Letter to the Editor: September 5, 2014

Dear Editor, 

The Department of Political Science wanted to write and thank you for your interest in covering the various majors including ours (“Welcome Back: Studying Politics … ” by Matt Barnes, dated August 19). We were surprised, however, at The Pitt News’ decision to have the article about a major be written by a non-major who had only taken one course in that subject. Thus, we wanted to provide students with a more comprehensive description of the nature and benefits of political science at the University of Pittsburgh. The Department of Political Science continues to produce students who combine broad understandings of political phenomena with the skills to interact with people, arguments, data, ideas. In our courses and our research, we ask questions about important concerns. Be it questions of justice, fairness, liberty, generosity, violence or peace, political scientists have a hand in helping to understand politics writ large. And, because we care about issues of deep relevance and importance to individuals, we train our students to use a variety of methods. Sometimes we look at numbers, but we also dig deep into history, talk to people, run surveys and — underneath it all — we think. Thus, we applaud The Pitt News for bringing this issue to the forefront and encourage all interested students to consider taking classes or joining us as a major in the department. Anyone with an interest in engaging with real people, in real world settings, with real problems will like it here. Pitt poli sci: it’s the place for politics at the University of Pittsburgh!

Steven Finkel, chair and Daniel Wallace Professor of political science

Burcu Savun, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies 

Andrew Lotz, lecturer and senior undergraduate adviser

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