**UPDATE: Summer 2018 courses and faculty information will be updated as we confirm additional faculty.  Please visit our website in January for the most updated faculty information.  Email with faculty and/or course questions.

Political Science: International Relations (Professor Montero)

Students will analyze research questions of central concern to political scientists such as whether the quality of democratic governance is fundamentally determined by economic and social development. A wide variety of democratic institutions correlate with socio-economic outcomes. Our section will be interested in testing theories concerning whether majoritarian or proportional/consensual types of democracy provide better conditions for health and human development in advanced capitalist and developing countries.  But regardless of the hypotheses under study, the central learning goals are an understanding of how to use comparative data to form and test hypotheses about how institutions, organizations, and voters respond to differences in political forms and social and economic development across countries and over time.

Potential Research Topics: Students in this section will test hypotheses concerning the political determinants of different levels of social welfare spending, human development indicators such as literacy and life expectancy in a survey of European, Latin American, Asian, and African countries. Do left-of-center governments produce better outcomes or are right-of-center governments just as good or better in generating improvements to human development? Are electoral systems based on proportional representation better for socio-economic development than those based on majoritarian formulas?      

The Psychology of Numbers (Professor Van Der Wege)

"The world of the twenty-first century is a world awash in numbers” - Lynn Steen, The Case for Quantitative Literacy

In this course, students will learn about the cognitive psychology of numbers - how we estimate numbers, think about numbers, talk about numbers, and manipulate numbers.  We will touch upon several core sub-disciplines in the field of psychology (cognition, neuroscience, development, social psychology) and discuss the methodological and statistical methods that psychologists use to draw conclusions about behavior.  Students will work in teams to test an original research hypothesis about how people think about numbers. They will formulate a research hypothesis based on background literature, design a study, analyze data, and present their research in a poster.  Examples of past projects include a study how the precision of a number affects perceptions of confidence, a experiment looking at how negative and positive numbers are processed in different ways, and an investigation of how mathematical calculation skills are correlated with data visualization skills.


Past course themes have included: Labor Market Inequality in the United States, The Politics of Globalization, Models of Conflict, Cooperation and Communication, Science and Pseudoscience in Psychology, Political Science: International Relations, Economics, and Cognitive Psychology.