This post was updated on July 4 at 11:10 p.m.
UCLA’s political science department is hiring two new faculty members amid student demands for increased course and course topic availability.
Incoming professors Tejas Parasher and Luwei Ying will join the political science faculty for the upcoming 2022-2023 academic year, UCLA spokeswoman Katherine Alvarado said in an emailed statement. Parasher is a political theorist who taught at Cambridge University. Ying earned a doctorate in political science from Washington University in St. Louis in 2022.
The announcement came more than a month after the last public meeting was held by the Political Science Undergraduate Council, which serves as the official liaison between students and the department, on May 19 to discuss the concerns of students in the department. When classes fill up so quickly, it makes the major very competitive and negatively impacts students, said Martin Makaryan, a fourth-year political science transfer student and board member.
Beleh Toma, a board member and first-year communication and political science student, said he thought the main concern was the lack of courses available. It can be difficult for political science students to enroll in the courses they need to graduate due to limited places, he added.
Political science is a popular major at UCLA, and the school doesn’t have enough faculty and courses available, Toma said.
Many students are particularly concerned about the lack of courses on race, ethnicity and politics, Makaryan said. There will be fewer courses offered in this concentration as some faculty leave UCLA to take seats at other institutions amid high demand for political science professors across the country, Toma added.
“It’s (race, ethnicity, and politics) a growing field of study in America, and the department really can’t keep up,” said fourth-year political science student Darnel Grant. and board member.
Students are also hoping for more statistics courses, Makaryan said. Although there are many courses in concentrations such as International Relations and American Politics, Methods and Models—a newer concentration—lacks available courses.
Other students have expressed their desire to take more courses focusing on national security and cybersecurity, Makaryan added. Courses in these areas would benefit students who want to join the FBI or work for other US government agencies, Grant said.
“There just aren’t enough courses to meet the demands,” Toma said. “And that’s really hurting our department as a whole.”
The department is experiencing a severe faculty shortage due to numerous recent retirements, Alvarado added in the emailed statement.
To address student concerns, the department is hiring new faculty and trying to expand course diversity.
In addition to hiring two new faculty members this year, the department plans to employ three or four new faculty members to start in 2023 and three or four more to start in 2024, Alvarado added in the statement sent by email.
The department is also adding about 1,400 seats in political science courses next year, increasing course availability by about 15%, Toma said. They will also be offering a course on new methods and models this fall, Grant said.
“The number one issue is ensuring that every political science student has the opportunity to enroll in the courses they need to meet their requirements,” Makaryan said.