking for field & finance interns. The internship is an opportunity to learn campaign tactics, become a community leader, and build the organization that will help elect our next governor. Working closely with experienced staff and veteran activists in a fast-paced environment, interns will learn indispensable organizing and fundraising skills that will be useful in future careers, especially in local and national political campaigns, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

We are looking for energetic and passionate leaders from all different backgrounds and levels of experience. To apply, please fill out this short, online application:

Apply to the Kayyem Summer Organizing Fellows program

April 8th, 2014 by mcallana

Juliette Kayyem’s campaign for MA Governor is looking for exceptional Summer Organizing Fellows to join our team in late May and stay on through early September.

About the Fellowship:

Fellows with Juliette Kayyem’s gubernatorial campaign will work with closely with field staff to meet weekly volunteer recruitment goals, attend community events on behalf of the candidate, build for house parties and meet and greets, and conduct voter contact to inform voters of the campaign’s message. Each fellow will report to a Regional Field Director, who will set goals and implement an area specific field plan. Fellows will gain valuable experience through leading volunteer teams, attending training sessions with campaign staff, and participating in direct voter outreach. To apply, send résumés to No resumé? No problem. Apply here: Kayyem Summer Fellowship Application.

Summer Organizing Fellows will be expected to:

- Be able to commit at least 20-25 hours per week during the summer months

- Have strong interpersonal skills, experience meeting deadlines, and the ability the ability to manage many tasks simultaneously

- Use verbal and written methods to communicate the campaign’s message

- Conduct voter outreach through door-to-door canvassing and phone banking

- Have an interest in state politics and local organizing

- Stay up to date on the gubernatorial race through reading news articles and social media

- Staff and attend events on behalf of the campaign

About Juliette:

Juliette started her career as a civil rights attorney, litigating cases involving the rights of children and defending progressive and just causes; helping to bring the first federal anti-bullying case to court and was part of the team that argued for The Citadel to open its doors to women. Juliette then moved into public safety and homeland security, serving as Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s homeland security adviser. After several years, she was tapped by President Obama to be part of his transition team before being chosen as Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security, where she was responsible for coordinated and consistent planning between the federal government and all of its state, local, and territorial partners on issues as varied as immigration, intelligence sharing, military affairs, immigration reform, and crisis management.

A proven leader as well as a proven communicator, Juliette has taught new leaders in public safety and the military at Harvard’s Kennedy School, served as a CNN analyst, and was a columnist for the Boston Globe. In 2013 she was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her series urging the Pentagon to ends its female combat exclusion rule, a prohibition the military has since lifted in recognition of women’s contribution to the war effort.

Help Elect Environmental Champions! The Environmental League of MA Campaign Boot Camp

April 7th, 2014 by mcallana

Massachusetts is a leader in protecting the environment and fighting climate change, but we can do even better. The Environmental League of Massachusetts is committed to building a more muscular and effective environmental community by arming grassroots organizers with the information needed to help elect environmental champions.

For those of you committed to fighting for the environment, the ELM Campaign Boot Camp will help you become a valuable asset for the candidates and causes you support.

At this two-day training, experienced Massachusetts political operatives will demystify the various facets of campaigns and help you build the skills you need to play a leadership role in campaigns. Get in-depth training on the four key elements of political campaigns:
• Field organizing
• Fundraising
• Communications
• Political strategy

This event will take place on May 16 and 17 in Boston. Tickets are $25 for students. Click here for details and registration. 

A limited amount of financial assistance is available. Please contact Ken Pruitt for more information. 617-742-2553

New Course: POLISCI 214 – Urban Gov w Mayor Morse

April 5th, 2014 by psls

You asked and we listened! We have received such positive feedback about courses taught by our professors of practice — Armenian Ambassador Armen Baibourtian, State Representative Aaron Vega, and United Nations Policy Adviser Mukul Sanwal, to name a few — that we have added one more: Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse! Mayor Morse is going to teach POLISCI 214, Urban Government and Politics in Fall 2014.

Not only does this give students the opportunity to learn about the inner-workings of city government from a true “insider,” but it is a great chance to hear how Mayor Morse made his decision to enter public service and politics at such a young age.

The class will meet Fridays from 9- 11:30. Look for POLISCI 214, course # 79390 in Spire.

Fall Internship w City of Holyoke

April 3rd, 2014 by psls

Are you interested in local politics? If so this opportunity is for you:

The Department is pleased to announce a new internship opportunity with the City of Holyoke. Interns can apply to work right in the Mayor’s office or can apply to work in any of the city departments. This is an excellent opportunity to learn first-hand about city governments and urban politics.

Internships with the city are unpaid, but the Department is offering a $1000 scholarship to one intern.

Contact Michelle Goncalves,, for more information.

Can’t fit an internship into your schedule? We’re also pleased to announce that Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse will  be teaching POLISCI 214: Urban Government and Politics for us in the Fall — stay tuned for more information!  The course will appear on Spire over the next few weeks.