Committee for the Evaluation of Political Science and International Relations
Ben Gurion University
Department of Politics and Government
Chapter 1: General Background 3
Chapter 2: Committee Procedures 4
Chapter 3: Evaluation of the Department of Politics & Government, Ben Gurion University 5
Chapter 4: Recommendations 13
Minority Opinion by Prof. Galia Golan 17
Appendix 1: The Committee's letter of appointment
Appendix 2: Schedule of the site visit3
Chapter 1: General Background
During its meeting on October 7, 2008, the Council for Higher Education (hereafter: CHE)
decided to evaluate departments in the fields of Political Science and International Relations.
Following the decision of the CHE, the Minister of Education who serves ex officio as a
Chairperson of the CHE, appointed a committee consisting of:
• Prof. Thomas Risse, Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science, Freie Universität
Berlin, Germany– Committee Chair
• Prof. Gabriel Ben Dor, School of Political Sciences, University of Haifa, Israel
• Prof. Benjamin Jerry Cohen, Department of Political Science, University of
California, Santa Barbara, USA
• Prof. Abraham Diskin, Department of Political Science, Hebrew University of
Jerusalem, Israel and Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy,
Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel
• Prof. Galia Golan, Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy,
Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel
• Prof. Ellen Immergut, School of Social Sciences, Humboldt University Berlin,
• Prof. Robert Lieber, Department of Government, Georgetown University, USA
• Ms. Marissa Gross, Coordinator of the Committee on behalf of the CHE.
Within the framework of its activity, the committee was requested to:
*Examine the self-evaluation reports, which were submitted by institutions that provide study
programs in Political Science and International Relations.
*Present the CHE with final reports for the evaluated academic units and study programs – a
separate report for each institution, including the committee’s findings and recommendations.
*Submit to the CHE a general report regarding its opinion as to the examined field within the
Israeli system of higher education with recommended standards.
The Committee's letter of appointment is attached as Appendix 1.
Prof. Gabriel Ben Dor did not participate in the evaluation of the University of Haifa.
Prof. Abraham Diskin did not participate in the evaluation of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.
Prof. Galia Golan did not participate in the evaluation of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.
Prof. Golan did not sign this report on Ben Gurion University and wrote a minority opinion (see p. 17).
Prof. Ellen Immergut did not participate in the visits of Open University, Ben Gurion University,
and Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.
Prof. Robert Lieber did not participate in the first round of visits. 4
The first stage of the quality assessment process consisted of self-evaluation, including the
preparation of a self-evaluation report by the institutions under evaluation. This process was
conducted in accordance with the CHE’s guidelines as specified in the document entitled “The
Self-Evaluation Process: Recommendations and Guidelines” (October 2008).
Chapter 2: Committee Procedures
The Committee held its first formal meetings on February 15, 2011. At this meeting committee
members were given an overview of higher education in Israel and a description of the Israeli
CHE. They also discussed Political Science and International Relations programs in Israel and
fundamental issues concerning the committee's quality assessment activity. Committee members
had received copies of the departmental reports before this date.
During February 2011 committee members conducted full-day visits to three institutions whose
programs the committee was requested to examine: Academic College of Tel Aviv Yaffo, Bar
Ilan University and Tel Aviv University. In May 2011, committee members visited the University
of Haifa, Open University, Ben Gurion University and the Interdisciplinary Center.
This report deals with the Department of Politics and Government at the Faculty of Humanities
and Social Studies at Ben Gurion University. The Department of Politics and Government was
founded in 1998 and originally offered only BA degrees. In 2009, the department opened a
Master's program and a year later a one year-international MA program. During the 2009-2010
school year, 407 BA students, 21 Master's students, and 5 doctoral students were enrolled in the
Department. The department is comprised of 10 faculty members.
The Committee's visit to Ben Gurion University took place on May 18-19, 2011.
The committee spent two days of intensive meetings. It also had an opportunity to see the
libraries and other facilities, and meet with appropriate administrators, tenure and tenure-track
faculty, adjunct faculty, and BA, MA and PhD students. We thank the appropriate individuals for
their involvement in our proceedings. Their input allowed us to explore many of the issues raised
in the self-study report.
The schedule of the visit, including the list of participants representing the institution, is attached
as Appendix 2. 5
Chapter 3: Evaluation of the Department of Politics and Government, Ben Gurion
* This Report relates to the situation current at the time of the visit to the institution, and does
not take account of any subsequent changes. The Report records the conclusions reached by the
Evaluation Committee based on the documentation provided by the institution, information
gained through interviews, discussion and observation as well as other information available to
3.1 Mission, Goals and Aims
Ben Gurion University of the Negev was created in the years 1969-1973. Its mission and
purpose, reflecting the location in Beer-Sheva and in an underserved region, is officially
described in terms of four objectives: first, to assist in the development and advancement of the
State of Israel and the Negev; second, to develop and advance education, teaching and research
in all fields of human knowledge; third, to help crystallize the spiritual and cultural values of
Israel and assist in developing the society and economy; and fourth, to help in spiritual and
cultural absorption of Jewish immigrants and to develop academic programs for Jews outside of
Israel. Within the University, the mission of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences is to
advance the understanding of human behavior, society and culture through education and
research. In doing so, many students are to be prepared for careers in a variety of professions,
while others will study to broaden their horizons and enrich their lives. Faculty research is to
promote a better understanding of individual and social behavior and a deeper understanding of
Israeli and other cultures. Knowledge is to contribute to the spiritual and material development
of the people of the Negev, Israel and the world.
Within the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Department of Politics and
Government was established in 1998.
It describes itself as the youngest political science department in
Israel. It enrolls large numbers of BA and MA students, many of whom express satisfaction with
living in Beer Sheva, with the overall atmosphere for undergraduate life at the university, and
with their experiences in the department. In its own mission statement, the Department writes
that its uniqueness is reflected in its use of the name Politics and Government, rather than the
more common Political Science, which it believes signals its own de-emphasis of the role of
science in the study of politics. While the term “Politics and Government” does not appear to be
too unusual abroad,
the Department commits itself to combining classic political science with an
interdisciplinary approach, alongside a “solid commitment to good citizenship and community
activism.” Members of the faculty are to actively engage in research and practical projects
enabling them to contribute their expertise and to learn from the world of political organizations,
grass roots movements and daily democratic practices.
A number of important and well established departments elsewhere have long been called
“Government” (Harvard, Georgetown, Cornell), “Politics” (Princeton), “Government and
Politics” (Maryland), and thus the name of the BGU Department is not unique. 6
The Department aims to prepare its students for engagement in Israeli political and social life
which reflects the mission of the university. However, the committee is concerned that the study
of politics as a scientific discipline may be impeded by such strong emphasis on political
activism. It is an appropriate mission to encourage students to become active citizens and engage
in politics. It is also a normal activity for faculty carrying out research and teaching in politics
and government to be engaged in the politics of the society that constitutes their environment.
And certainly, political science instructors are entitled to have their own opinion and to express
them in class.
But the strong emphasis on “community activism” emphasized by the Department raises at least
two questions. First, are students receiving a sufficiently rigorous foundation in the discipline of
politics and government to equip them with a necessary grounding in the important ideas and
understandings common to the subject and the discipline? At the moment, the committee sees
major weaknesses with regard to the Department’s core discipline of Political Science which
need to be addressed immediately. Second, is there a balance of views in the curriculum and the
classroom? Particularly, political science instructors should see to it that their own opinions are
expressed as personal views so that students can take a critical perspective and that there is a
broad exposure to alternative perspectives in order to widen and deepen their own understanding.
The committee recognizes that the university leadership and the Department are mindful of these
concerns and that the Department itself has begun to make some efforts to address these
problems. The committee strongly recommends that these efforts be continued, and deepened.
There is a case to be made for a program that distinguishes itself by an emphasis on engagement
in society, but the effective implementation of this goal requires an improved grounding in the
theoretical and analytical foundations of politics and government as well as a sustained commitment
to providing balance and an essential range of viewpoints and perspectives on the great
issues of politics.
Such grounding must be based on disciplinary anchoring in the field of political science. At the
moment, the Department is too weak in its core discipline of political science in terms of number
of faculty, curriculum, and research. The committee believes that this situation needs to be
changed immediately and that the Department should institute major changes toward strengthening its
disciplinary and ethodological core through both hiring more faculty and altering its
study programs (see below). Ben Gurion University and the MALAG should support these
efforts, for example, by allocating university resources to this end and by monitoring the situation
closely. If these changes are nevertheless not implemented, the majority of the committee
believes that, as a last resort, Ben Gurion University should consider closing the Department of
Politics and Government.
3.2 The Study Program
The Department has defined its mission as being different from other departments in the country
in two major ways. The double mission is to be multi-disciplinary, on the one hand, and to be
socially and/or politically involved, on the other hand. Yet, on paper, the study program does not
differ greatly from the more or less conventional programs in the other universities in the 7
country. Special courses that truly emphasize social involvement do not really exist, and the
preparation of the students for that kind of activity is not done in formal courses.
A more general and pressing need is simply to make sure there are more courses in the central
discipline of political science. While the formal and substantive self-definition of the “Department of
Politics and Government” expands the boundaries of the concept of politics, the
disciplinary basis is still that of political science, and it is not strong enough. There are not
enough courses in the discipline, a point noted by the committee and made by students and by
leading faculty. The Department itself is aware of this and is beginning to move in the right
direction. The committee strongly encourages and supports such effort. The essentials of
political science must be taught in the core courses of the study program and the curriculum
needs to be changed accordingly and immediately.
This point is even more important in light of the emphasis on the multi-disciplinary (or interdisciplinary)
nature of the program. In such programs, there is a need for students to acquire
sound fundamentals of at least one discipline, so as not to lack exposure to the basics of modern
scholarship in at least one major relevant area. In a Department of Politics and Governments,
this core discipline is political science.
The study program also must be strengthened in the methodological area. The amount of credits
devoted to research methods in both the BA and the MA program is extremely low. Thus, there is
only one required research related course at the BA level – “Approaches and Methods in Political
Science Research” (second year, first semester, 3 credits, 2 weekly teaching hours, 2 weekly
exercise hours). Students at all levels and alumni complained about the limited share of
methodological training in the department. We understood that there is no faculty member
capable of teaching this course, and that it has been taught and will be taught by external
teachers. We were also told that an elective research methods workshop will be added to the
curriculum next year.
We strongly recommend, therefore, that future hiring include political scientists and those who
are capable of teaching research methods and that the number of courses devoted to methodology
– both quantitative and qualitative – be raised significantly in both the BA and MA curricula.
This would ensure that the students acquire the necessary skills for a broad political science
education and for advanced study.
One way in which the Department could integrate its commitment to social and political activism
in the curriculum would be to add an internship program, and to support this program with
courses that allow students to make theoretical sense of their internship experiences and that
teach the scholarly foundations of political practice or activity. The Department does have
workshops and study tours which facilitate at least a practical acquaintance with the real world of
politics, and this is apparently in tune with the general direction the department would like to
take. Yet, the committee was told that there was only one elective course that offered practical
experience. Students wanted more such courses and/or internships, particularly in local
government, the Knesset as well as NGOs. The committee endorses these views. It also recommends
that serious and constant supervision by the faculty should be exercised at all times to make sure
that the scholarly standards of such activities are upheld, and that the assignments, grades and 8
other components of the course-work and internships are in accordance with the academic
standards to which the department aspires.
Another issue which came up during discussions and conversations with the students and the
faculty had to do with the problem of balance in the curriculum and in the classroom (see above).
Some BA students kept referring to this perception of lack of balance. Any department which
emphasizes political engagement as a major objective of its mission has to pay special attention
to this question, and criticism from various ends of the public spectrum are almost inevitable.
The Department seems aware of this problem and appears to be taking steps to address it. It is
also important to note that the majority of students emphasized that the people in charge were
willing to listen to them when they identified problems and brought them to the attention of the
faculty in the department. The committee appreciates the steps made by the new chair and his
colleagues in this regard, and it strongly encourages them to continue these efforts with even
greater intensity in the future. In addition to making the program more balanced, the Department
should also make an effort that it is perceived as such by the community concerned.
Several students also feel that the program as such is not sufficiently structured. After the first
year, there seems to be a rather eclectic set of courses, and they seem to lack a coherent focus.
While some students like the freedom of choice implied in this situation, others feel that their
course of studies in the department is simply too eclectic. The committee shares the view that the
program is not sufficiently structured and recommends, therefore, to make the program more
coherent after the first year. We suggest that the Department look at other political science
curricula in Israel in order to make its own study program more coherent.
The department has a distinct area of strength in its European studies program, which is fairly
unique in Israel. This includes the only Jean Monnet Chair in Israel. We recommend to further
build up this program as a unique selling point of the Department and to ensure that the faculty
involved have a solid disciplinary basis in political science.
The committee also appreciates efforts by the Department of Politics and Government to
cooperate more closely with the Department of Public Policy. We recommend to continue these
efforts and to move toward joint degree programs, once the political science component of the
Department has been strengthened.
MA students would like to have a more diverse set of courses offered, and they would also like to
have courses, which are substantially different from those in the BA program. This aspiration,
however, does not seem realistic, given the fact that there are not enough political science faculty
to teach even the required BA courses. As a result, the very value of the MA program in its
present form is doubtful. The committee recommends, therefore, to hire more faculty in the core
discipline of political science (including quantitative and qualitative methods, see above) in order
to be able to offer a suitable MA program with a diverse set of courses including an English
The committee has an additional concern about the Department’s commitment to training Ph.D.
students. According to its “Update” of 29 March 2011, the Department currently has nine Ph.D.,
students and expects the number to increase to fourteen in the next academic year. We do not
find this a suitable undertaking at the present time. Effective Ph.D. programs require extensive 9
time commitments by faculty, conscientious mentoring, strong disciplinary emphasis, and
sufficient numbers of both faculty and doctoral students for regular seminars and colloquia. The
Department lacks these resources, and the situation is exacerbated by the problems cited above.
There is little justification for the present commitment, and the committee strongly advises
against a PhD program in the current situation.
The Department’s faculty (tenured and tenure track) appear to be a very close, integrated group
from very diverse disciplines. Everyone in the faculty praised the collegiality, cooperation and
mutual support within the Department as well as what they described as the interdisciplinary and
multidisciplinary nature of the Department. Particularly noted was the attention and advice
accorded to junior faculty in their research, and the value of the Departmental Research Seminar.
The relatively small faculty do, in fact, come from diverse disciplines (Medicine, Geography,
History, Sociology) which undoubtedly enriches the Department. Yet, this raises questions
regarding needed backgrounds and research in the discipline of political science as the core
discipline of the Department. Of the nine tenure track and tenured faculty, only four are political
scientists by training.
The others are engaged in related fields, such as Political-Geography, Public Policy in Health,
Holocaust Studies, Political Sociology, and the like. On the whole, the faculty themselves see
this not only as an advantage but also as part of their interest in interdisciplinarity.
The number of faculty, whether political scientists or not, is far too small for the number of
students (there is currently a 1:43 faculty-student ratio). The faculty’s time is additionally
stretched by administrative tasks, which fall in particular on the few senior faculty. One result is
that the Department relies on adjunct faculty for 30-50% of its courses. The Department presently
has one more “line” open, which will bring their total faculty to 10. The Department believes
that it needs 16-18 faculty to cover their present needs and allow for expansion, including a PhD
program. At the moment, there is clearly not sufficient faculty for a PhD program. As a result
and given the shortcomings in the Department’s disciplinary core and the study programs (see
above), the committee strongly recommends that the Department be given the permission to hire
three to four more faculty in its core discipline of political science, particularly in (quantitative)
methodology and in European studies, a unique strength of the Department.
The committee heard no complaints regarding hiring or promotion practices in the Department.
Two of the lecturers were hired from the ranks of the adjuncts, and the tenure/promotion record
of the Department was considered very good. Tenure has never been denied a candidate put up
for promotion, but one or two cases were mentioned of lecturers who would not have been put up
for promotion had they remained. We recommend that common standards of scholarly achievements
and excellence are emphasized in the process of hiring and promotion. 10
The adjuncts expressed enthusiastic satisfaction with the atmosphere and the attitude towards
them in the Department. They said that they were included in all the Department funct'ions,
faculty meetings, and research. They also receive support and feed-back in their own research
and believe that will be considered when there is hiring for tenure track positions. In fact two
adjuncts were hired to tenure track positions recently. Nonetheless, the nature of the “adjunct”
position, namely the number of hours they teach and the need to teach in several places (in order
to make a living), limits their time for research and therefore their ability to compete for regular
faculty positions. As mentioned above, the committee is particularly concerned about the fact
that 30-50% of the core courses in the study programs are taught by adjuncts rather than regular
faculty. This serves as a further argument to increase the number of regular faculty in political
The BA students were enthusiastic about the availability and openness of the faculty (and
Department administration), noting the attention and concern for students’ welfare as well as
studies. Some said that they were attracted to the Department because of its emphasis on
activism. Similarly, some students claimed that the studies were not particularly challenging
while others said that they were (especially political economy, political theory, political
geography). There was agreement that the courses emphasized critical thinking and activism.
The former was apparent in the lively and very articulate discussion that took place among the
students when the matter of political bias came up. There was general agreement that a clear
political leaning was apparent in the courses but that students seemed to be able to express
different views. The committee has no further recommendation with regard to the BA students
other than to reiterate the points made above concerning the study programs and the faculty.
The discussion with the MA students was almost identical to that of the BA students: great
enthusiasm about the open, caring and cooperative attitude of the faculty and the atmosphere in
the department, along with satisfaction with the emphasis on activism. Of a critical nature, they
spoke of the limited span of fields in the Department, the limited variety (more of the same, for
those who had done their BA there as well), though the Department was open to their taking
courses outside the Department. Similarly, due to the small number of faculty, students had to
seek thesis supervisors outside the Department. In response to the Committee’s query, the
discussion of the political orientation of the Department was very similar to that of the BA
students. They said that the political orientation of the faculty and of the courses was clear but
that one was free to go to other courses and that students were encouraged to be critical even of
the lecturers. The committee has commented on these issues above and sees no need for further
The PhD students appear to receive substantial attention from the faculty as well as strong
encouragement in their academic pursuits. PhD students are also required to present their
research at the Departmental Research Seminar, but there is no formal PhD seminar or workshop.
Presumably this is because the Department does not have its own PhD program but faculty
nonetheless supervise political science students pursuing a PhD. This clearly stretches still
further the small faculty in the Department and, although the PhD students did not complain
about access or time with their supervisors (the opposite was the case), it is hard to understand
how the Department can in fact sustain PhD students with such a small faculty. The committee,
therefore, repeats its concerns about supervision of PhD students – let alone the move toward a
PhD program – in light of the lack of faculty, particularly in political science.
The PhD. students’ major complaint was that they do not have the financial means sufficient to
be able to devote as much time as they want to their studies. This is a general problem of PhD
studies in Israel which we will address in our general report.
With regard to their studies in the Department, alumni pointed with satisfaction to the link
between theory and practice. Those who were doing advance studies (elsewhere) definitely felt
that they were up to the same level as graduate students from other universities. They valued the
emphasis on activism which, in the case of one of them, had put the student on the path to
become head of an NGO as an undergraduate and a high position today in the World Jewish
Congress. However, alumni were critical of the level of the BA studies, claiming that the courses
were too easy and that there should be required courses after the first year. We have addressed
these issues above.
On the whole, the committee was impressed by the diversity of students (particularly the BA
students) and alumni who almost unanimously expressed great enthusiasm for the Department’s
mission of combining academic studies and social activism. Though we have real concerns
about this mission and the Department’s weaknesses in its core discipline of political science (see
above), we do note that – judging from student and alumni comments in our meetings – there
does seem to be substantial satisfaction with their experience at the Department.
The committee feels that the research performance of the Department can be improved considerably.
As the mission statement points out, members of the faculty are to actively engage in
research and practical projects enabling them to contribute their expertise and to learn from the
world of political organizations, grass roots movements and daily democratic practices. Yet, an
examination of faculty publications raises concerns about the department’s research. Members of 12
the department have raised the equivalent of more than 700,000 USD in research grants since
December 2009 which is certainly impressive. Yet, the new publications mentioned in the
“update” to the evaluation report are less extraordinary. While many books were published by
good academic publishers, few books in the materials presented to the committee were published
by leading university presses and none of the articles mentioned were published by leading
political science journals. A junior faculty member whose research focuses on European issues
demonstrates an encouraging exception. In the original report, which covered a five-year period,
only a couple of articles of all faculty members combined were published in leading political
science journals. During the whole period examined approximately 30 articles were published by
faculty members in political science journals covered by Thomson ISI
The committee recommends, therefore, to strengthen the overall research performance of the
Department and to spell out more clearly individual performance criteria for tenure and promotion
criteria, in line with MALAG’s general criteria. One could also develop an incentive system
such as additional research funding in case of successful publications in major journals or with
leading university publishers, start-up grants to help faculty with the application process for
research grants, and the like. Acquisition of research grants should also be an explicit part of the
criteria for promotion and tenure.
3.6 Broader Organizational Structure
The Department of Politics and Government is one of some twenty departments formally located
in Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences under the general authority of the Dean of the
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, who in turn reports directly to the Rector.
Day-today management of the Department is the responsibility of the Chair, although much work is
apparently delegated to senior academic staff through a network of key committees. Overall, the
Department’s organizational structure seems to fun'ction reasonably well with a high degree of
We find little reason to question the overall adequacy of the physical and administrative
infrastructure available to the Department’s study program. The Department is located on the
sixth floor of the social sciences building, a relatively new structure on the University’s main
campus, with 17 rooms available for academic and administrative staff, each equipped with a
computer and internet access. Classroom space also appears to be adequate with all the
necessary equipment. The administrative staff, we were assured, is first rate.
One specific problem we noted was a lack of sufficient space for graduate students and adjunct
professors. Another was the computer lab, which is very small with only six computers. The
biggest challenge, however, is the library, which is woefully inadequate. One central library
serves the entire campus, with just a single floor dedicated to all of the social sciences. The
collection of books in political science is small and starved of funds, and access to electronic 13
journals is sadly incomplete. The committee strongly recommends that more resources be made
available to the library if the Department’s educational functi'on is to be served adequately.
3.8 Quality assessment
The Department appears to have a well developed set of internal procedures
for quality assessments, including regular reviews of the study program and teaching surveys.
We were particularly impressed by the new chair’s decision to institutionalize regular meetings
students to assess the quality of instruction on an ongoing basis. However, in light of the
changes to the number of faculty and study programs recommended in this report, the committee
suggests that the Department prepares an annual progress report with regard to the implementation
of these recommendations.14
Chapter 4: Recommendations
4.1 Congratulatory Remarks
In its mission statement, the Department of Politics and Government commits itself to combining
classic political science with an interdisciplinary approach, alongside a “solid commitment to
good citizenship and community activism.” Members of the faculty are to actively engage in
research and practical projects enabling them to contribute their expertise and to learn from the
world of political organizations, grass roots movements, and daily democratic practices. While
the committee has major concerns about the weaknesses in the Department’s core discipline of
political science, we agree that engagement in politics and society is a normal and appropriate
activity for those who teach and do research in politics and government, as long as this does not
overshadow academic work. The committee appreciates the efforts that the new chair and his
colleagues are making to come to terms with these issues and to improve the academic standards
of the program.
The committee was impressed by the collegiality of the faculty which appear to be a very close,
integrated group that benefits from their diverse disciplines. Particularly noted was the attention
and advice accorded to junior faculty in their research, and the value of the Departmental
Research Seminar. The committee also appreciates the diversity of students and alumni who
expressed enthusiasm for the Department’s mission of combining academic studies and social
Mission of the Department
With regard to the Department’s mission to combine academic excellence with social activism,
the committee recommends
• that the Department corrects its current weaknesses in its core discipline of political
science in terms of number of faculty, curriculum, and research;
• that the Department institutes major changes toward strengthening its disciplinary and
methodological core through both hiring more political science faculty and altering its
• that Ben Gurion University and the MALAG support these efforts, for example, by
allocating university resources and by monitoring the situation closely.
If these changes are nevertheless not implemented, the majority of the committee believes
that, as a last resort, Ben Gurion University should consider closing the Department of
Politics and Government.15
Study Programs and Students
With regard to the study programs and the students, the committee recommends
• that the curriculum be changed immediately with regard to adding more core political
science courses as required courses and to teaching the essentials of political science in
these cores courses;
• that the number of courses devoted to methodology – both quantitative and qualitative - be
raised dramatically in both the BA and the MA curricula;
• that the BA program be made more coherent after the first year;
• that a regular internship program be introduced into the curriculum and that this program
be supported with courses allowing students to make theoretical sense of their internship
• that serious and constant supervision by the faculty be exercised at all times to make sure
that the scholarly standards of internships and other activities are upheld and that the
assignments, grades and other components of the course-work and internships are in
accordance with academic standards to which the department aspires;
• that instructors see to it that their own opinions are expressed as personal views so that
students can take a critical perspective and that there is a broad exposure to perspectives
• that the Department makes an effort that the program is perceived as balanced by the
• that the Department cooperate more closely with the Department of Public Policy and that
it moves toward joint degree programs, once the political science component of the
department has been strengthened;
• that no PhD program be introduced and that the number of PhD students be greatly limited
at the moment.
Faculty and Research
With regard to the faculty and to research, the committee recommends
• that the Department be given permission to hire three to four more faculty in the core
discipline of political science, particularly in the areas of (quantitative) methodology and
• that the European studies program be sustained and built up as a unique selling point of
the Department and that the faculty involved be required to have a solid disciplinary basis
in political science;
• that common standards of scholarly achievements and excellence are emphasized in the
process of hiring and promotion;16
• that the number of adjuncts be reduced, commensurate with adding regular faculty, and
that the existing adjunct professors be given adequate office space;
• that an incentive system be developed to improve research performance, such as additional
research funding in case of successful publications in major journals or with leading
university publishers, start-up grants to help faculty with the application process for
research grants, and the like;
• that considerably more resources be made available to the library for the social sciences,
both with regard to the collection of books and electronic resources including journals.17
Minority Opinion by Prof. Galia Golan
I agree with most everything in the Report with the exception of the section of the report on the
Mission plus the two Recommendations emanating from this.
I do not see how, as stated in the Mission section of the Report, “the study of politics as a
scientific discipline may be impeded by such a strong emphasis on political activism.” I fail to
see the connection, which actually is repeated in the statement that the “strong emphasis on
community activism raises two questions.” I agree with the content of the first question listed,
namely, “are students receiving a sufficiently rigorous foundation in the discipline of politics and
government to equip them with a necessary grounding in the important ideas and understandings
common to the subject and the discipline?” but, again, I do not see this as connected with an
emphasis on community activism, but, rather, it is connected with the absence of sufficient core
Political Science courses. Further, as this section continues, there is also a reference to “balance
[of views]…in the classroom.” I am not certain who or how a “balance” might be determined,
but I believe that such a demand runs directly counter to the principle of academic freedom, a
basic principle of university education.
From this, it is clear that I cannot agree with the recommendations that refer to “broad exposure
to perspectives and alternatives” and “an effort that the program is perceived as balanced by the
Prof. Thomas Risse, Chair Prof. Gabriel Ben Dor
Prof. Benjamin Jerry Cohen Prof. Abraham Diskin
Prof. Ellen Immergut Prof. Robert Lieber19
Appendix 1: Copy of Letter of Appointment20
Appendix 2: Site Visit Schedule21