Goals for Political Science

By American Political Science Association | Go to book overview

Chapter IX. Graduate Instruction;
A Threshold to Teaching

IN SOME ways the question of improved methods of graduate instruction is the most important matter the committee could consider. The old adage, "as the twig is bent," provides the theme. If the political science profession is to improve its over-all effectiveness, the graduate school is obviously the starting point, for it is from this source that future personnel must come and that changes in objectives and in methods must be introduced. It is true that occasional innovators do sometimes appear as outcroppings from staid academic environments, but generally, if professional competence is to be widely and permanently improved, the level of institutional effectiveness needs to be raised all along the line. The committee has found that the record is one in which the profession can take a good deal of satisfaction, but it has also concluded that there is no ground for complacency, and that significant improvements can be made. It must be admitted at the outset that we are probably more aware of the problems than convinced that we have come up with the right answers, but we take consolation in the fact that these matters, being so important, will doubtless commend themselves to the constant study and attention of the American Political Science Association, and especially to the Washington office, which was created for just such professional matters.

What is the problem? What are the facts? What standards and methods are presently employed? How can these be improved?

There are a number of problems, all closely interrelated. Are facilities for graduate instruction at the present time adequate, and are the standards uniformly high? Are the right candidates

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