Chair's Message

Welcome to the website of the Department of Political and Social Sciences.  We hope that you will explore these pages to learn about our academic programs and opportunities inside and outside the classroom, whether you are a prospective student or an alumnus reconnecting with us.  As you will see from our website, we continue to highlight the connections between what is learned in the classroom and how to apply that knowledge in our globalized world.

Our Department’s mission is “inspiring scholarship, citizenship, advocacy, and productive careers,” and we live up to that with our offerings for students as well as through our alumni.  Our graduates live and work as engaged citizens in Greenwood County, around the South, and throughout the world.

We provide a challenging array of classes that prepare students for many career options after graduation.  Our courses foster the breadth of a liberal arts education and build students’ skills in communication, critical thinking, and analysis.  Faculty members inspire scholarship through course assignments, but also build students’ research and presentation skills through opportunities for students to present their research in on-campus venues or at state and regional-level conferences.

These classroom experiences—many of which include active learning environments of debates, simulations, team exercises, and presentations—are complemented with robust internship programs as well as student organizations that further our goals of applied learning.  For example, our Sociology Club works with local non-profit organizations and helps to count the local homeless population.  Our Political Science Association sponsors mock debates and coordinates an annual voter registration drive.  Even though our S.C. Student Legislature chapter is new, it already boasts members who have been elected to state-level offices when our students gather for mock legislative sessions.  These learning experiences help to show connections to citizenship and advocacy.

The Department is also connected to Lander’s Study Abroad Program and its Honors College.  Our students are encouraged to study abroad for a semester, or may travel with one of our faculty members on a summer study tour.  Students may also to take advantage of opportunities to study in Washington, D.C. for a semester.  These experiences in the nation’s capital have given our students the chance to work directly with the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, U.S. Senators, and importance voices off Capitol Hill.  These internships—whether in South Carolina, Washington, D.C., or elsewhere, help lead to productive careers.

Our alumni have succeeded in graduate school programs in public administration or social work as well as law schools at universities close by (Clemson, Georgia, and South Carolina), or further away (Minnesota, Penn State, and others).  Alumni also join the U.S. military or the Peace Corps and serve throughout the world or find work with departments within local, state, or national government; law enforcement agencies; non-profit organizations and NGOs; or a variety of companies and firms. 

Whether our graduates choose to stay in South Carolina or venture far beyond its borders, we know that they take with them lifelong friendships with fellow students, a solid educational background, and close relationships with faculty members.

Our faculty are committed teachers, but we also seek to serve as mentors in helping students discern their goals.  We support Lander’s commitments to experiential education and are pleased that our faculty members are leaders in local volunteer and community organizations.  Beyond our campus, faculty members head state-wide professional associations and are respected scholars who continue to present research and publish books, articles, and essays.  Thus, faculty members seek to lead by example with their own scholarship and citizenship.

In many ways, our Department offers a bridge between the local and the global through its course offerings, internship opportunities, and pathways to careers. 

If you are a prospective student, we hope that you will check out what our Department and Lander has to offer.  If you are an alumnus, we hope that you will let us know what you are doing to make us proud.  Either way, we hope to hear from you.

Samuel Lucas McMillan S. Lucas McMillan (Chair)
Associate Professor of Political Science

Office: LC M63
Phone: (864) 388-8275
Email: smcmillan@lander.edu