Inside Higher Ed reports (as does the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) that Wisconsin Lutheran College has decided to eliminate its political science department and, with it, two apparently-tenured faculty members to better focus on its “liberal arts mission.” I find myself in agreement with the thoughts of Michael Brintnall, executive director of the APSA:
“It would be thought to be a central component of a liberal arts education,” [Brintnall] said. “The subject matter is too central to civic life and understanding where we are going in the world to not offer the content.”
There is an argument to be made that the political dimensions of life can be explored in other social science and humanities disciplines—principally, through history, economics, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and psychology—but somehow I doubt Wisconsin Lutheran will be devoting the attention those dimensions deserve in a well-rounded education.
Then again, Wisconsin Lutheran may have made the right decision in its current circumstances: according to the Journal Sentinel article, the abolition of political science only affects 5 majors directly. Considering that we had political science majors beating down the doors at Millsaps, which isn’t much bigger than Wisconsin Lutheran, I’m not sure what is going on with that.