How Political Science Fits into a Liberal Arts School – The Blue Banner

UNC Asheville, the only liberal arts institution in the UNC system, overlaps many subjects within one major, creating open minds and open opportunities. The Political Science major is just one of UNCA’s majors that provides a wide range of overlapping topics of study.

“By asking our students to think critically about political processes, institutions, biases and behavior, I think political science fits into that idea of ​​the liberal arts,” said Ashley Moraguez, associate professor and co-chair of the UNC Asheville Political Science Department.

Moraguez said this is their eighth year teaching at UNCA. The associate professor told UNCA that they gained teaching experience as Ph.D. student at Emory University.

“I hope students can gain skills, gain real-world experience and learn important lessons about the political world from our degree,” Moraguez said.

Moraguez said their political science professors fundamentally changed the way they thought about the political and social world.

“I hope I have at least a small fraction of the impact on my students that my undergraduate professors had on me,” the UNCA professor said.

Moraguez said working with students is the best part of the job.

“I am constantly in awe of how engaged and dedicated our students are,” Moraguez said. “So many of the students are enrolled full time and have demanding jobs outside of school, but they still find time to get involved.”

The co-chair said the department tries to offer many opportunities for students to get involved outside the classroom through internships, study hours and research assistantships.

“To me, the purpose of a liberal arts education is to cultivate critical thinkers who are active members of their communities and who engage with the big problems, questions and ideas in society,” Moraguez said.

Moraguez said a liberal arts education often emphasizes the importance of being an active citizen.

“It is my hope that a liberal arts education helps develop the next generation of leaders who will create a more just and inclusive society,” said the co-president.

UNCA offers employment and leadership opportunities not only to students on campus, but also to alumni and other members of the Asheville community.

“I have the opportunity to feel like I’m making an impact and using my knowledge of mass communications to bring something different to the table,” said Political Science Department Student Assistant Alexis Douglas.

Douglas said their work consists of supporting long-term projects and goals, as well as intervening in the sociology and anthropology departments.

“There will be several voting-related events, some of which happened last year as well,” Douglas said.

The political science major maintains a table throughout the semesters, promoting voting, engaging with the university and surrounding community, and providing voting and registration information.

“There’s a lot of respect between the faculty and the students,” Douglas said. “The environment is welcoming and everyone seems to benefit from each other.”

UNCA students majoring in political science require 34 core credit hours along with other general required classes such as humanities, arts and ideas, second language, social studies, and more. UNCA’s requirements provide students with a variety of world perspectives and immersion topics.

“I think my worldview has expanded since I studied political science, and I’ve learned a lot about history and history about subjects that I wasn’t taught about before,” said UNCA student Ona Elkins.

Elkins said since studying political science, they have immersed themselves in new information about the Rwandan genocide, examples of systemic racism, the impact of the U.S. census and other international organizations. Along with that, Elkins said they learned new tools like coding, using Excel and the R programming language.

“I think I understand a lot more about the political processes in our world today and in the past, and more of the consequences of those policies around the world,” Elkins said.

Elkins said that since studying political science, they have enriched their historical knowledge and used current local and international news.

“I think the most fun part of studying political science is learning such a variety of skills in the major,” Elkins said.

The UNCA student said they majored in political science because they love history, government and want to make a difference in the world.

“People in office make decisions on our behalf, and those decisions affect everything from our rights to the enforcement and passing of laws to the funding of important things like education, infrastructure and health care,” Elkins said. “I plan to encourage people to vote, participate in the census and become more active in their communities.”

Elkins said the political science major has many different topics to study. The political science student said they focus more on international politics and human rights and less on American politics.

“I think it’s a great way to get involved in your community and learn about the policies that affect our daily lives,” Elkins said.

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