Goals for Political Science

By American Political Science Association | Go to book overview
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Chapter III. Teaching
International Relations

ONE of political science's greatest challenges is to find better ways of communicating knowledge about international relations. Opinion polls which have been completed in recent years leave no doubt that anxiety concerning international instabilities represents the public's chief worry-a concern which exceeds that arising from any other problem, political, social, or economic.1 Privately endowed foundations have, in several instances, bent every resource to improve the effectiveness of research, formal education, and public enlightenment in the field of international relations, and yet, understandably, these same foundations still beg for practical and constructive methods of doing all these things better. And since, for fifty years or more, political science has always borne the principal responsibility for developing research and instruction in the field of international relations, today's challenge is naturally strongest for political scientists.

The studies of this committee reveal that the relative increase of student interest and enrollments in international relations following World War II has exceeded that which followed the termination of World War I.2 There is this important difference between the two postwar periods, however: For a few years after World War I, student and faculty interest in international relations was sustained at a high level and then, almost as suddenly, it declined. This time there are strong indications of a sustained interest.

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1
Confirmed in a Gallup public opinion poll published May 5, 1950.
2
In Chap. V, for example, we disclose that 7 of the 8 courses in political science which have shown the most expansion in terms of number of courses added between 1946 and 1949 were concerned with international relations and comparative government.

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