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Department of Political Science


Political Science studies government and politics at the local, state, national, and international levels. It examines various systems of government and the ideologies upon which they are based. It familiarizes the student with political concepts and issues, their historical background, and their relevance to the cultural systems from which they arise. The study of political science and government provides methods for analyzing political issues in an impartial way and for dealing with them effectively.

The Department offers an extensive and balanced curriculum for undergraduate students designed to broaden and deepen their understanding of politics and to provide the basic and pre-professional courses necessary for them to successfully transfer to senior institutions. It also helps advise students pursuing pre-law, paralegal, or criminal justice majors.

Pre-law students are advised in such a way as to prepare them both for a senior college and for the LSAT. The best kind of preparation for law school is a broad liberal arts background which includes courses to strengthen one's command of English, develop an ability to think clearly and logically, and increase the understanding of human institutions and values and knowledge of the judicial system. Therefore, a broad assortment of classes is suggested, in addition to those taken specifically to meet degree requirements. Political science courses are a key component, but so are philosophy, economics, and other disciplines. Pre-law students are advised on an individual basis, after due consideration of their backgrounds, experiences, and career goals. Computer software offers pre-law students an opportunity to take a sample LSAT, have it scored, analyzed, and serve as a basis for self-improvement. On-line legal sources are readily available for research into topics of constitutional law and are used for the American Government & Politics mock " Constitutional Law Case " activity. Paralegal students are advised according to whether they expect to receive a two-year certificate or a baccalaureate degree. Increasingly, the trend is towards the degree. There are over 90,000 paralegals in the field, but the urgent demand in the legal field to remain competitive and serve more clients has created an unprecedented opportunity for trained paralegals on a nationwide level. The job market is expected to double in size in the next ten years. Paralegals generally work with attorneys, judges, prosecutors, or public defenders, assisting with research, document preparation and analysis, client and witness interviewing, and investigation. Independent paralegals may earn in excess of $100,000 per year, administrative and legislative paralegals earn up to $45,000, and those working by the hour receive $30-100 an hour. Specialties include Family Law, Litigation (about 53% of paralegals), Personal Injury, Corporate Law, Real Estate, and Government.

Criminal Justice students are advised according to their career goals, with Law Enforcement or Public Administration being the most common emphases. The concern is to coordinate political science courses with basic requirements and the criminal justice courses offered by the Sociology Department. In this major, the transfer function is primary.

The Department does not offer all courses each semester. Check with the Department, or its Web page, to determine classes and schedule for the next session. Curricula are revised on the Department's home page in a timely fashion so as to remain current. Transfer questions are usually answered by reference to the Transfer Information System. This on-line program lists transfer equivalency of each course to each of the units of the University of Wisconsin system.

Any PS course offered at UW-Fox Valley, other than 299, may be taken for Honors. Student tutors are available to provide help in most PS courses. The Internet and e-mail are increasingly important in the functioning of the Department and its classes. An e-mail "chat room" tied in with several other UW units, on-line surveys, sample test questions, regular communication, research, and other uses exemplify that importance as the Department relies on computer-based communication to meet many of its goals of educating students today to meet tomorrow's needs.

Recent activities of the UWFox Political Science Club include: mock elections, "Meet the Candidate" sessions, guest speakers, Constitutional Bicentennial Series, the annual Great Decisions discussion program, hosting the Wisconsin-Minnesota Regional Model UN Conference in the Spring of 1995, and sending a student delegation to Boston for the Harvard National Model UN Conference each February. Delegations have been awarded Security Council states three times at HNMUN. Club fundraisers include raffles and food sales.

For further information contact:

Dr. George Waller
UW Fox Valley
1478 Midway Road
Menasha, WI 54952-8002
920-832-2856 or 2600