PS Newsletter Vol. 6, No. 1 Fall 1999

Mary Harris Steps Down as MPA Secretary

Mary Harris, the longtime secretary to the department and the MPA program, has stepped down as a result of health problems. Mary worked as graduate secretary to the department for some six years and was the person who handled the day-to-day operations of the MPA program. She was responsible for processing applications, handling graduate registrations, making sure that graduate assistants were paid, and many other tasks. For many MPA students, Mary was the first friendly voice heard when a telephone call was made to the MPA program. By providing information about the program to prospective students, Mary served as the MPA


program's original ambassador of good will. Her charm and friendly manner recruited a number of students to the program and her knowledge of graduate school policies and procedures is unequaled (as the MPA director, who is having to figure these out, is now learning). Mary has been ordered by her doctor to stay off her feet as much as possible. She is at home and doing well. If you have some time, give her a call. Until a permanent successor can be found for Mary (nobody can replace her!), the MPA office is being staffed by a variety of student helpers and by Cynthia Smith, the political science departmental secretary.

Notes from Undergraduate Programs

The department currently has about 80 majors, and is advising another 100 intended majors. Our honors program is thriving; in 1998-1999, honors theses were successfully defended by Andrea Scurry, on "International Law of Outer Space," by Marie Ajouc, on "Genocide," and by Steve Modlin, on "Social Security Reform." Another student is currently working on "Immigration Policy." We hope to have a large number of new inductees into the Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society this spring, which will help as we prepare for the graduation of many of our fine students. In addition, six students have had internships since the spring; three in Washington, D.C., one with a local political party office, one with the N.C. General Assembly in Raleigh, and one with a judicial agency in Virginia.

Our new BS program went into effect this fall. Previously, the program had required 42 hours of strictly

  mandated social science courses, as well as additional writing, grammar, statistics, and computer classes. Dr. Simon led an assessment of the value of the curriculum and a survey of student and employer needs last year, and the result of his work was the new curriculum. While writing, statistics, and computers were viewed more than ever as essential skills, the department decided that the grammar course was not serving its purpose and dropped it. We recognize the value of a broad background in the social sciences, but our students were finding that they needed a deeper and more thorough grounding in political science. We now have 48 hours of political science courses, distributed between American Government and Politics, Public Administration and Public Policy, Political Theory/Methods and Skills, and Comparative Government and International Politics. We believe that this new curriculum will meet the needs of our students more effectively.

For more information, please contact 
Dr. Nancy Spalding, Undergraduate Program Coordinator at
252-328-4380 or

Political Science Department
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858
Contact: Rick Kearney