Politics

Follow your passion for Politics

Do you find questions of power, conflict, rights, law or justice interesting? Do you like examining and debating issues such as immigration, war and peace, the environment, campaign finance, foreign relations, human rights or nationalism? Do you want to learn how other countries struggle to face political challenges in ways that often differ dramatically from those of the United States? If so, a Politics major may be right for you. The Loras Politics major offers courses in American and global politics and political thought. Professors emphasize multiple perspectives, critical thinking and lively student interaction.

Unlike the study of politics at many other colleges, the Loras program examines the moral principles and ethical dilemmas underlying political matters across its courses. The college’s Iowa location gives students a front-row seat to the influential first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, including campus visits by presidential candidates and the chance to work on the nationally-recognized Loras College Poll. Loras also fields nationally ranked teams in moot court and mock trial. And each spring the program hosts around a dozen students from France studying American politics.

Additional Information
Learn More

PI SIGMA ALPHA

Loras College is home to the Alpha Alpha Upsilon chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha.

As the national political science honor society, the organization’s purpose is “to promote worthwhile curricular and extracurricular activities related to political science,” and “to stimulate scholarship and intelligent interest in political science.” Induction into the organization is a sign of a student’s superior academic achievement in the study of politics. The Loras chapter, founded in 2003, is the 589th chapter nationwide.

+ Read more

LORAS POLITICS ALUMNI SUCCESS

Politics alumni have gone on to distinguished careers as lawyers, business executives, nonprofit directors, urban planners, congressional staff members, members of the U.S. military, teachers at the elementary and secondary levels, lobbyists, college professors, government administrators, policy analysts, and diplomats.

They include several state legislators, two former members of Congress, a state attorney general, and the owner of a private detective agency.

Here are just a few examples of recent graduates and their positions:

Candace Eudaley (’07), Assistant Director, Iowa East Central Intergovernmental Association
Meghan Healy (’03), Attorney, Di Renzo and Bomier
Susan Hess (’02), Attorney, Hammer, Simon, and Jensen
Jeff Loftsgaarden (’07), Healthcare Strategy Manager, DaVita HealthCare Partners
Michael Loebach (’06), Treasury Investment Specialist, Heartland Financial USA
Steve Lukan (’01), Director, State of Iowa Office of Drug Control Policy
Kelsey McElroy (’09), Management Analyst at City of Thornton, Colorado
Jake Oeth (’09), Staff Member, United States Congressman Bruce Braley
Neil Ruhland (’07), TARP Fund Investigator, United States Department of Justice

+ Read more

STUDENT OUTCOMES GOALS

Unlike the study of politics at many other colleges, the Loras program examines the moral principles and ethical dilemmas underlying political matters across its courses.

  • You will learn how to look at problems in different ways, how to untangle cause and effect relationships and how to develop creative solutions.
  • You will learn about the underlying dynamics of human conflict and cooperation.
  • You will learn how to gauge the influence of current events in the local, national and global arenas.
  • You will learn how to effectively communicate with others in both written and oral forms, a critically important ability in today’s information-based society.

+ Read more

LORAS POLITICS STUDENT EXPERIENCES

An area for particularly active and competitive state and congressional races, Dubuque itself offers Politics majors unparalleled access to political campaigns and candidates. Large numbers of majors work often times through academic internships, in political campaigns at both the state and federal level or in local government lobbying efforts and organizations.

In addition to the myriad of professional experiences available locally, Loras is affiliated with the Washington Center, and regularly sends students to study and intern in Washington, D.C. This experience is invaluable and creates a program that combines a theoretically rigorous curriculum rooted in the liberal arts with professional experience. For those with interests beyond U.S. politics, the Washington Center has numerous internship opportunities with organizations and institutions that have a global focus.

Locally, Politics majors are frequently placed in internships with the Dubuque Chamber of Commerce, the East Central Intergovernmental Association or Dubuque City Government.

The Politics program houses the Loras College Moot Court program—an intercollegiate competition in which Loras is traditionally very successful. Loras is also the home to the annual Upper Midwest Regional Moot Court Tournament—one of six tournaments serving as qualifiers to the national championships.

+ Read more
Student Learning Outcomes
Student Learning Outcomes – Politics
1. Basic Political Literacy—mastery of core political concepts
2. Global Awareness—the ability to recognize and understand the ways in which global political dynamics, institutions, and ideas influence political life
3. Normative Awareness—the ability to recognize and understand the inescapable moral dimensions of political life
4. Intellectual Openness—the ability to recognize and understand a range of critical perspectives on political life
5. Critical Thinking—the ability to analyze arguments, synthesize ideas, defend positions, and develop coherent and consistent lines of thought
6. Group Work—the ability to effectively initiate, develop, and complete projects in collaboration with other students
7. Written Communication—the ability to effectively communicate written ideas that are coherent, insightful, well-organized, grammatically correct, and supported by evidence
8. Oral Communication—the ability to effectively communicate spoken ideas, in both formal presentations and informal discussions, that are coherent, insightful, well-organized, and supported by evidence
Major Requirements

POLITICS
Division of Philosophical, Religious, Theological, Social & Cultural Studies
Richard Anderson, Ph.D., Chair
rick.anderson@loras.edu
563.588.7177

Requirements for the major in Politics (B.A.):
Students must complete a minimum of 18 politics credits at Loras College. Majors must have a minimum GPA of 2.3 (C+) in the major.

Req Course Cr’s
1 L.POL-101: Issues in American Politics 3
2 L.POL-121: Issues in Global Politics 3
3 L.POL-131: Foundations of Western Political Thought 3
4 L.POL-489: Senior Seminar 3
Three of the following must be at the 300+ level
5 Elective: Additional Politics course (at least one American Politics) 3
6 Elective: Additional Politics course (at least one Global Politics) 3
7 Elective: Additional Politics course (at least one Political Thought) 3
8 Elective: Additional Politics course (any group) 3
9 Elective: Additional Politics course (any group) 3
10 Elective: Additional Politics course (any group) 3
30 total required credits

Requirements for the minor in Politics:
Students must complete a minimum of 12 politics credits at Loras College.

Req Course Cr’s
Select one from Req 1
1 L.POL-101: Issues in American Politics 3
1 L.POL-121: Issues in Global Politics 3
Two of the following must be at the 300+ level
2 Elective: Additional Politics course (at least one American Politics) 3
3 Elective: Additional Politics course (at least one Global Politics) 3
4 Elective: Additional Politics course (at least one Political Thought) 3
5 Elective: Additional Politics course (any group) 3
6 Elective: Additional Politics course (any group) 3
18 total required credits

AMERICAN POLITICS
L.POL-201: Campaigns & Elections
L.POL-202: Congress & the Presidency
L.POL-203: The Road to the White House
L.POL-204: State & Local Politics
L.POL-301: Constitutional Law: Federal Powers
L.POL-302: Constitutional Law: Civil Rights & Liberties
L.POL-303: Supreme Court Watch
L.POL-304: Identity Politics in America
L.POL-308: American Public Policy

GLOBAL POLITICS
L.POL-211: Comparative Politics
L.POL-215: Nationalism
L.POL-221: International Politics
L.POL-312: Latin American Politics & Society
L.POL-313: Middle Eastern Politics & Society
L.POL-314: Politics in the Developing World
L.POL-315: European Politics
L.POL-322: American Foreign Policy
L.POL-351: Comparative Environmental Politics-AC

INTRODUCTORY POLITICS
L.POL-101: Issues in American Politics
L.POL-121: Issues in Global Politics
L.POL-131: Foundations of Western Political Thought

POLITICAL THOUGHT
L.POL-232: American Political Thought
L.POL-233: Jurisprudence
L.POL-321: War and Pacifism-AV
L.POL-331: Political Thought & Contemporary Social Issues

SPECIAL
L.POL-241: Political & Social Themes in Film
L.POL-394: Internship
L.POL-395: Topics
L.POL-489: Senior Seminar

Course Descriptions

L.POL-101: Issues in American Politics

This course is a basic introduction to the primary features of the American political system, examining such things as the Constitution, elections, public opinion, parties and interest groups, the media, Congress, the presidency, the courts, and civil rights and liberties. Woven throughout the course is an exploration of some of the most pressing issues in contemporary American politics. 3 credits. Fall semester.

L.POL-121: Issues in Global Politics

This course introduces the major problems confronting the international community and that community’s efforts to address them. The focus is on common global issues such as globalization, nationalism, human rights, war, economic development, poverty, the status of women, and the environment. 3 credits. Spring semester.

L.POL-131: Foundations of Western Political Thought

This course examines the history of political thought in the West by drawing on an analysis of original texts from Plato through the 20th century, with particular attention to how different thinkers have addressed the same kinds of perennial questions about political life in radically different ways. 3 credits. Fall semester.

L.POL-201: Campaigns & Elections

This course examines the nature of political campaigns and elections in the United States, with particular attention to presidential and Congressional elections. 3 credits. Fall semesters in even numbered years.

L.POL-202: Congress & the Presidency

This course examines the structure and power of the two branches of government and the relationship between them. It pays particular attention to the constitutional, institutional, partisan, and personal bases for cooperation and conflict between the two, as well as their interactions in a number of policy fields. 3 credits.

L.POL-203: The Road to the White House

This course provides students the opportunity to both study and participate in the Iowa caucuses. Students will examine the issues, voters, interest groups, campaigns, and candidates. Through direct observation of the campaigns and candidates, and the collection of campaign artifacts students will analyze political tactics and decisions, as well as the electorate. As part of the course students will choose what party to caucus with and ultimately which presidential candidate they support by caucusing for that candidate on election night. 3 credits. January term.

L.POL-204: State & Local Politics

This course explores politics and policy at the state and local level in the United States. Unlike many others, the United States is a country in which states and localities retain much independent power and authority to make and implement policy. The policies created at these sub-national levels often vary greatly and reflect their own complex political and economic histories and cultures. This course provides students a corrective to the common tendencies to ignore the state and local in favor of the national/federal and to see the United States as simply a uniform, top-down, political system. 3 credits. Spring semester.

L.POL-211: Comparative Politics

This course introduces issues and concepts in comparative politics such as power, authority, legitimacy, the state and sovereignty. It offers an in-depth comparison of the features and performances of democratic, authoritarian, and totalitarian political regimes, including countries as case studies for each type of regime. 3 credits.

L.POL-215: Nationalism

This is a January-term study travel course. Its focus is nationalism, one of the most powerful political forces shaping the modern world. Each iteration of the course will include a common initial section on the dynamics of nationalism generally, followed by an in-depth case study of these dynamics at work in a particular national context. Depending on the year and instructor, possible cases studies include travel to Ireland, China, Ukraine, Poland, Puerto Rico, Japan, Scotland, Quebec, Spain, Belgium, or India. 3 credits. January term.

L.POL-221: International Politics

The course examines the origins and evolution of the modern international system with a focus on nationalism, violent conflict, diplomacy, international organizations and law, global political economy, and emerging issues and patterns in the post-Cold War period. It integrates theoretical perspectives with current issues. 3 credits.

L.POL-232: American Political Thought

This course examines the historical development of political thought in the United States by drawing on an analysis of original texts from the nation’s founding through the present. 3 credits.

L.POL-233: Jurisprudence

This course examines the theoretical concepts – both normative and empirical – related to the study of law. It draws on original texts from major legal theorists and the primary schools of legal thought. Prerequisite: L.POL-101. 3 credits.

L.POL-241: Political & Social Themes in Film

This course examines the ways in which films convey political and social meanings. It draws on both historical and contemporary, as well as international and American, films. 3 credits.

L.POL-301: Constitutional Law: Federal Powers

This course examines the structure and powers of the Supreme Court and its role in determining the constitutionally appropriate roles, relations, and powers of institutions within the American political system. Most of the course relies on an analysis of Supreme Court decisions in the areas of judicial review, federalism, congressional and presidential powers, property rights and economic regulation. 3 credits.

L.POL-302: Constitutional Law: Civil Rights & Liberties

This course examines the Supreme Court’s role in defining the scope and content of civil rights and liberties in the United States, through an analysis of cases in the areas of due process and criminal procedure, privacy, freedom of speech and of the press, religious liberty and the equal protection of the laws. L.POL-301 is not a prerequisite for this course. 3 credits.

L.POL-303: Supreme Court Watch

This course is taught annually during the summer to coincide with the end of each Supreme Court term. It examines the major cases and their precedents that the Court decided that year. 3 credits. Summer term.

L.POL-304: Identity Politics in America

This course examines the role of factors such as race, ethnicity, religion, and gender in American political life. 3 credits.

L.POL-308: American Public Policy

This course examines public policy in the United States. We will learn about the process of policy formation, implementation and assessment. We will explore the primary areas of domestic policy, such as taxation, social welfare, healthcare, civil rights, energy, crime, education, and immigration. Finally, we will consider the moral and ethical dimensions of policy-making in these areas. 3 credits.

L.POL-312: Latin American Politics & Society

This course examines Latin American politics with an emphasis on the historical, economic and cultural features that shape its contemporary politics. It includes attention to the state, political parties, the military, and social groups and classes, as well as dynamics of social and political change, including military coups, revolutions and social movements. 3 credits.

L.POL-313: Middle Eastern Politics & Society

This course examines the politics and society of the Middle East and North Africa, particularly how its history, economy, geography, culture, religion and regional conflicts shape its contemporary politics. The relationship between Islam and the state is of particular concern. 3 credits.

L.POL-314: Politics in the Developing World

This course examines the nature and fundamental features of politics in the developing world. It includes investigation of historical, socioeconomic, and cultural influences on politics, as well as the effects of forces such as social change, international political economy and issues such as poverty and debt. 3 credits.

L.POL-315: European Politics

This course examines the politics of Europe, including struggles over economics, immigration and culture. It also explores the challenges of building the European Union and defining its role in the world. 3 credits.

L.POL-321: War and Pacifism-AV

This course uses a wide variety of original writings to examine the nature and causes of war, theories of the just war, the pacifist critique of war, and the practice of nonviolence as an alternative to war. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.POL-322: American Foreign Policy

This course examines the historical patterns and contemporary factors shaping American foreign policy. It pays particular attention to issues in the post-Cold War period. The course considers the social and cultural foundations of American foreign policy, as well as the role of institutions such as the White House, the National Security Council, other executive branch departments, and Congress in the policy-making process. 3 credits.

L.POL-331: Political Thought & Contemporary Social Issues

This course examines the relationship between philosophical principles like justice, rights, duty, equality, liberty, and democracy and current social and political issues in which they find concrete expression. The selection of principles and issues under examination will vary from semester to semester. 3 credits.

L.POL-351: Comparative Environmental Politics-AC

This course will examine how culture, broadly defined, affects the formation and execution of policies on global warming. Students will study historical legacies and philosophical traditions underpinning the modern environmental movement, the interaction of competing economic, social and political interests, and the effects of political institutions in channeling policy responses. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-220, L.LIB-130, or L.LIB-135. 3 credits.

L.POL-394: Internship

Recognizing the value of learning about politics through personal experience, students can earn up to nine credits for satisfactory completion of supervised internships. These can include government offices, congressional staffs, political parties, election campaigns, law offices, non-profit organizations, and other relevant groups. Proposals and credits are arranged in consultation with faculty members in the program. Internship credits cannot substitute for specified major requirements. Each semester and summer session. 1-9 credits.

L.POL-395: Topics

Includes occasional courses on specific topics or contemporary issues. 3 credits.

L.POL-489: Senior Seminar

This course is the required seminar for senior majors, which attempts to clarify the student’s knowledge and appreciation of the discipline in a culminating or capstone fashion, concentrating on theoretical and substantive issues in the field. It may be individually or team taught in the program. 3 credits. Spring semester.

RELATED COURSES: Economics, History, International Studies, Sociology

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

After receiving your degree from Loras, your career could take off into one of these fields:

• Lawyer
• Business Executive
• Nonprofit Director
• Urban Planner
• Congressional Staff Member
• U.S. Military
• Elementary/High School Teacher
• Lobbyist
• Government Administrator
• Policy Analyst
• Diplomat
• Journalist

Loras College Department Staff

Richard Anderson, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
563.588.7177 | Richard.Anderson@loras.edu

Christopher Budzisz, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Politics
Division Chair of Philosophical, Theological, Social, & Cultural Studies
563.588.7279 | Christopher.Budzisz@loras.edu

Professor Budzisz joined the Loras College Politics program in 2000, with a teaching emphasis on constitutional law, American government and institutions and political philosophy, as well as elections and political behavior. As a 2007 Fulbright Scholar, Budzisz taught in the International Relations Faculty at Chernivtsi National University in Chernivtsi, Ukraine. His research interests center around constitutional law, political thought and public policy. He has been published in PS: Political Science and Politics, and in the edited volume Engaging the Public: How Government and the Media Can Reinvigorate American Democracy.

Beyond his teaching and research interests, Budzisz is director and coach of the Loras College Moot Court program. He is also a past winner of the Mike and Linda Budde Excellence in Teaching Award. Professor Budzisz serves as the Director of the Loras College Poll, a bi-partisan public opinion survey focused on politics and society that was launched spring 2014

David Cochran, Ph.D.
Professor of Politics
Director of the Archbishop Kucera Center
563.588.7262 | David.Cochran@loras.edu

Curriculum Vitae

Originally from Lubbock, Texas, Dr. Cochran received his B.A. from Drew University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. His primary teaching and research areas are religion, race, and ethnicity in American politics; political thought; war and peace; and Irish studies. Cochran is a winner of the college’s two campus-wide teaching and leadership awards. In addition to a wide array of articles and book chapters, he is the author or co-author of four books and the co-editor of a fifth. In addition to his work in the Politics Program, Cochran directs the college’s Archbishop Kucera Center for Catholic Intellectual and Spiritual Life.

Benjamin Darr, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Politics
563.588.7507 | Benjamin.Darr@loras.edu

Dr. Darr began teaching at Loras College in the fall of 2012, and offers courses in both comparative politics and world politics. He is particularly interested in environmental politics, the politics of the global economy, nationalism and China studies. Dr. Darr received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 2011, and his dissertation examined the state-led sources of Chinese nationalism and national identity. He has co-authored articles in the Journal of Contemporary China and in Communist and Post-Communist Studies.