David E. Schmidt, Ph.D.
More About the Program
The Applied Politics degree at Bethel College offers a hands-on approach not found in most political science programs. The difference is experiential. Students don’t just read about the political process – they participate in it through internships and other opportunities to network and dialogue with key political constituents. Students will be prepared to analyze political issues from various perspectives and to create effective political and issue campaigns
Bethel is uniquely suited to offer this major and it begins with our location. Situated in the third largest metro area in Indiana – South Bend, Ind. and Mishawaka, Ind., the region is small enough for personal interaction, but large enough to offer rich internship experiences.
The political landscape around Bethel College strengthens the Applied Politics program. Students who elect an internship locally will be working on campaigns with smaller staffs allowing them to work more closely with the major players in local politics.
Since Indiana is on an alternate political schedule, students will have the opportunity to work for three significant campaigns a year. Being close to the border of Michigan also allows students the opportunity to get involved with local politics in that state as well.
Bethel’s Approach to Applied Politics
The Applied Politics major has two critical points of emphasis. The first is academics. Students will be introduced to the basics of developing and implementing successful political campaigns and will study US History and US government at the Federal, state, and local levels. In each of these courses, students will have the opportunity to meet local and regional leaders in politics and government and engage in dialog with campaign professionals.
The second emphasis is on internships. Successful students must move beyond the classroom and apply what they are learning in a “real world” environment. Students will have three internships obtaining a variety of experiences to broaden their professional networks. The Department of History and Contemporary Society has an established reputation with local government agencies and political organizations that provide quality programs for our student interns. Providing this foundation is intentional. Students must be able to make the best use of their time in college while providing quality service to candidates, agencies, and organizations.
Bethel students will also have access to internships in other regions of the United States, including Washington, DC. Some students may choose to work with local or national interest groups, lobbying legislatures, making contacts in the media, or helping raise funds and public awareness.
Bethel expects students in this program will have a positive impact on the quality of student leadership on our campus, be more active in service to the local community and will positively affect the local political climate.
“My areas of study and my internship with the Mishawaka Mayor’s office did a great job preparing me for an internship at the Department of State. By studying economics, I found a niche for myself that is very cross-culturally relevant. Though I’m still learning the details of international investments, I rely on the mental economic framework that I learned in my classes at Bethel. My English courses also prepared me to be an effective communicator, a solid writer and a faster learner. These strengths are a rarity in Washington, DC, and every employer seems to be looking for them. My abilities to analyze investment reports and recount complex meetings comes directly from the classes I took on poetry, the papers I wrote on syntax, and the cross-cultural texts I read in World Literature.”
Amy Baker ‘14
Department of State Internship
CURRICULUM: B. A. in APPLIED POLITICS
|COMM 171||Speech Communication||3|
|ENGL 101||Written Communication II||3|
|ENGL 102||Written Communication III||3|
|PSYC 182||General Psychology||3|
|KINE 128||Physical fitness||(1)|
|KINE 135||Weight Training||(1)|
|SOC 151||Principles of Sociology||3|
|BIBL 215||Old Testament Literature||3|
|BIBL 216||New Testament Literature||3|
|PHIL 150||Logic & Critical Thinking||2|
|PHIL 250||Introduction to Philosophy||3|
|THEO 110||Exploring the Christian Faith||3|
|PHIL 452||Senior Experience||1|
|Foreign Language (two semesters)||6|
|HIST 246||Introduction to World Civilizations||3|
|MATH 111||Probability and Statistics||3|
|Science with Lab||4|
|APOL 110||Introduction to Applied Politics||3|
|SS 280||State and Local Government||3|
|APOL 320||Political Campaigns and Elections||3|
|HIST 242||U.S. History I||3|
|HIST 243||U.S. History II||3|
|SS 305||U.S. Government||3|
|APOL 250||Field Experience in Applied Politics I||3|
|APOL 250||Field Experience in Applied Politics II||3|
|APOL 450||Practicum in Applied Politics||9|
|SS 450||Assessment Portfolio||2|
Credits available for electives, a second major or minor(s): 35
Applied Politics courses/traditional classes and internships
APOL 110 Introduction to Applied Politics will provide students with the road map to the Applied Politics major. The foundation of the course will be on the necessity of ethical leadership. It will survey the history and function of American political parties and major interest groups. It will give an overview of various components of political campaigns. (These will include topics such as how and why voters make political decisions, campaign organization and finance, role of the media, campaign message, tactics and strategies, etc.). The course will also use resources such as Strengths Finder and Myers-Briggs to assist students in finding best vocational fit. Regular guests will include elected officeholders, party officials, and campaign professionals. Each student will write a statement on his/her personal political philosophy.
APOL 320 Political Campaigns and Elections is an advanced study of the complex and changing dynamics of electoral politics. Among the topics covered are the recruitment and selection of candidates, the fundamentals of campaign organization and finance, the psychology of how and why voters make political decisions, the changing impact of old and new media, the development of a dynamic campaign message, the basics of tactics and strategies, and the varying roles of political parties and interest groups. Regular guests will include elected officeholders, party officials, and campaign professionals. Students will complete a research project and draft a personal statement on campaign ethics.
Field Experience and Practica in Applied Politics
The Department of History and Contemporary Society has designed the Applied Politics major to give Bethel students a variety of valuable hands-on learning experiences. There are a number of opportunities already available in the Mishawaka-Elkhart-South Bend area. Bethel students will also have access to field work and practica in other regions of the United States, including Washington, D.C. Some students may choose working with a local or national interest group, lobbying legislators, making contacts in the media, or helping raise funds and public awareness. In election years, we will encourage students to join the campaign team of someone running for office, ranging from a position in local government to the presidency of the United States. Though we believe that it is usually best for Applied Politics majors to have three different experiences, a student may request that credit hours for two of the internships be combined.
APOL 250 Field Experience I and APOL 350 Field Experience II will be linked to a weekly two-hour seminar. In the seminar students will explore issues raised by their engagement in the political arena. In addition, supervising faculty will offer instruction related to the specific nature of student field placements.
APOL 450 Practicum in Applied Politics will be an advanced independent internship. By their senior year students will be equipped for a professional-level learning experience.