School of Government and International Affairs Established at Kennesaw State

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Friday, January 12th, 2018

Kennesaw State University has elevated its former Department of Political Science and International Affairs to become the School of Government and International Affairs, increasing emphasis on experiential learning, government service, public policy and research.

The new school, which is housed in the University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, encompasses existing undergraduate and graduate programs in political science and international affairs. It will also include the A. L. Burruss Institute for Public Service and Research, which has provided survey research, program evaluation and other services for state and local governments, nonprofits and public-sector organizations for more than 25 years.

“The formation of this new school opens up a world of opportunity for our students, faculty and the greater community,” said Robin Dorff, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “As the third school created within our college in two years, it represents a trend towards expanding some of our most successful programs in order to facilitate growth, and foster a supportive environment for teaching and learning, research, faculty development and collaboration.”

Interest in political science and international affairs has been rising at Kennesaw State, with the number of majors in the two disciplines increasing about 10 percent over the last two years. As of spring 2018, 480 undergraduate students are majoring in political science and 326 in international affairs. In addition to these majors, the school houses two graduate programs: a nationally accredited Master of Public Administration, which with 85 students enrolled is one of the largest graduate programs at Kennesaw State; and an online master’s degree in International Policy Management, with a current cohort of 24 students.

“One of the keys to our growth has been our program’s continued emphasis on experiential learning and skill development through internships,” said Kerwin Swint, professor of political science and director of the School of Government and International Affairs. He cited a successful new program that placed KSU students in semester-long internships in government positions in Washington, D.C., and another “very strong” internship program at the Georgia State Capitol, where 20 students interned in 2017.

Internships have factored significantly in the success of graduates from Kennesaw State’s political science and international affairs majors. Notable alumni include Nels Peterson, a justice on the Georgia Supreme Court; Nick Ayers, chief of staff to the vice president of the United States; and Derrick Dickey, chief of staff to U.S. Senator David Perdue. KSU alumni are well represented in the fields of law, public policy, public affairs advocacy, lobbying, public administration, and international organizations.

“The transition from department to school is a significant development,” Swint said. “It signals a broader focus on government and public policy issues impacting the state and region. And together with partners and affiliates like the Political Science Advisory Board and the Burruss Institute, the school designation provides a larger platform to conduct research, influence policy and enhance opportunities for our students.”