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David Earnest, Chair of the department of political scienceThose who serve the public must balance a community’s traditions with the innovations of a vibrant society. In the Department of Political Science, this is our goal: to prepare civic leaders who will face tomorrow’s challenges with an understanding of yesterday’s lessons. 

Our degree programs in political science, criminal justice, public administration and international studies teach our students to think creatively and collaborate effectively to solve the problems of our ever-changing world. We focus on “experiential learning”—grounding a student’s classroom learning with internships around the country, study abroad and other real-world opportunities for professional development and personal growth.

Thanks to the Farber Fund—an endowment in honor of W. O. “Doc” Farber, who founded the department—each year our students receive more than $100,000 in scholarships and awards to offset the expense of interning in Pierre or Washington, D.C., studying in Ireland or Russia, and many other unique opportunities.

Challenges, opportunities, support and realization of one’s potential are the goals of the Farber Funds. The continued generosity of our alumni—financial as well as with their time and mentorship of our students—allows every recipient of a Farber Fund award to seek opportunities that otherwise are unobtainable. This financial support allows the next generation of civic leaders to live boldly, think creatively and envision the future.

The department’s 5,000 alumni and community partners stretch across the country and world. To bring you back to campus—even if only in virtual form—you may now follow the department in our quarterly newsletters, social media, USD’s webpage and in our printed annual report. In each of these you will find student and alumni profiles; news of faculty achievements; and accounts of the many events the department hosts every semester.

As I sit at my desk in Dakota Hall, Doc’s statue perches outside the window just over my left shoulder, a daily reminder of the extraordinary leadership USD students have enjoyed over the years. Teacher-scholars such as Doc, Frederick Zuercher, Don Dahlin and Bill Richardson challenge me to build upon the department’s traditions and excellence. My goal is to honor this legacy even as we innovate in our teaching, curriculum and student experiences. With your continued support of the Farber Funds, together we provide an unparalleled education in public service. This collaborative spirit is what distinguishes the Department of Political Science.

David Earnest, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Political Science