The Department of Political Science provides rigorous and
training in Pre-law, American Politics, Comparative Politics,
and International Relations.
The Department of Political Science offers an array of student organizations and activities. These groups can serve as an amazing vehicle for building relationships with other students and faculty, and for political and social activism. If you are interested in joining one of these groups or if you have questions about them please contact Ms. Priya Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (630) 829-6460.
The Benedictine University Mock Trial program has been under the direction of Dr. Tammy Sarver since her arrival at Benedictine in 2001. As part of the American Mock Trial Association, Benedictine mock trial teams have competed in both criminal and civil trial simulations all over the region and all over the country.
To learn more about Benedictine's Mock Trial program, please visit the Mock Trial page.
Model Illinois Government
The Model Illinois Government or "MIG" simulation is held in Springfield at the Capitol Complex each February. More than 20 colleges and universities, including Benedictine, participate in the annual simulation – last year was the 33rd simulation – which attracts almost 300 students each year! The 2011 Benedictine delegation consisted of nine student participants, eight of whom worked as legislators, and one who served as a judge for the Moot Court competition. The faculty advisor for Model Illinois Government is Dr. Phillip Hardy, Assistant Professor of Political Science, who has served in this capacity for two years. For additional information about MIG, please visit our web page.
Model United Nations
Each year since the late 1960s, Benedictine University has sent students to the National Model United Nations Conference in New York city. Under the direction and tutelage of Dr. Joel Ostrow, Political Science professor and department chair, students prepare for the Model UN simulation by enrolling in PLSC 215 and engaging in many weeks of rigorous preparation. Only four other universities have comparable records of consistent participation and accomplishment at the Model UN Conference.
For more information, please visit the BenU Model United Nations web page.
Political Science Student Association (PSSA)
The Political Science Student Association (PSSA) is a student-run organization that is active on campus and in the broader community. PSSA events are often coordinated with Pi Nu and the Center for Civic Leadership, and have included fundraisers, documentary film previews, and Political Science department socials. PSSA student leaders work closely with department chair Dr. Joel Ostrow and faculty advisor Dr. Phillip Hardy to develop activities and events for the school year. Membership in Benedictine's PSSA chapter is open to all students currently enrolled at the University, regardless of age, sex, race, creed, sexual orientation, nationality (national origin), disability and marital status. Click here for a copy of the PSSA Constitution.
Pi Sigma Alpha–Pi Nu chapter (National Political Science Honor Society)
Founded in 1920, Pi Sigma Alpha ("PSA") is the national honor society for Political Science majors. With more than 700 chapters and thousands of members throughout the United States, PSA was established to build a community of students and faculty interested in the study of politics and government. PSA maintains rigorous academic requirements for members, is affiliated with The American Political Science Association, and is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies.
Pi Nu, the Benedictine University chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, has sponsored a variety of activities and events on campus. For the 2010-11 school year Pi Nu was awarded a PSA grant to develop a civic engagement program aimed at high school students. And, with the Political Science Student Association ("PSSA"), the members of Pi Nu sponsored a back-to-school dinner, held a spring fundraiser, and have been working to establish both a documentary film and Constitution club on campus.
To be eligible to join Pi Sigma Alpha, you must have 10 semester credits in Political Science with a B average or higher and an overall cumulative g.p.a. in the top one-third of your class (e.g., junior year class or senior year class) at the time of initiation. You do not have to be a Political Science major to be eligible for membership. For more information about eligibility, click here to view the membership requirements.
For more information about Pi Sigma Alpha, visit the Pi Sigma Alpha national homepage.
SSRC (Social Science Research Consortium)
Created in 2010 as an interdisciplinary organization to promote faculty and student research, the Social Science Research Consortium or "SSRC," is open to any undergraduate with an interest in social scientific research.
SSRC meets approximately two times per month during the spring and fall semesters, and has as one of its primary goals the development of various research projects in the disciplines of Psychology, Sociology, and Political Science.
In April 2011, three faculty advisors – Dr. Kelly Kandra and Dr. Brian Patterson (pictured) from Psychology and Dr. Phillip Hardy from Political Science – conducted the first wave of a study that examines the ways young people communicate and learn about politics through social networks and other emerging technologies. Thus far, more than 150 high schools students have been surveyed, and the principal investigators hope to analyze these data over the summer term, and continue gathering data during the 2011-12 school year.
Beyond the research aims of The Social Science Research Consortium, SSRC also welcomes students and faculty who wish to understand the ways scientific research methodologies are utilized to investigate a wide range of real-world phenomena, and who are interested in reading and discussing the theories, research designs, and findings reported in scholarly journals.
SSRC Faculty, with the research assistance of Julie Fossel (Sr., Psychology), are also in the process of developing a research strategy to study the causes and effects of cyber-bullying among teenagers. The SSRC research team hopes to secure a private grant to fund some of the experimental and survey methods for this study.
For additional information about the Social Science Research Consortium, please visit the BenU SSRC web page.