Political science major undergoes external review

The St. Edward’s University School of Behavioral and Social Sciences is currently going through a periodic external review.

The reviews happen to different majors in the department every 10 years. They review the major’s courses, learning assessments and other materials, according to Brenda Vallance, dean of the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

This year, it is the political science major’s turn to be under a review.

The university selects someone from a peer institution to do the review, and this year’s reviewer is David Crockett, an associate professor of political science at Trinity University in San Antonio.

“The idea of the external review is that it enables a ‘different set of eyes’ to see how our program works and [Crockett] will make suggestions and recommendations when he has completed the review,” said Brian Smith, associate professor of political science.

Smith said the review also looks at the major in terms of curriculum, staffing and learning outcomes. The School of Behavioral and Social Sciences has prepared a portfolio with information about the political science major, according to Smith. The portfolio contains syllabi, enrollment trends and information about the university.

In addition, Crockett will meet with Vallance, Sister Donna Jurick (executive vice president and provost of St. Edward’s), as well as students and faculty within the political science major.

The review will give the political science major feedback on how the major compares to the national trends for the major, as well as recommendations for how to improve the major.

In 2010, the social work major underwent a similar review, Smith said. Sociology and psychology majors have also undergone reviews in the past six years. In 2012, the environmental science and policy major will undergo a review.