Starting this semester, top students in the Department of Politics again will have the opportunity to join the Pi Sigma Alpha honor society. Membership in Pi Sigma Alpha is an acknowledgment of outstanding academic performance in the department within the Foreign Affairs and Government majors, and at the University more generally. The honor society connects students to a network of serious scholars in the field as well as political science alumni.
Professor James Todd, a member at UVA during the early 80s says "Pi Sigma Alpha, which was founded 98 years ago, is a national honorary for students who excel in political science courses. In addition to recognizing their academic achievements, it provides them with opportunities to interact with faculty outside the classroom."
Without a sponsor, the department's involvement with the society fell by the wayside during the 90s. Until now. Professor Allen Lynch is stepping up to provide direction and management. Professor Lynch says "the national network of scholars and alumni can be useful to students and give them access to APSA events and publishing opportunities. The benefits continue after graduation throughout their lives."
In addition to Pi Sigma Alpha, the department has advanced opportunities for scholarship through its Distinguished Majors Program, currently helmed by Professor Pete Furia, the Honors Program by Professor Sid Milkis, Political Philosophy, Policy and Law, by Professor Colin Bird, and the Political and Social Thought program, by Professor Michael J. Smith.
The department will hold its (re)inaugural ceremony at the end of April or early May.