Professor talks of importance of political science

Robert Behrman is a professor in the political science department at Marshall University.

 He received his degree in political science from Indiana University. He has won the College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Teacher Award in 2004, but before landing a job at Marshall, he started teaching in Berea, Kentucky. 

Behrman applied to a multiple schools, but in 1988, he landed a job interview at Marshall and was hired onto the team. 

He said it seemed to be a good fit for what he was good at and what they wanted taught. Behrman then recollected how he decided to get into and teach political science. 

“I was always interested in politics from about the time I was seven,” Behrman said. “My grandmother had told me about sitting in her kitchen listening to the 1952 Republican Convention. When I went to college, I was going to major in history. I never heard of political science.”

Behrman said the school he went to had upperclassmen who were being assigned to the freshmen. He originally thought about going to law school, but the person assigned to him said that political science would be better than history for that. 

“When I started picking out classes, I picked American government classes as well as American history classes,” Behrman said. “It just worked a lot better and I just stuck with political science ever since then.” 

Being knowledgeable in political science, Behrman said he knows a lot about the inner workings of Congress and pays close attention to the politics that are displayed on the news. 

With the 2020 presidential election coming up, he offered insight on the issues he said he thinks both sides should focus on. 

“The issues that are important to me are climate change, trade and healthcare,” Behrman said. 

Behrman also said political science is a one of the main majors that a new student could take interest in.

“It is a good major for all sorts of different things,” he said. “It is a good pre-law major. People who think they are going to law school, political science is a good major. People who go into politics, political science is a good major for that. People who want to go into journalism, political science is a good major for that.” 

He also talked about how political science helps students with skills they may need in any field. 

“You develop your writing skills, your verbal communication skills, your critical thinking skills, your research skills,” Behrman said. “All of those are going to be useful in private businesses and public service.”

Jonathan Still can be contacted at [email protected]