Global Studies

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Brian Bernhardt headshot
Assistant Professor of Politics and Government
B.A., James Madison University, M.A., University Colorado at Boulder , Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder
Phone: 970.943.3025
Office Location: Kelley 205
Maria Boikova Struble headshot
Professor of Politics & Government
B.A., Louisiana State University, M.A., Arizona State University, Ph.D., Lancaster University
Phone: 970.943.3024
Office Location: Kelley Hall 204

Courses

FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

 ECON 201 - Macroeconomics (3 credits)

An introduction to the methods, models, and approaches used by economists to analyze and interpret events and policies related to the overall operation of the economy. The course endeavors to make sense of unemployment, inflation, recessions, debt and deficits, economic growth, the expanding role of the Federal Reserve, and policies to provide stability to the economy. Additional attention is given to the making of economic policy in an era of globalization. Finally, students are exposed to multiple schools of thought regarding macroeconomic reasoning. Prerequisite: ACT math score of 19 or above; SAT math score of 500 or above; pass MATH 099; or Accuplacer Elementary Algebra test score of 85 or higher, or university-level math requirement with a minimum grade of C-. Prerequisite or corequisite: ENG 102.

 ECON 202 - Microeconomics (3 credits)

The theory of microeconomics makes use of the tools of marginal cost-benefit analysis to provide a framework for the economic analysis of decision-making. The focus is on the choices of individual firms and consumers, and the resultant outcomes in individual markets. The social implications of the functioning of competitive markets are examined, as well as the causes of market failure and the potential roles of government in correcting them. Prerequisite: ACT math score of 19 or above; SAT math score of 500 or above; pass MATH 099; or Accuplacer Elementary Algebra test score of 85 or higher, or college-level math requirement with a minimum grade of "C-."

 ECON 303 - International Economics and Globalization (3 credits)

An exploration of economic, political, and social effects of globalization. This is examined from the perspectives of trade, development, finance, and the environment. The first half of the course focuses on the impacts of international trade. This includes preferential trading relations, protectionism, global trade agreements, competitiveness, and possible conflicts between trade and social objectives. The second half of the course focuses on international monetary relations and regimes. This includes understanding the balance of payments, exchange rate determination, currency crises, and international debt. Prerequisites: MATH 140, MATH 141, or MATH 151with a minimum grade of ÒC-Ó; ECON 201; ECON 202 recommended.

 GEOG 110 - World Regional Geography (3 credits)

A survey of the major regions of the contemporary world-defined according to acombination of biophysical, cartographic, cultural, religious, linguistic, political, andeconomic criteria. Emphasis is given to understanding regional characteristics andprocesses, and to relationships between events and processes occurring in differentregions. Current events of major importance are incorporated where appropriate.

 GEOG 120 - Introduction of Human Geography (3 credits)

A thematic study of cultural landscapes and the processes by which people create and modify them. Topics of discussion range from ancient to modern, rural to urban, local to international, and include themes as diverse as the origins and spread of agriculture, migration and immigration, urban morphologies and social interactions, ethnicity, development and underdevelopment, and environmental concerns.

 GEOG 351 - Geography of Latin America and the Caribbean (3 credits)

A thematic study of the physiographic and cultural regions of Latin America and themajor historical and contemporary geographic processes that characterize the region. Major topics of discussion include climate and physiography, environmental concerns and human rights, the nature of Latin American cities, pre-Hispanic and modern agriculture, and the nature of contemporary economic processes in the region. Prerequisite: GEOG 120 or sophomore standing.

 HIST 250 - History of the Middle East (3 credits)

Students are introduced to some of the major historical events and patterns of the region which are then related to the politics of the modern Middle East (mainly the 20th and 21st centuries). Specific topics include the rise and nature of Islam, the achievements of Medieval Islamic civilization, the significance of the Ottoman Empire, rivalries with the West, the establishment of Israel and the nature of the Modern Middle East crisis.

 HIST 254 - History of Africa (3 credits)

A survey of sub-Saharan African history from earliest times to the present, with particular emphasis on social, cultural, economic, and political responses to imperialist or other outside influences.

 HIST 260 - History of Latin America (3 credits)

A survey of the major events and themes of Latin American History from pre-Columbian times through the modern era with special emphasis on the interaction of New and Old World cultures and the impact of colonization and the construction of national identity after independence into the modern era. GT-HI1

 POLS 117 - Introduction to Political Ideas (3 credits)

An introduction to political analysis through a study of important political concepts and theories, as well as their historical development. Students study the ideas and practices of the public and philosophical development of concepts such as citizenship, democracy, equality, justice, liberty, or power.

 POLS 180 - Introduction to American Politics (3 credits)

Introduces institutions and processes of American politics, including themes such as constitutionalism, representation, participation, political development, political economy, civil liberties and rights, public policy, and the ideas and values of American democracy.

 POLS 250 - Politics of the Environment (3 credits)

A survey of key issues of national and international environmental politics, the course introduces students to the historical foundations and ongoing debates concerning the environment. A specific political lens informs our discussions while students analyze theoretical, cultural and political domains of various political systems and the ways in which they have gained importance on the international scene. Some of the main issues discussed in class involve a survey of international environmental treaties, government responses to environmental disasters and crises, environmental justice movements, environmental causes of war and displacement, democratic participation as a tool for environmental change, indigenous modalities of treating the environment, and the politics of environmental agreements and developments in the United States. Students learn to examine the connections between the environment and politics in a critical, engaged and broadly-informed way. Prerequisite: POLS 117 recommended.

 POLS 255 - Introduction Comparative Politics (3 credits)

An introduction to the challenges and problems encountered in the study of comparative politics. Students examine various issues of local and national governance through a comparative lens. By looking at similar political phenomena in several contexts, students explore the question of why some countries have successfully developed their political, economic and social systems while others are lagging behind. Some of the issues examined in the class deal with womenÕs rights, poverty, underdevelopment, the environment, and democracy. Prerequiste: ENG 102 with a grade of C- or above.

 POLS 260 - Introduction to World Politics (3 credits)

An introduction to some of the more important concepts and approaches to understanding world politics. Students examine the politics between different countries and seek to answer questions about the promise and peril of the global future. Quest- ions contemplated include: What are the sources of political conflict and how can they be minimized? Under what conditions will nation states cooperate with each other to accomplish common goals? Should tyranny and human rights violations justify humanitarian intervention? Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a grade of C- or above.

 POLS 309 - Political Theory I- Ancient to Early Modern (3 credits)

A survey of the historical development of western political theories from their origins in ancient Greece to the development of early modern political theories such as liberalism and republicanism. Students study thinkers such as Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, William Shakespeare, Niccolo Machiavelli, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Prerequisite: POLS 117 recommended.

 POLS 310 - Political Theory II- Late Modern and Contemporary (3 credits)

A survey of the historical development of modern and contemporary political theories since the French Revolution. Issues investigated might include the rise of liberal democracy and its critics, the impact of the industrial revolution on modern politics, and how technological change and environmental limitations have affected contemporary political thought. Students study thinkers such as Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hannah Arendt, and Michel Foucault.POLS 117 recommended

 POLS 340 - Politics of Social Movements (3 credits)

A study of social movements, past and present, in both domestic and international contexts. Students examine theories on why social movements develop, spread, and decline, while considering the factors that lead to their successes and failures. Through an examination of transnational movements, students consider the roles of social networks and participatory democracy in a globalized world. Prerequisite: ENG 102.

 POLS 350 - Human Rights (3 credits)

An engagement with the history and current developments in international human rights practices, offering a justification and critique of universal human rights through the lens of various schools of thought, discussing pre and post-WWII developments with attention to specific cases, and examining the relationship between culture, globalization and human rights violations in the 21st century. Prerequisite: ENG 102.

 POLS 355 - Politics of Development (3 credits)

A historical and case-specific examination of development and underdevelopment debates waged about, against and by countries in the Global South, examining assumptions about poverty, sustainability, liberal democratic regimes and free-market economy. The class engages students in a critical examination of what our assumptions about development are and how we can work toward broadening and refining them with the end goal of greater equity, political agency, and empowerment for populations within and outside the Global South. Particular focus on political regimes, their role in promoting development, and the scope of their relationship to economic, cultural, and social processes informs class objectives. Specific topics include malnutrition, food security, rights of indigenous populations, international aid and donors, disease, democratization processes, human rights, and the environment. Prerequisites: POLS 255 and/or POLS 260 recommended.

 POLS 360 - American Foreign Policy (3 credits)

Not since the Roman Empire has any nation had as much economic, cultural and military power as the United States does today. Yet, as has become all too evident through the problems of terrorism, environmental degradation and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, that power is not enough to solve many global issues. This course examines the way in which U.S. foreign policy is made and the variety of ongoing and emerging foreign policy problems the U.S. faces in the context of their evolution. Prerequisites: POLS 255 and/or POLS 260 recommended.

 POLS 370 - Political Economy (3 credits)

A study of economic systems that focuses on the structure and uses of economic power and the relationship between economic and political power. Students think about questions such as: What is capitalism? What varieties of capitalism exist around the world? How has capitalism changed over time? Ultimately, students consider the relationship between capitalism, freedom, and democracy. Prerequisite: ENG 102.

 POLS 380 - The United Nations (3 credits)

A study of the United Nations, focusing on the relationship between the UN, the proliferation of human rights regimes and international human development. Students think about the importance of creating international norms, working toward a sustainable world peace, political efficacy, and human rights in the world. A Model UN simulation is part of the course requirements. Prerequisite: ENG 102.

 POLS 485 - Studies in Political Theory: (3 credits)

Senior seminar in political theory with varying topics. This course meets the Capstone requirement. Prerequisite: senior standing or instructor permission.

 POLS 487 - Studies in International Relations: (3 credits)

Senior seminar in International Relations with varying topics. This course meets theCapstone requirement. Prerequisite: senior standing or instructor permission.

 POLS 499 - Internship in Politics and Government (1 to 12 credits)

Credit earned in an internship may be applied to the Major or Minor with advisorapproval.

Want to study international human rights and social movements on the Western slope?  Join the new emphasis in Global Studies, the only one of its kind on Colorado’s Western slope, explore the world beyond our borders, help find solutions to global problems and become inspired to make a difference in the world. 

Global Studies emphasis in Politics and Government: why have one?

The Politics and Government program at Western Colorado University offers its students an opportunity to take a variety of courses in Constitutional Law, Environmental Politics, State and Local Government, advanced theory courses and various special topics courses in International and Comparative Politics.  The Politics and Government program also sponsors two student organizations, the Politics Club and the NMUN club that draw upon student talent and help showcase the program outside Kelley Hall and all the way to New York.

The program has an important normative/theoretical focus and has always aimed at challenging students how to think and write critically. This, to date, continues to be one of its main strengths as well.

Beyond the Classroom:

Don’t forget about getting involved with the Model UN club on campus, only one of three Model UN University teams in Colorado.  Become a student in the fastest growing emphasis nationwide within Political Science Departments and get to know the world, its people and problems as a Western student. 

What will you learn:   

The program is an interdisciplinary course of study focusing on the study of foreign policy, human rights, social movements, political economy, world politics, international organizations and theory within the Politics and Government program; regional studies within the History and Geography programs and international development courses in the Economics program. 

After Graduation:

Graduating as a Politics and Government major with a comprehensive emphasis in Global Studies will not only have prepared you for careers with international non-profit, various non-governmental organizations, the US government and law school, but will also have provided you with an opportunity to learn about the world from an interdisciplinary perspective, combining Politics and Government courses with courses in Geography, Economics and History.  Some possible career paths for majors include:

  • Peace Corp volunteer
  • Teacher
  • NGO work
  • US government work
  • International human rights law
  • Diplomacy
  • National Security
  • State and regional organizations