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  October 20, 2003

New Certificate Program Explores
How Global Policy Decisions Are Made

A new program in political science is underway that will benefit both students in the social sciences and secondary school social studies teachers.

The graduate certificate in global governance studies was approved by the Connecticut Department of Higher Education in August.

Mark Boyer, professor of political science and director of the program, says a key issue in the program is globalization. "While we can readily identify global impacts on our daily lives," he says, "it is less clear how and why decisions are made in this globalizing world."

Other questions, he says, involve "who is in charge of policy on global matters and what implications globalization has for considerations of democratic governance around the world."

The program will explore these issues; students are required to take 12 credits and write a research paper.

Boyer says the program "dovetails nicely" with what students already enrolled in master's and doctoral programs are doing. "They should be able to get the certificate along the way, without much extra work," he says, noting that the degree will also give students an edge in a competitive job market.

He believes it will appeal to students in other social sciences, such as history, sociology, and economics.

The program also fits well into collaborative efforts between the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Neag School of Education, says Boyer. It provides a structured, globally-oriented program for secondary school teachers, particularly in social studies, who are working toward an M.A. in education or their sixth-year diploma.

"It's one of the new, exciting directions the political science department is taking," says Howard Reiter, who heads the department. "We're trying to be in the forefront of a newly emerging area and we've got some great faculty in both the comparative politics and international relations areas, so it's a perfect fit for us."

Boyer says the certificate program will showcase the political science department. "We have enormous strength in international relations and comparative politics," he says, and "this program showcases that for both the public and incoming students.

"It's also good for recruitment, he adds. "We can say to the best graduate students in the field, 'We do this well. Come here and study with us.'"

Applications are arriving and students are enrolling, Boyer says, noting that by the end of the year, the first certificates will be awarded to three or four students.