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A New Identity for Political Science

Students have a discussion in their international relations class taught by Professor Tom Copeland. As political science branches off to becomes it's own department, a dedication benquet will be held on Sept 19. | Aaron Fooks/THE CHIMES


The political science emphasis branched off from the history department this summer, offering the first political science department in Biola’s history. A celebration for the new department will be held Friday, Sept. 19.

The department’s growth created more internships and opportunities for political science majors.

The program now includes the new positions of department chair Scott Waller and international relations political scientist and associate professor of political scientist Tom Copeland. A mentoring program for political science students conducted by upperclassmen political science majors as well as networking opportunities from local and state offices to Washington D.C. will be available for political science students.


Biola has rapidly increased their number of departments in the past 10 years, and the political science community now boasts of over 70 students, Waller said.

“I trode Washington for two to three days setting up internship opportunities for students. We’re ready as a department, and I’m ready to dial it up,” Waller said.

Senior and political science major Andrew Cleary serves as Waller’s peer advisor and plans to lead other political scientist department events, such as a panel discussion for students, internship events and another formal dinner.

“Now there’s a real opportunity to change the political science department and provide more value to the major,” Cleary said.

Senior political science major Cameron Henry plans on pursuing a career in government as a senator.

“I'm looking forward to a specific group to call my own….a sense of pride that has come through the major,” Henry said.

Senior political science major Eric Sirjord worked as an intern in the House of Representatives in Washington D.C. during the spring 2014 semester. Separate departments are better for faculty, students, and the credibilities of the history and political science departments, Sirjord said.

“Politics are too important for Christians to be mere onlookers. I’m glad Biola wants to encourage students to be leaders in the public sector,” Sijord said.

Other students in the major believe the department will positively affect Biola’s reputation in the public eye.

“I think it is a necessary first step toward establishing a well-known and respected political science program at Biola, and I think it truly shows Biola's commitment to think biblically about everything,” said sophomore political science major Taylor Becker. “I look forward to seeing how the Lord uses our majors to impact the world for him.”


Friday’s celebration of the new department will be a night to remember, Waller said.

“That evening, we are going to formally dedicate our new department to the Lord, and lay out a vision for what we think God will do in us and in this department. . .to raise up people of influence who can influence this world for the kingdom,” Waller said.

President Barry Corey, provost and senior vice president David Nystrom and distinct professor of philosophy J.P. Moreland will kick-off this new department with the dedication banquet on Sept. 19 in the library courtyard at 6 p.m.

At the event, Nystrom will share remarks along with Moreland, the key-note speaker. The event will conclude with a video feed from Biola graduate and South Dakota senator John Thune.

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