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.
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.
ProfessorPolitical Science and International Relations, University of San Diego
Associate ProfessorChattanooga State Community College
Assistant ProfessorPolitical Science, Nebraska Wesleyan University