The Vermont Cynic

UVM to offer minor in international politics


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A new minor in international politics will be available to UVM students starting in August.

The political science department is offering the minor due to an increase in student interest in the subject, department chair Robert Bartlett said.

The department is bringing in a new professor, Peter Henne, who specializes in Middle Eastern politics, he said.

The current political science program is already very focused on international politics. How- ever, it’s not labeled as “international,” which prompted the demand from students seeking that degree title, Bartlett said.

Henne will teach courses in Middle Eastern politics, but there will be no other new class- es created for the minor, he said.

Historically, student interest in political science depends on the state of the national political scene, Bartlett said.

Scandals like Watergate and President Bill Clinton’s impeachment have brought about an increase in American politics, he said.

 

However, new and prospective students are entering the college scene with a broader view of the world than before, Bartlett said.

“Forty years ago, it was common for a student if they studied abroad that might be the first time they ever went abroad,” he said.

“Now many of our students who do and don’t study abroad have already traveled to Europe, they’ve already been overseas, they’ve been in many other countries,” Bartlett said.

This breeds a deeper interest in international issues and policies, he said.

Increased media coverage of international issues also increases interest in politics abroad, Bartlett said.

 

“It used to be the case that some students read The New York Times, but most students, if they read a newspaper, read a local newspaper,” he said.

Now students go online and read news that happens around the world, Bartlett said.

The current generation of college students grew up in the aftermath of 9/11 and are more interested in world issues outside of the United States, he said.

“Before 9/11, there used to be this notion in the United States that we could be separated from the rest of the world, that we could avoid being dragged into the problems of the rest of the world, but not too many people think that anymore,” Bartlett said.

 

Junior Alexa Platt said she chose political science as a major because the government’s choices directly affect our lives more than anything else.

“I think it’s really cool how countries interact with each other,” Platt said.

The College of Arts and Sciences is always interested in expanding degrees available to students, Interim Dean William Falls said.

The college is focused on excellence when developing new options for students and won’t move forward with an idea unless they can provide a already fully developed degree, Falls said.

New majors and minors need to grow from where there is already interest and faculty experience, he said.

“We’re not going to create something out of thin air; we’re not going to create something where we really don’t have the scholarship and faculty expertise to make it truly excellent,” Falls said.

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UVM to offer minor in international politics