Dean's Blog: Political Discourse

October 22, 2018 - Dean Rachel Croson



Today’s political discourse is controversial and highly charged. Yet politics affects all aspects of our lives. MSU Political Science faculty study how political discourse has changed, and how it can be improved. For example, Dr. Matt Grossmann studies political parties, including how they often argue past one another, how they think about politics, rely on distinct sources of information, and pursue different goals. His new book (Asymmetric Politics, published by Oxford University Press) describes the characteristics of each major party, and identifies their changing goals and objectives. This research helps us all to understand and predict what is likely to happen in the next few years (and perhaps even in November).

In addition to the contributions of our research, our outreach and engagement activities put research into practice. For example, since 1993 the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (which Dr. Grossmann directs) has offered the Michigan Political Leadership Program (MPLP). For a full year, political leaders who aspire to run for the Michigan State Legislature meet each weekend to learn about political leadership and effective governance. The program is carefully balanced to include 12 Democrats and 12 Republicans who work together on class projects. This experience not only builds substantive expertise, but teaches the attendees how to speak “across the aisle,” how to collaborate constructively, and how to avoid political deadlock.

Here on campus, the LeFrak Forum, the Symposium on Science, Reason, and Modern Democracy and the Blanchard Lecture Series provide public lectures on political topics. The Workshop on Conflict offers faculty and graduate students the opportunity to present their research about global conflict and cooperation; and our Undergraduate Political Science majors (including the Political Science Scholars) and Masters of Political Policy students learn how to be constructive and effective policy-makers, regardless of their political affiliation.

The College of Social Science is transforming the human experience by advancing civil and constructive political discourse. This is something that the world sorely needs.


Sincerely yours,

Dean Rachel T.A. Croson


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