I’m pleased to announce that our blog is back (and with a new look!) We’re now about a month into the Fall 2014 semester. The leaves are changing, sweaters are emerging from closets, and hot coffee is being sipped (or chugged, in some instances.) And here at the department of Politics and International Relations, classes are in full swing! Here’s just a sampling of what we’ve been up to:
Constitutional Law (POLI 214)
Dr. Rego is teaching the first of a two-part sequence in Constitutional Law. This class, Governmental Power and Constraints, examines landmark constitutional cases regarding the allocation of power among the various institutions of government. General topics include the politics of constitutional interpretation, judicial power, legislative power, presidential power, separation of powers in action, nation-state relations, and economic liberties. Of special interest is the role of the Supreme Court in interpreting the Constitution. Throughout the semester, students are challenged to consider both the judicial and the political factors that influence the decision-making of justices, as well as the belief of many that the Supreme Court is, or should be, the ultimate/exclusive interpreter of the Constitution. Regardless of whether this is or should be the case, the Court is a major player in our political system. For this reason, students are expected to become proficient in reading and comprehending the judicial opinions through which the Court speaks to the nation in order to explain why it has done what it has done.
Theories of International Relations (POLI 362)
The millennial generation of students has been referred to as the “first globals;” that is, the first generation of young people to be networked to the culture, economics and politics of the global community. Just a couple of decades ago relatively few American students had travelled outside of the United States. Today, the majority of students have spent some time in another country, even before they got to college. It is not surprising, therefore, that student interest in studying international relations is growing. At Messiah College there are several options for students interested in global education. The Department of Politics and International Relations offers a popular major track in international relations that attracts students with interests that include diplomacy, public policy, intelligence work, non-governmental organizations, international law, and multi-national business. During the current fall semester Professor Dean Curry is teaching the IR track’s capstone course, Theories of International Relations. This upper division seminar, and sequel to the International Politics (POLI212) course, introduces students to the major theoretical approaches to IR as well as provides students with an opportunity to rigorously reflect on contemporary issues of global politics. According to Dr. Curry, one of his main objectives in teaching the course is to connect the ivory tower of academic ideas to the gritty real world of the global political economy. The format of the course is structured on a graduate school seminar model with class discussion and group presentations focusing on timely articles as well as six recently published books addressing a range of IR issue areas.
In addition, be sure to check out our newly-uploaded department video, which features students and professors discussing the benefits of studying politics at Messiah College:
Be on the lookout for more blog entries later in the semester!