Overview of "Great Minds Academy"
The Department of Political Science at Brigham Young University has 11 affiliated organizations that supplement its academic program: Mentored Research Abroad (MRA); the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy (CSED); Political and Economic Development Labs (PEDL); Gender and Civic Engagement (GCE); the WomanStats Project; the Utah Colleges Exit Poll, the Washington Seminar; the Utah State Legislature; the BYU Tocqueville Group; and the Pi Sigma Alpha national honor society.
Each organization or professional group contributes significantly to the world through research, activities, programs and academic presentations. They also provide ways for students still in their undergraduate program to get hands-on, substantive experience that can have an impact on the world. Get involved by contacting representatives of the Political Science Department in 745 KMBL or by submitting questions online at the respective websites.
The use of the term name “Academy” or “Great Minds Academy” refers back to the Academy founded by Plato in ca. 387 BA in Athens, Greece. Aristotle studied there for twenty years (367-347 BC) before founding his own school, the Lyceum. The Akademia was a school outside the city walls of ancient Athens. It was located in or beside a grove of olive trees dedicated to the goddess Athena.
The site of the Academy was sacred to Athena; it had sheltered her religious cult since the Bronze Age. In at least Plato's time, the school did not have any particular doctrine to teach; rather, Plato (and probably other associates of his) posed problems to be studied and solved by the others. There is evidence of lectures given, most notably Plato's lecture "On the Good"; but probably the use of dialectic was more common. Similarly, the group of affiliated programs here in the BYU Political Science Department do not have a unified structure, but frequently help students see important work in the real world, and pose important questions related to problems of the day.