Rude Politics and College Student Engagement

Project Contact:  Elizabeth Bennion, ebennion@iusb.edu

Project Team
J. Cherie Strachan, Central Michigan University
Elizabeth Bennion, Indiana University South Bend
Monica Schneider, Miami University
Angela L. Bos, The College of Wooster
 
College students’ disinterest in traditional political participation may result from increasing levels of political incivility in contemporary politics. This project relies on a multi-campus on-line experimental design to assess student reactions to rude political behavior. Students on participating campuses will be randomly assigned to review videos of civil or uncivil political behavior prior to taking an on-line post-test questionnaire. Insights gained from their responses will be used to recommend curricular intervention intended to re-engage young people in politics. Findings from this project may also help CISR members to persuade college administrators that additional efforts to promote civic and political engagement, and to fulfill higher education’s civic mission, must be undertaken in order to counteract the effect of incivility in the broader political environment.



Increasing Voter Registration through the Student Enrollment Process

Project Contact:  Elizabeth Bennion, ebennion@iusb.edu

Project Team
Elizabeth Bennion, Indiana University South Bend
John Holbein, Brigham Young University
Tali Mendelberg, Princeton University
David Nickerson, Temple University

Colleges and universities are charged with increasing students’ voter registration and turnout rates, but are offered little guidance about how to best achieve these goals from political scientists. Thirty-five states and Washington, DC have an electronic voter registration process.  Colleges and universities should explore whether a similar approach on campus makes voter registration easier for students.  This project relies on a randomized control study to explore the effectiveness of including voter registration forms in our institutions’ online matriculation/student enrollment websites. Findings from this project will allow CISR members to help identify and promote best practices for increasing voter registration and turnout rates on our campuses.



The Civic Education & Engagement Impact of Collegiate American Government Courses

Project Contact: Mike Rogers, Mrogers6@atu.edu

Project Team
Mike Rogers, Arkansas Tech University
Don Gooch, Stephen F. Austin University

American Government is taken by a wide array of students, as it is typically an option among college and university general education requirements.  Yet, professors teach this class in a variety of different ways.   Hence this research will assess not only the general impact of American government courses on student civic literacy and engagement, but also the effect of pedagogy and instruction choices (i.e., if the course is lecture-based, a flipped classroom, has service-learning components, etc.)  Data will be collected via a pre-test/post-test assessment, as well as a brief instructor questionnaire. Findings will increase insight into the effects of formal instruction on civic knowledge and engagement.  In addition, this research should demonstrate the contributions of political science instruction to civic training for citizens, and suggest pedagogical ways to improve these efforts.