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Serving the Greater Good: Delivering General Education Outcomes in a Small Liberal Arts College
Unformatted Document Text:  while the course is not intended to demonstrate in student work all of these outcomes, the course design reflects attention to multiple General Education concerns. It appears that fully 80% of students are meeting or exceeding all course outcomes. The remaining 20% may only partially demonstrate the appropriate outcomes. The Morningside model of service learning emphasizes the learning component. More recently, the instructor has emphasized more projects and opportunities in the community to enhance likelihood of student civic engagement with underrepresented communities, especially children. More than 50% of students in the Sioux City Community Schools receive free or reduced lunch. After school programs, Big Brother, Big Sisters, and Head Start are several of the many organizations through which students interact with members of the broader Siouxland community. As one can imagine, these opportunities afford students opportunities to actually hear and experience diverse minority perspectives on contemporary social and political challenges in the community. This service learning reinforces the American Experience emphasis on diversity in American society. Experiential learning here provides context and concrete application for many of the class resources. The Political Experience Logs intentionally require students to identify specific linkages between service experiences and readings, arguments, evidence taken from class materials. 15 These connections provide a structure through which students can analyze their particular experiences through the various conceptual lenses and with reference to the political institutions discussed in the classroom. The faculty resources of the Morningside Political Science program do not provide for substantial introductory course work in American political institutions beyond POLS 147. Majors move directly from this course to upper-division courses. Indeed, students often take a year between completing POLS 147 and their first upper level American politics course. We do not have the luxury to catch them up as our time in the upper level courses is also extremely tight. Therefore, we have relied heavily on the introduction to the central institutions and elements of American political behavior provided in POLS 147. While some students may elect immediately after completing POLS 147 to declare majors, three summary observations are available. First, all students that do declare majors in Political Science meet or exceed in all of the different outcomes for both American Experience and Service Learning. Second, analysis of individual performance indicates that many students that demonstrate early intention to major but do not perform consistently to meet expectations will not continue in the discipline. Finally, students (majors and non-majors) that perform above expectations in Service Learning generally remain highly civically engaged after the course in various student organizations. Furthermore, these highly engaged non-majors do return and complete clusters or minors during the remainder of their Morningside career. POLS 160 World Politics POLS 160 World Politics course adapts to the ever changing needs of a small liberal arts college student body, without sacrificing disciplinary content. The course has survived three curricular revisions, as a free standing course in political science, merged with 20 th Century History course under the title Twentieth Century Transformations and back to its current iteration. The 2003 World Politics course meets the newly adopted college wide learning outcomes as well the departmental outcomes. Additionally, the course incorporated geographical bibliographic instruction. 15 Lopez & McKinlay, 9

Authors: Lopez, Lillian. and McKinlay, Patrick.
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while the course is not intended to demonstrate in student work all of these outcomes, the course
design reflects attention to multiple General Education concerns.
It appears that fully 80% of students are meeting or exceeding all course outcomes. The
remaining 20% may only partially demonstrate the appropriate outcomes. The Morningside
model of service learning emphasizes the learning component. More recently, the instructor has
emphasized more projects and opportunities in the community to enhance likelihood of student
civic engagement with underrepresented communities, especially children. More than 50% of
students in the Sioux City Community Schools receive free or reduced lunch. After school
programs, Big Brother, Big Sisters, and Head Start are several of the many organizations through
which students interact with members of the broader Siouxland community. As one can
imagine, these opportunities afford students opportunities to actually hear and experience diverse
minority perspectives on contemporary social and political challenges in the community. This
service learning reinforces the American Experience emphasis on diversity in American society.
Experiential learning here provides context and concrete application for many of the class
resources. The Political Experience Logs intentionally require students to identify specific
linkages between service experiences and readings, arguments, evidence taken from class
materials.
These connections provide a structure through which students can analyze their
particular experiences through the various conceptual lenses and with reference to the political
institutions discussed in the classroom.
The faculty resources of the Morningside Political Science program do not provide for
substantial introductory course work in American political institutions beyond POLS 147.
Majors move directly from this course to upper-division courses. Indeed, students often take a
year between completing POLS 147 and their first upper level American politics course. We do
not have the luxury to catch them up as our time in the upper level courses is also extremely
tight. Therefore, we have relied heavily on the introduction to the central institutions and
elements of American political behavior provided in POLS 147. While some students may elect
immediately after completing POLS 147 to declare majors, three summary observations are
available. First, all students that do declare majors in Political Science meet or exceed in all of
the different outcomes for both American Experience and Service Learning. Second, analysis of
individual performance indicates that many students that demonstrate early intention to major but
do not perform consistently to meet expectations will not continue in the discipline. Finally,
students (majors and non-majors) that perform above expectations in Service Learning generally
remain highly civically engaged after the course in various student organizations. Furthermore,
these highly engaged non-majors do return and complete clusters or minors during the remainder
of their Morningside career.
POLS 160 World Politics
POLS 160 World Politics course adapts to the ever changing needs of a small liberal arts
college student body, without sacrificing disciplinary content. The course has survived three
curricular revisions, as a free standing course in political science, merged with 20
th
Century
History course under the title Twentieth Century Transformations and back to its current
iteration. The 2003 World Politics course meets the newly adopted college wide learning
outcomes as well the departmental outcomes. Additionally, the course incorporated geographical
bibliographic instruction.
15
Lopez & McKinlay, 9


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