Washingtonians now have the option of pursuing a master’s degree from Hillsdale College.
The college officially announced the opening of the Steve and Amy Van Andel Graduate School of Government in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 17. The graduate program can be completed within three years, according to a press release. The graduate school is geared toward working professionals.
Matthew Spalding, vice president of Washington operations and dean of the Van Andel Graduate School of Government, said no graduate program in D.C. offers quite what Hillsdale will.
“Most graduate programs in D.C. are really designed to teach you how to accommodate to the status quo,” he said. “What’s different about our program is we want to teach them how to think about politics, so they can then actively participate in current politics. That’s a very different thing. We’re not going to teach Health Care Policy 101. We’re going to teach about political thought, American politics, and statecraft.”
The first formal class will begin courses in January 2020, but the school is offering lectures and courses for a select group this fall, according to the press release.
Spalding said the new graduate school has been in the works for a number of years.
“On the one hand, the idea for this graduate school, as Dr. Arnn has pointed out, arises from an idea of George Washington’s about having a graduate school that can teach and prepare those who will govern the nation,” Spaulding said. “In more specific terms, this has really been a vision Dr. Arnn has had for a long time.”
According to the Hillsdale in D.C. website, students in the new program will be required to take a number of specific classes on topics such as classical political thought, the American founding, and modern American government.
The website also says students will get an education in the first principles of politics.
“Consistent with Hillsdale’s mission and established liberal arts curriculum, the graduate school offers a Master of Arts in Government focused on how to consider and practice those liberal arts that are required for truly just and excellent government,” the website says.
Adam Carrington, assistant professor of politics, said he sees it as a good and natural extension of Hillsdale’s presence in D.C.
“This will be good for people already in D.C. who want to know how to think about politics,” Carrington said. “That’s a possible gap this program could fill.”
Carrington said there’s a place for this kind of education in D.C.
“Practically, a lot of people need a master’s,” he said. “Why not make it an education that’s intrinsically good?”
Spalding said the new program will do what Hillsdale does best: teaching students about important things and how to think about statesmanship.
“It really kind of grows out of the idea that we should provide sound learning in order to preserve the blessings of civil and religious liberty,” he said. “I think it is a very natural thing and it logically follows that we should be teaching those ideas in Washington, D.C., in addition to what else we’re doing.”