Professors from the Government and International Relations (GIR) Department at the Faculty of Law and Political Science (FLPS), Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU), finalized full departmental membership in the American Political Science Association (APSA) during a visit to the United States capital in April 2018. Building on the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) institutional accreditation process, the GIR applied for membership in this professional organization in fall 2017. During their stay in America, the details of the APSA support for NDU students and faculty were discussed and annual membership renewed for 2018-2019.
Departmental membership in the APSA has already provided GIR with a network of working groups and research teams, along with collegial support services promoting innovative teaching methods. The GIR is networking primarily, but not exclusively, with Catholic universities in the United States, in order to further develop its dedication to the University mission statement. Topics of current collaboration with American universities include migration and refugee studies, human rights, gender studies, political communication, media law, multiculturalism, and South-South international relations. The APSA also promotes a code of professional ethics, encouraging high standards of integrity in both education and research as well as in providing GIR alumni with guidelines for their careers upon graduation.
Potential projects between the APSA head office and GIR will include international and regional projects. Upcoming APSA training seminars offered to NDU professors will focus on applied research methods, use of digital and open source technologies, and global academic ethical standards. A variety of seminars and workshops specifically tailored to the needs of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region were also discussed. The GIR was encouraged to partner with colleagues and departments in the United States and the MENA.
GIR’s links to ASPA go back many years. In the past, the GIR-based student APSA Society (ApsaS) worked on subjects, ranging from the introduction of Creative Commons in FLPS, the advancement of OER, work on the Caux Round Table, collaboration with Philip Zimbardo’s “Heroic Imagination Project,” studying the Arab Spring, and research on consociationalism and pillarization using an international comparative approach. During the April visit, APSA board members encouraged the GIR team to reestablish a student society at NDU with direct organizational support from the Washington office.
Moving forward, GIR will be linking its departmental membership in APSA with the University’s overall institutional accreditation process through NEASC. Based on the American model, university, school (Faculty), departmental, and program accreditation, certification, and the promotion of professional standards are seen as being interlinked.