Political Economy and Government, a truly exciting new major, brings together the disciplines of politics and economics to explore their mutually supportive dimensions. It provides students, as aspiring policy-makers, with the ability to understand the importance of institutions in shaping public policy as well as the sometimes agonizing trade-offs involved in responsible decision-making. Be it the nation’s debt crisis, health care reform, immigration policy, or proposed K-12 educational initiatives, the study of the intersection of government and economics is essential to any sensible and meaningful public policy. This study is also at the very heart of philosophical inquiry into the nature of man and society, for as Aristotle noted, “politics uses the rest of the sciences, and … the end of this science… must be the good for man.”
Dr. Seana Sugrue, who teaches a number of courses in the PEG major, is passionate about the study of institutions and the ways in which they interact to sustain or undermine one another. It is from this vantage point that she has published articles about the nature of marriage as a social institution, as well as the multifaceted relationship between Church and State. She recently delivered a paper at the University of Colorado at Boulder, through its St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center, arguing that the separation of church and state remains a matter of vital importance to public policy, and suggesting concrete guidelines for their interaction in conflicts involving sexual morality. As an advocate for limited government, she believes that the state is not well-suited to make people moral, and so it is necessary to uphold and preserve those more fragile institutions through which people learn to exercise their liberty responsibly, especially families and religions. So too, as Hegel understood, a robust economy cannot function absent political order. Yet government ought to be limited for the better preservation of human creativity and responsible liberty in the economic realm.
Dr. Sugrue’s other major professional passion is teaching. Her lectures are discussions in which she elicits a good deal of information from the students themselves, making them full participants in the classroom. She instills confidence in her students in their communication skills, which they acquire through years of practice at Ave Maria University, and she stresses the importance of mastering verbal presentation skills. Her lectures are dynamic; students typically report that they learn a great deal more than they thought they ever would and truly enjoy learning under her tutelage.