Mission Statement

Undergraduate Students

Political Science (POLS) examines politics not only in government and among nations but also in private organizations, businesses, universities, families, language, and daily life. Various methods are used to do this, ranging from the interpretive and historical to the quantitative and statistical. Although properly eclectic in our orientation, the department's major methodological emphasis can be called critical interpretivist: we utilize and develop poststructuralist, feminist, Marxist, post–colonial, queer cultural and philosophical theories, as well as more mainstream theories, in our approaches to political phenomena.

Political science graduates enter numerous professions: journalism, foreign service, social service, government, law, teaching, law enforcement, civil service, business, librarianship, and research.

Undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes

We see the political in numerous phenomena, many of which have not been developed by political science. We have established a unique set of learning outcomes that are extended across our curriculum:

  1. Students will be able to think critically and historically about power and the political.
    Students identify and analyze power dynamics in a range of social contexts and processes, including but not limited to language, government, images of the future and civil society institutions. Students will be able to pose and explore relevant, open-ended questions about authority and legitimacy.
  2. Students will be able to craft and defend evidence-based arguments.
    This argumentative capacity is built upon their ability to rigorously and respectfully weigh competing views, synthesize multiple sources and critically reflect on their own and others assumptions. Students should be able to make arguments in both written and oral forms of communication.
  3. Students will be able to communicate effectively in public settings, with attention to and appreciation of diverse cultural contexts.
    Students are equipped for productive, civic participation in their communities, able to synthesize critical thinking, empathic, collaborative and argumentative capacities, and futures thinking with an audience in mind.
  4. Students will be able to cogently explain the interconnectedness of local and global dynamics of power within the context of the political and cultural specificities of Hawai`i nei.

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Graduate Students

We assume students who enter graduate level study have been given appropriate training in the fundamentals of the discipline and possess the qualities necessary to produce graduate–level work. From the admissions process on, students are assessed upon several important outcomes which are listed below.

Graduate Student Learning Outcomes

  1. The ability to produce quality scholarship
    At the graduate level we anticipate that students will use their knowledge of the fundamentals of the discipline as well as critical evolution of the discipline over time to help contribute to that field through their own research.
  2. Master of one or more sub–fields offered in the major
    Our program offers subfields that form the specialization a graduate student will develop while enrolled in the program. We expect students graduating from the program to have mastered one or more of these subfields. Specifically, they should have an understanding of the tradition and critical literature of the subfield and be able to demonstrate a mastery of these fields.
  3. Ability to think politically
    Much like our expectations of the undergraduate majors, we require students to think politically about social phenomenon. Comprehending that all social, economic, and cultural processes are also political is a crucial learning outcome. Understanding that no knowledge is innocent, but that all knowledge has consequences is key to this learning outcome.

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