The Political Science Department within the College of Liberal Arts enrolls approximately 700 undergraduate students in its major, and its 30–35 faculty members teach many non-majors in courses at all levels of its curriculum.
Among recent implementation efforts, the department conducted a longitudinal study of volunteer students as they learned to write from 1K-level courses onward. The study involved collection of writing samples and correlative interviews about students' experiences as writers.
Indicative of the department’s long-term goals, the faculty has re-committed itself to employing language from the Writing Plan in course materials in order to help students detect consistency amongst courses in the department's flat curriculum. Finally, to ensure ongoing implementation of its Writing Plan, the department has institutionalized the WEC Faculty Liaison position, integrating it into the regular departmental administrative structure. Among other responsibilities, the Liaison has coordinated a number of workshops and conversations to support graduate student instructors and teaching assistants in the teaching of writing.
Ph.D. alumni of the department have organized a Facebook group (MNstructors) focused on teaching issues; the group convened a small interactive conference in summer 2014, focused on matters of professionalism and pedagogy, including the teaching of undergraduate writers in Political Science. Current faculty members and graduate students in the department were invited.
Each spring, the department awards the annual William Jennings Bryan Essay Prize. Professors from any Political Science course nominate outstanding undergraduate student essays, subject to the student’s approval, and a cash prize is awarded.