America needs well-informed leaders in today’s day and age, educated in sound principles that will allow them to impact the country in positive ways. Christendom’s political science department is working hard to accomplish just that, with new courses and professors drawing interested students to the classroom, ready to learn what it takes to be thought-leaders in today’s society.

Over the past few years, the department has worked to widen course offerings and strengthen foundational classes. Dr. Joseph Brutto, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and an assistant professor in the political science department, has been deeply involved in enhancing the offerings of this department.

Political science professor Dr. Joseph Brutto.

“The political science department has sought to enhance its course offerings over the last few years in an attempt to attract majors and minors with a wide variety of interests. It seems that our efforts as a department have been successful thus far,” says Brutto. “In the 2018-2019 academic year, we have over 50 majors enrolled in the department, making us the largest major at the college.  We hope to continue to enhance our course offerings in the years to come.”

Many students who never considered political science previously become interested after completing the political science classes included in the college’s core curriculum. The two classes offered, an Introduction to Political Thought and Catholic Social Doctrine, outline the history of political thought in the secular and Catholic worldviews, providing a foundation in political theory. Those who wish to pursue a deeper study of political science after these courses find a variety of classes from which to choose, including ones that are cross-listed with other majors at the school.

By offering studies across disciplines, the political science department prepares students to intelligently discuss a wide variety of important issues. The great variety of classes allows students to think about the theories behind multiple political systems, providing a solid basis for work in many fields. This also allows the faculty to explore their own areas of expertise with students.

Chair of the political science department Dr. Bracy Bersnak.

“I have sought to combine my interests in political science and philosophy by offering courses that draw from both fields,” says Brutto. “For example, my Liberalism and Aristotelianism course seeks to understand how contemporary philosophers and political theorists appropriate the ethical and political writings of Aristotle. The goal is to come to a greater understanding of the compatibility or lack thereof between Aristotelian political thought and liberalism.”

Dr. Kevin Burns, another recent hire in the department, specializes in American government and political thought, and his classes have proven popular among the students — especially his American Political Thought elective. These classes are also immensely practical for those who wish to pursue careers on Capitol Hill in nearby Washington, D.C., a decision that many political science majors have made following graduation.

To enhance the practicality of the major, a mandatory class in rhetoric and public speaking has also been added. Studying historically significant speeches as well as delivering their own compositions allows students to build critical skills for clear presentation of their beliefs in the public sphere.

The dedication of the faculty of this department attracts many students to this major, and the growth of the political science department is an encouraging sign for the mission of the College to restore all things in Christ. By building up course offerings for this major, students are offered more opportunities than ever to pursue excellence in the political sphere, both in their local communities and in our Nation’s Capital.

Special to Christendom College by contributing author Riley Damitz ’20.

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