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BWLI Students and Committee

Unique Program

College offers degree in public policy


04/15/2009

Last fall, MCLA announced its new political science and public policy major, which offers students the opportunity to integrate academic study with practical, high-impact opportunities like internships, other vocational experiences, and the chance to make connections with policy-makers in government agencies and other arenas.

"We've been looking at a political science major for a long time, but we decided we wanted to provide something unique, and one that provides a vocational focus," said Dr. Robert Bence, department chair. "Political science is a pretty common major, but by adding public policy, we created a unique major with a pragmatic focus on policy."

Students will network not only with leaders in the private sector who create and implement policy, but also with court officials and elected leaders involved in policy creation and evaluation.

To celebrate the new major, the college invited legendary journalist Bob Woodward to share his insight into the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. Woodward spoke at MCLA's Church Street Center last December.

Bence noted that Woodward - an investigative reporter who has chronicled some of the most important political events and figures of the past 35 years, from Watergate to the Bush White House - brought a valuable perspective on presidential decision-making and operations.

"Not many people have had as much access to the White House and Washington policy makers as he has," said Bence. "I believe speakers like Bob Woodward can give our students a unique view of how politics work."

Woodward's lecture was sponsored through a generous donation from the Ruth Proud Charitable Trust.

Through the new program, students not only will hear first hand from lecturers such as Woodward, but will also have the opportunity to intern outside of the state. MCLA sends interns to Washington, D.C. through the Washington Center and also provides students with internships in the Canadian House of Commons and overseas study in a variety of nations. For the past several years, the College has sent teams of students to the North American Model U.N. in Toronto.

"It's an exciting program," said Bence. "It really is unique."