B.A. and B.S. in Political Science
Judged in light of Robert C. Dickeson's criteria for program review and the University's revised mission statement, the B.A. and B.S. program in Political Science at Southeast provides mission essentialservices of very high quality and exceptionally low cost.
- The program in political science is healthy and stable. After a period of rapid growth, the program has stabilized near the high end of our Phase I target of 110-140 majors.
- Political is part of a department that is consistently one of the top five departments across campus in student credit hour productivity per faculty member. The 5 year average SCHR productivity for the department is 310. (Table 7)
- Faculty in political science serve 1639 students per semester in University Studies courses producing 4917 credit hours.
- The program generates substantial revenues bringing in that cannot be recaptured without incurring substantial costs elsewhere in the University. (Table 8)
- The program supplies essential service courses that cannot be delivered by other departments. Political Science is the only program on campus delivering courses in the Political systems Category in the University Studies program.
- The cost per major of the program in political science is quite low.At $1033/major, the program in political science is in the least expensive third of all programs in the University. The average cost per major for the department is lower still, at $980. (Table 9)
- The major in political science has been streamlined so that even with no overlap at all between the major, University Studies and the minor, the program can easily be completed within a 120 credit hour degree program.
- The program provides excellent professional and pre-professional education consistent with the University’s revised mission statement.
- The programprovides knowledge and expertise essential to providing a liberal education and essential to an informed and responsible electorate.
- The program provides mission essential service courses that serve every other program on campus and satisfy state requirements. No other program could provide these courses.
- Political science majors regularly score above College, University and National norms on standardized tests including WP 003, the CCTST, the LSAT, and the GRE.
- Political science majors applying to graduate and professional school have a very high acceptance rate; many students are admitted to top programs with full financial support.
Criterion I: Size, Scope and Productivity of the Program
The B.A. and B.S. in Political Science at Southeast are healthy and growing. The 3 year average number of majors is155. (Table 1) Currently there are 139 officially declared majors in the B.A. and B.S. programs in political science. After several years of explosive growth (we were in the 60's in number of majors in 2000), we have stabilized at the high end of the target we set during Phase I review of 110-140. Clearly,the growth we were experiencing between 2001 and 2005 was not sustainable (nor was it desirable given resource constraints). Our current enrollment indicates a very healthyprogram, particularly for a comprehensive, regional state university. It would be impossible for the department to serve a much larger number of majors and also meet its service obligations to general education and the University Studies program without additional resources. The recent significant increase in the number of graduates per year (which has been stable since 2003) indicates that students are being retained to graduation and that the pig is moving through the python. (Table 1)
The student credit hour productivity per faculty member in the program is exceptionally high. As Table 7 indicates, the program in political science, both before and after the merger with philosophy and religion, has consistently been one of the highest producing departments in the University. We have managed to maintain consistently high credit hour productivity despite our strong commitment to Southeast PM upon request, distance education through both ITV and Web-based courses, the University Honors program, Dual Enrollment, and Off Campus Programs. Sections serving these programs regularly have enrollments below what could be expected form a comparable face-to-face class. All of the lower division courses offered in the program that have enrollments below 10 are either Off Campus or Dual enrollment. To the extent that the University is committed to these initiatives, we are. But the faculty are capable, by abandoning those initiatives, of increasing our already high student credit hour productivity. On significant limiting factor in our ability to increase productivity is the relatively small classroom size in Carnahan. Many of our classrooms have a maximum capacity of 32 students and we are already at capacity. For many sections, there is no way to increase class size.
Faculty in political science serve 1639 students per semester, both on and off campus, and in a variety of delivery modes, in University Studies courses producing 4917 credit hours.
Criterion II: Revenue and other resources generated by the program
Political Science at Southeast is a revenue producing program. The principal source of revenue generated by the programs comes from student tuition and fees. The total cost of running the programs in political science at Southeast, as calculated by the office of the Provost, is $540,364 per year. The net revenue from courses in the major and service courses combined is $1,130.801 per year.(Table 9) Accordingly, the program in political science producesa profit for the University of at least $590,437per year. On a per faculty member basis, the program in political science is one of the highest revenue producers in the University. The Department of which political science is a part has a net cost of $917,859 (with an average cost per major for political science and philosophy of only $980) with net revenues of $2,138,705 and a profit to the university of $1,220,840. Only 2 departments, Mathematics and English, produce more net revenue. (Table 8)
The lion’s share of the revenues generated in the program comes from service courses. The service burden borne by the program in political science could not be shifted to other programs on campus. No other program on campus offers courses in the Political Systems category within the University Studies program, and the shear volume of students needing a course in that category precludes any reduction in faculty resources for the program. Over the past several years, the program has worked diligently to address the backlog problem in the Political Systems category.
Criterion III: Costs and other expenses associated with the program
The program in political science is very low in cost. The low cost for the major is the result of a healthy numbers careful plus intentional design. At a cost of only $1,033 per major, political science is one of the least expensive programs in the university. (Table 9)The low cost of the program is attributable to 2 primary factors: a healthy number of majors and a streamlined curriculum that does not offer a smorgasbord of course options. As a function of growth in the major, political science rarely runs 300 or 400 level classes with fewer than 15 students, and very few with fewer than 20. The adjusted cost for the program in philosophy is $126,024. With 122 majors, that produces, using the general set of assumptions for calculating costs of the program, a cost per student majoring in philosophy of $1,033. This is an exceptionally low cost per major. Political science is not an equipment intensive discipline and, sadly for us, faculty salaries are not high. Accordingly, an efficiently run philosophy program that is fully integrated into the general education program, though small, has a low cost per major and produces a very high return on the investment.
Criterion IV: Impact, Justification, and Overall Essentiality to the Southeast Mission
The program in political science at Southeast is essential to the mission of the institution. At the simplest level, state institutions are required to provide students with education in Missouri state government and the state constitution. Only the program in political science is capable of meeting that state mandate.
Political science is also essential to the mission of the University because instruction in local, state and national government, and international affairs, is necessary to have the sort of informed, educated citizenry that American democracy requires. Political scienceis an essential component in a true liberal education. It seeks to develop in students an understanding and appreciation of our own political institutions, as well as those of others, that enable students to function responsibly as citizens. It is difficult to imagine a program of liberal education worthy of the name that does not include political science as a component.
The program in political science provides precisely the sort of professional and pre-professional education, solidly grounded in the liberal arts tradition, envisioned by the University's revised mission statement. We prepare students for careers in government, both as civil servants and as practitioners of partisan politics, and for careers in the non-profit sector. Our internship and model United Nations programs give our students direct experience that enables them to make more informed career choices. We also provide excellent pre-professional education for students seeking advanced degrees in political science and law.
Finally, the impact of political science at Southeast extends beyond the curriculum. Political science faculty regularly provide workshops, participate in colloquia and panel discussions, and take leadership roles in important University initiatives such as instructional technology and the University Senate. The impact of political scienceis enormous, and the services provided by the program and its faculty are essential.
Criterion V: External Demand for the Program
The external demand for political science in Missouri is difficult to gauge. The ACT interest data indicate relatively little interest in political science, but those numbers are inconsistent with the growth in the major over the past 3 years. The factors that drive student demand include current events (the 2000 and subsequent elections, 9/11, the war on terror), cyclical shifts in interests (e.g., Watergate produced a large increase in student interest in political science), increased student awareness of what political science is (political science is quite distinct from high school classes in government and social studies) as a result of exposure to the discipline in University Studies classes, and student appreciation of the relative value of political science as preparation for law school. These factors fluctuate in ways that are very difficult to predict, so predicting external demand for the program is at best a highly imprecise exercise. We believe, however, that a relatively stable number of majors between 110 and 140 is both healthy and consistent with the service mission of the department, i.e., we can serve that many majors AND meet our obligations in delivering courses in the Political Systems category without additional resources. Growth much beyond 140 would make it extremely difficult to meet all of our obligations without additional faculty resources.
Criterion VI: Internal Demand for the Program
Internal demand for philosophy is high. Since only the Department of Political Science, Philosophy, and Religion offers courses in the Political Systems category of the University Studies program, every student at Southeast must complete at least one course in political science. With an average of 1639 students in services courses on and off campus, and in a variety of delivery modes, per semester and with a faculty of only 9, political science bears one of the highest (if not the highest) service per faculty member burdens in the University. The program provides courses that are required on the Secondary Education, Social Studies Education degree and courses required by the new International Studies major. We also share a course, International Political Economy, with faculty in economics. Political science faculty also deliver 8 UI 300 level courses and 1 UI 400 level course.
Criterion VII: Quality of Program Inputs and Processes
Without a doubt, the highest quality input into the program in political science is the set of students we serve. We attract some of the best and brightest students in the University, providing them with a vehicle to satisfy their particular kinds of intellectual curiosity. Our students have consistently high ACT scores, well above College, University, and National averages.(See Table 3) Moreover, some 20% of our majors are scholarship students. Finally, the average number of graduates per year compared to the average number of majors indicates that the vast majority of our majors are retained to graduation (See table 2). These are all indicators of the excellence of the student population served by the program in political science.
Other program inputs and processes in the program are also of exceptionally high quality. We have an exceptionally well-trained faculty and are able to recruit fully qualified faculty members when vacancies arise. Each faculty member in political science(including our continuing non-tenure track faculty) is actively engaged in productive scholarly activities. (Documentation available in Departmental Annual Reports) The program has been highly adaptable to advances in technology. PS 103, U.S. political Systems, has been adapted for both web-based and ITV delivery. PS 104, Comparative Political Systems, PS 220, Missouri Government, and UI 320, The Modern Presidency have all been adapted to web-based delivery.
Criterion VIII: Quality of Program Outputs
By any reasonable measure, the program in political sciencemust be judged as one of very high quality. As the attached data tables (taken from annual student outcomes assessment reports) show, for the past 3 years political science majors have performed at or above College and University averages on the California Critical Thinking Skills Test. (See Table 5) On the University's own WP003 Writing Assessment examination, political science majors score at or above College and University averages.(See Table 6) The LSAT scores of political science majors are consistently above national averages.(See Table4) This is particularly significant, as a chief goal of the major is to prepare students for graduate or professional study. There can be no doubt that the B.A. and B.S. program in political science at Southeast is ofvery high quality.
Summary, Challenges and Opportunities for Improvement
The program in political science at Southeast has a dual mission: to provide top quality professional and pre-professional undergraduate education to our majors; and to provide service courses that support liberal education. To date we have met both of those goals very well and in a cost effective manner.
The largest single challenge facing the program is balancing delivery to the major to the growing number of majors against delivering an adequate number of service courses for the Political Systems category in University Studies. Right now we barely have sufficient resources to meet these commitments. We appear to have stabilizes the size of the major at a sustainable level, and a practical course rotation system has been implemented since Phase 1 review.
H. Hamner Hill
Chairperson, Department of Political Science, Philosophy, and Religion
Supporting Data Tables
Four year trend in number of graduates in Political SciencePolitical Science / F2001-SU2002 / F2002-SU2003 / F2003-SU2004 / F2004-SU2005 / F2005-SU2006 / F2006-SU2007
Number of Majors / 127 / 138 / 148 / 165 / 149 / 139
Number of graduates / 4 / 9 / 25 / 25 / 21 / 18
LSAT Scores2003 / Sp2004 / 2005 / 2006 / 2007
Political Science Average / 156 / --- / 155 / 156 / 156
National Average / 154 / 153 / 153 / 153 / 154
ACT Scores for Political Science Majors2002 / 2003 / 2004 / 2005 / 2006
Department / 26.0 / 26.2 / 25.5 / 25.9 / 25.6
College / 22.6 / 21.8 / 21.2 / 20.8 / 21.2
University / 22.4 / 22.3 / 22.3 / 22.2 / 22.1
WP003 Scores for Political Science Majors2002 / 2003 / 2004 / 2005 / 2006
College / 8.3 / 8.4 / 8.3 / 8.3 / 8.2
University / 8.2 / 8.3 / 8.3 / 8.4 / 8.2
California Critical Thinking Skills TestCCTST Total / 2003
Dept. / Sp2004
Dept. / 2005
Dept / 2006
Dept. / 2007
Dept / 2007
College / 2007
Avg. Critical Thinking /
20.1/ 19.6 / 19.0 / 18.1 / 20 / 16 / 16
5.4/ 5.4 / 5.1 / 4.9 / 4.6 / 4.4 / 4.4
8.4/ 7.6 / 7.4 / 6.9 / 8.2 / 6.0 / 5.7
6.3/ 6.6 / 6.4 / 6.2 / 6.1 / 5.9 / 5.8
9.7/ 9.4 / 8.4 / 8.4 / 9.1 / 7.9 / 7.7
8.6/ 8.1 / 8.6 / 7.4 / 8.1 / 6.6 / 6.4
WP 003 Results
Mean Score/ 2003 / Sp2004 / 2005 / 2006 / 2007
Department / 8.5 / 9.0 / 8.2 / 8.7 / 8.2
College / 8.3 / 8.4 / 8.3 / 8.3 / 8.2
University / 8.2 / 8.3 / 8.3 / 8.4 / 8.2
Student Credit Hour Productivity/Faculty MemberDEPT / 2002-2003 / 2003-2004 / 2004-2005 / 2005-2006 / 2006-2007
MATH / 333.7 ( 116%) / PSPR / 321.8(98 %) / FL&A / 317.9( 136%) / CJ / 333.8(116%) / PSYC / 330
PSYC / 318.3( 96%) / CJ / 316.6 (110%) / CJ / 314.9(110%) / PSYC / 315.3 (95%) / CJ / 322
PSPR / 312.1 (94%) / INDT / 309.4( 115%) / PSYC / 310.3 (93%) / PSPR / 312.2( 95%) / SW / 311
CJ / 311.9(107%) / PSYC / 305.5 (92%) / PSPR / 307.0(93 %) / HISTORY / 297.5( 116%) / HIST / 306
HES / 309.3( 133%) / HES / 302.8(128%) / MATH / 284.4(97%) / FL&A / 295.4( 127%) / PSPR / 305
FL&A / 295.7(125%) / MATH / 293.5(101%) / HES / 283.5(120%) / AGRI / 294.7(127%) / HHPR / 288
HISTORY / 285.7( 112%) / AMIS / 290.9(97%) / HISTORY / 282.6( 110%) / MATH / 285.9( 98%) / FLAN / 282
ECFI / 281.7(105%) / FL&A / 283.1(122 %) / MGMK / 275.7(92%) / HES / 280.1(119%) / MATH / 272
MGMK / 275.8( 92%) / ECFI / 275.6(92%) / INDT / 262.5( 98%) / SW / 272.1( 126%) / MGMK / 267
AMIS / 267.1(89%) / HISTORY / 274.7( 107%) / AGRI / 254.8(110%) / ECFI / 258.8(86%) / PHYS / 263
INDT / 261.4(87%) / MSE / 251.7 (95 %) / ECFI / 248.1(83%) / BIOL / 258.0( 97%) / ENGL / 261
ENGLISH / 261.4 ( 98%) / BIOL / 250.5( 95%) / AMIS / 243.5( 81%) / PEP / 256.4(111%) / AGRI / 260
COMM / 257.4(98 %) / MGMK / 249.8(83%) / ENGLISH / 235.4( 90%) / INDT / 253.8 (94%) / MSED / 260
MSE / 239.7(103%) / COMM / 249.4( 112%) / BIOL / 233.4( 88%) / ENGLISH / 242.7(93 %) / BIOL / 253
BIOL / 235.1( 106%) / ENGLISH / 244.9( 93%) / SW / 233.2( 108%) / MGMK / 241.5(81%) / ECFI / 247
AGRI / 234.1(108 %) / SW / 241.0( 112%) / HHPR / 231.7(99 %) / COMM / 239.7( 108%) / AMIS / 239
PEP / 231.2( 87%) / AGRI / 240.9(104%) / COMM / 229.8(104 %) / AMIS / 228.3(76%) / IET / 229
EESE / 229.8 (97 %) / PEP / 226.9(99%) / PEP / 213.6(93%) / HHPR / 220.7( 94%) / ELES / 225
CCSI / 217.6(95%) / HHPR / 222.9( 95%) / CHEM / 198.4(91%) / CHEM / 206.9(95%) / CHEM / 222
HHPR / 215.2( 92%) / EESE / 222.3 (94 %) / ART / 194.9( 92%) / ART / 205.7( 97%) / HES / 221
CHEM / 187.8(86 %) / CHEM / 195.7(90%) / EESE / 185.7 (78 %) / EESE / 174.2 (74 %) / COMM / 220
ART / 185.0( 87%) / ART / 174.2(82 %) / EDAC / 174.2 ( 127%) / EDAC / 164.1 ( 120%) / ART / 215
SW / 154.0(62%) / CCSI / 159.(64 %) / THDA / 154.2 (75%) / NURSING / 143.0(104 %) / CSCI / 172
THDA / 144.7 (71%) / THDA / 148.4 (72%) / CCSI / 140.7(57%) / CCSI / 141.5 / THDA / 146
MUSIC / 118.3( 106%) / MUSIC / 136.7(122 %) / NURSING / 124.8( 91%) / THDA / 135.4 (66%) / NURS / 142
EDAC / 114.3 (83%) / NURSING / 113.7( 83%) / MUSIC / 113.6( 101%) / MUSIC / 118.9( 106%) / CMDS / 140
NURSING / 109.8(80 %) / CDIS / 109.9 ( 93%) / CDIS / 112.3 ( 95%) / CDIS / 117.1 (99 %) / EDAD / 126
CDIS / 105.1 ( 89%) / EDAC / 87.1 ( 64%) / MSE / 75.6 (28%) / MSE / 109.1 (41%) / MUSC / 117
Source: Departmental Key Performance Indicators available at
Table 8DEPT / TOTAL COST / TOTAL Revenue / Profit (Loss) / DEPT / COSTPER MAJOR
MATH / $1,547,457 / $4,377,909 / $2,830,452 / MUSC / $5,422
ENGL / $1,881,178 / $3,975,312 / $2,094,134 / THDA / $5,009
PSPR / $917,859 / $2,138,705 / $1,220,846 / CMDS / $4,692
ELES / $943,463 / $2,157,350 / $1,213,887 / CSCI / $2,751
PSYC / $1,096,576 / $2,198,839 / $1,102,263 / ART / $2,655
HHPR / $1,067,807 / $1,962,357 / $894,550 / ECFI / $2,146
COMM / $1,407,931 / $2,161,191 / $753,260 / ENGL / $2,085
CJSO / $708,029 / $1,365,828 / $657,799 / NURS / $2,034
HIST / $964,876 / $1,592,200 / $627,324 / HES / $1,840
FLAN / $739,280 / $1,354,426 / $615,146 / PHYS / $1,780
MSED / $594,666 / $1,150,758 / $556,092 / SW / $1,731
BIOL / $1,401,731 / $1,918,509 / $516,778 / MSED / $1,655
MGMK / $1,374,200 / $1,841,925 / $467,725 / CHEM / $1,653
IET / $1,165,398 / $1,588,559 / $423,161 / AMIS / $1,652
SW / $533,519 / $953,372 / $419,853 / EDAD / $1,553
AMIS / $1,929,400 / $2,250,090 / $320,690 / AGRI / $1,515
PHYS / $854,097 / $1,166,797 / $312,700 / MATH / $1,403
EDAD / $689,756 / $924,721 / $234,965 / IET / $1,361
ART / $837,133 / $1,048,178 / $211,045 / PSYC / $1,292
CHEM / $861,801 / $1,059,838 / $198,037 / MGMK / $1,271
ECFI / $1,124,652 / $1,286,141 / $161,489 / CJSO / $1,155
AGRI / $607,439 / $691,834 / $84,395 / HIST / $1,098
CSCI / $527,667 / $356,431 / ($171,236) / COMM / $1,064
CMDS / $607,222 / $427,105 / ($180,117) / HHPR / $1,017
THDA / $676,044 / $473,996 / ($202,048) / PSPR / $980
MUSC / $1,255,978 / $921,655 / ($334,323) / ELES / $890
NURS / $1,423,871 / $1,057,788 / ($366,083) / BIOL / $830
HES / $1,619,509 / $950,147 / ($669,362) / FLAN / $747
Departmental Profit (Loss) Comparison and Cost per Major Comparison