Teaching American Politics Symposium: Background

Regeneration via Collaboration

Casey Dominguez (San Diego University) and Liz Norell (Chattanooga State Community College)

Political scientists who feel disheartened about the state of US politics today would have felt better if they had sat in on “Teaching Introduction to American Politics.” Our 3 day virtual symposium included more than a dozen dedicated scholar-educators diverse in rank, tenure-track status, institution type, and personal demographics. But the presenters had much in common.

All of the symposium’s participants were keenly aware of the challenges of teaching a class that imparts basic civic knowledge while also introducing students to the discipline of political science, and in many cases, meeting other curricular goals as well. But these professors confront those challenges without relying on passive course design.

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As you will see as you browse the materials developed for the symposium itself, all of the faculty who attended have developed creative, time-tested techniques to encourage students to actively engage with required material. The goals of these active, engaged syllabi and assignments are both that the knowledge students learn is more memorable and that the students come to see politics as something that requires their active participation. 

In response to current challenges, the symposium faculty had constructive and important conversations about how this introductory class can and should impart not only civic knowledge but also civic skills, including media and information literacy, tolerance of opposing views, and practices of democratic participation. The Zoom room in which we held the symposium was bursting with innovative ideas to engage introductory students with standard facts, and perusing the participants’ contributions is well worth your time. It was an honor for us to organize this symposium and hope that such programs continue.

Meet the Symposium Cohort


Meet the Teaching American Politics co-facilitators and participants. Each scholar's image, name and title is a hyperlink to their professional or university webpage.

Casey Dominguez


Professor Political Science and International Relations, University of San Diego

Liz Norell


Associate ProfessorChattanooga State Community College

Claire Abernathy

Associate Professor Political Science, Stockton University

Lanethea Mathews

Professor Political Science, Muhlenberg College

Brian Harrison

Visiting Assistant Professor Political Science, Carlton College


Zachary Baumann

Assistant Professor Political Science, Nebraska Wesleyan University

Muhammad Hassan Bin Afzal

PhD candidate Kent State University

Anne Gillman

Professor Political Science, American River College


Shannon McQueen

Assistant Professor Political Science, West Chester University

Brian Alexander

Assistant Professor

Terry Gilmour

Professor Political Science, Midland College

Rita Boyajiah Groh

Lecturer Political Science and Public Service, University of Tennessee Chattanooga

Andrew Bloeser

Associate Professor Political Science, Allegheny College

Nicholas Kapoor

Instructor Math and Political Science, Fairfield University

Katie Zuber

Assistant Director Policy and Research, The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, State University of New York, Albany

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