Guest Writer: Jacey Crawford
The Department of History and Political Science is actively offering unique opportunities to determined students in the form of distinctive programs and majors.
Dr. Michael Frank has been a professor of political science since 2001. Frank has recognized that the department’s subject to academics and access to special opportunities is what sets it apart from other programs.
In an effort to join the fields of academics with public service, the Department of History and Political Science created a special program called the Center for Public Service (CPS).
CPS is a program for sophomores, juniors and seniors and was introduced in 1974. It is still in full operation today. Frank is the current director of CPS.
“Center for Public Service is an honors program for exceptional students who are interested in pursuing careers in public service,” said Frank. “We take a very broad perspective on public service—it’s really an effort to meet a critical need in society.”
Frank explained that students are invited to apply to be a CPS fellow, and that any and all majors are welcome.
“I can’t think of a major on campus from which we haven’t had a fellow,” Frank said. “CPS has had applicants from journalism, music business, education, psychology, nursing, mathematics, biology and chemistry.”
To be accepted to the program, students must meet certain academic requirements.
“The application process involves meeting GPA requirements, connecting your career objectives to public service and showing evidence of public service in what you currently do,” Frank stated. “We really look for a commitment to public service.”
CPS admits between 10 and 15 fellows a year, and the program currently has 28 fellows. Once accepted into the program, fellows focus primarily on working out a public service professional development program.
“They develop this plan in consultation with a faculty advisory fellow, who is someone who can help them identify good opportunities related to their public service career, and a professional advisory fellow who is working in that public service career that they want to pursue,” said Frank.
After formulating a development plan, fellows can write a grant proposal. This proposal asks for funding from CPS to transition their public service visions into realities. CPS has funded ventures such as conference visits, summer internships and travel.
Frank explained that numerous fellows have gone on to benefit society in tremendous ways. One such former fellow is President John Pistole, who made his own contribution to the Department of History and Political Science by developing and implementing the new national security major.
“One of the distinctive qualities of the national security major is its interdisciplinary nature,” Frank stated. “You dig in deep to the national security environment while also taking classes from other academic fields that are key to understanding national security.”
National security students engage in coursework in criminal justice, psychology, languages and history while also diving into political science and national, international and homeland security.
“By using electives strategically, students develop a knowledge base and skill set that is really going to benefit them in the long run,” Frank said.
Within these courses, strong emphasis is placed upon connecting faith and public service.
“In our program, you get professional ethics from a Christian faith perspective,” said Frank. “You get it throughout the curriculum.”
National security majors are prepared to view issues from a Christian perspective when entering the workforce.
“We need people in the intelligence community who will speak truth to power when it’s necessary to try to prevent an action from being taken that would be unethical or immoral,” Frank said. “We need people protecting the homeland who are able to do that.”
According to Frank, the ethical foundation of the major is necessary for meaningful public service, and the department’s hands-on approach to academics prepares students for the career path that awaits them.
As a professor, Frank thoroughly enjoys being able to instruct students in the field about which he is most passionate.
“It’s a pleasure to come in every day,” said Frank. “It’s a good environment.”
Frank explained that his experience in the department is best summarized by their unofficial motto: “Work hard, have fun, eat cake.”