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Home > Government and Journalism Majors Expand

Government and Journalism Majors Expand

July 31st, 2007


CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 338-8727


Picture of Dr. Les Sillars
Leslie Sillars, Ph.D.
Chairman of the Department of Government

Changes are coming to both the Government and Journalism majors at Patrick Henry College, as new courses will be offered in the fall, along with more flexible course tracks. The 2007-2008 Academic Catalog will reflect these changes: a total of five government tracks (American Politics & Policy, International Politics & Policy, Political Theory, Strategic Intelligence, and General) and two journalism tracks (Political Journalism and Liberal Arts Journalism).

Government majors will still take 24 hours of internship and Directed Research and Writing (DRW), although the latter will now be much more structured, with clear standards for awarding credit. Students can also earn academic credit for their participation on the moot court or debate teams.

“All of these DRW options are improved because they now provide more student accountability and faculty guidance,” says Dr. Stephen King, Associate Professor of Government. “At the same time, they give the students applied research opportunities outside the classroom environment.”

Dr. Les Sillars, Chairman of the Government Department, is similarly optimistic concerning the new split of the Journalism major into Political and Liberal Arts tracks.

“We designed the major originally to include twelve credits of Government courses in addition to the core because journalists need a working knowledge of government. This approach has served our students well, and they are well-prepared for the demands of the newsroom,” Sillars says.

He feels, however, that some journalism students will gain from a greater liberal arts focus:

“The additional exposure to great ideas and books gives aspiring journalists an intellectual depth that will be very helpful as they try to make sense of the world and communicate that to their audiences.”

Sillars believes that about half of his students pursuing a journalism major will eventually graduate from the Liberal Arts track.