Political science degree offered

Los Medanos College will be offering a Political Science Associate of Arts for Transfer degree for the first time. Professors Ryan Hiscocks and Milton Clarke have collaborated with several members of the LMC faculty and staff including Dean Nancy Ybarra, Social Science Department Chair Dr. Shalini Lugani, Professors Edward Haven and Joshua Bearden and Eileen Valenzuela among others.

   While LMC has offered individual political science classes in the past, this will be the first time the campus has offered the subject as a major — previously, most political science majors either took the major’s required classes as Diablo Valley College or majored in a similar subject such as Administrative Justice.

   “As far as classes are concerned…we will be offering our American government class as well as classes on California politics, international relations, comparative politics, political theory, and constitutional law — all of which will be transferable,” Hiscocks explained. “No longer will LMC students interested in political science have to take classes at other campuses in the district. They can stay here, study with our department, and earn their Associate Degree for Transfer in political science.”

   The new degree will not solely affect political science majors however, as with it come several new classes to the general education curriculum, including International Relations this semester and Comparative Politics and Constitutional Law next semester.

   “I can’t speak about what took place before I was here, but I can tell you that student success, especially as it relates to helping the students in our discipline transfer to a four-year university, is the main objective of the program,” said Hiscocks. “Being able to add another degree here at LMC as well as helping our adjuncts grow professionally will be icing on the cake.”

   The new additions present new opportunities for students of any major, and the staff and faculty are eager for them to be fully implemented.

   “In the sense that it’s giving them another social studies option, I think it’s really good,” Bearden said of the new degree and the “exciting new courses” that Hiscosks and his team have come up with.

   LMC student and political science major Jacob Neel will be graduating after this semester and will not be able to experience the full benefits of the new degree, but is optimistic on how much it will help future students.

   “I think it’s going to affect them positively,” he said. “For a lot of students that just don’t have the ability to drive over to DVC… they can now confidently major in political science.”

   Neel also hopes that the increased focus on the subject of political science will be a breath of academic fresh air and will bring new perspectives to campus.

   “I’m hoping with the new degree… social movements at LMC will finally catch up to DVC,” he said, in reference to the numerous political clubs available on the Diablo Valley campus, giving the Men of Color Association as an example. “I’m hoping that student activism will rise a lot throughout the campus and the community.”

According to Valenzuela, the earliest the degree could be offered is the Fall 2018, and the latest is Spring 2019.

   “For those students, out there who are interested in political science, keep your eyes open … other developments are yet to come,” Hiscocks said. “If you have any questions about the new degree in political science, please stop by CC-217 and talk with us.”