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Combining Civic Engagement and Traditional Research: A Second Option
Unformatted Document Text:  research project on a subject connected with the internship for presentation at a national, regional, or local undergraduate research conference. While each of these activities is available at many universities and colleges, this course provides a potentially unique contribution to the teaching of political science through the type of combination its proposes and, in particular, its availability to students of international relations, an area generally lacking in civic engagement- service learning options. This paper will discuss pedagogical goals, course structure and operation, its applicability to non-Research I colleges and universities, and preliminary survey data on its effectiveness. While the findings of one course at one university can only present a limited picture, I nonetheless seek to begin what I hope is a worthwhile exploration of the contributions of this option to political science education. Course Structure and Pedagogical Goals This particular course is taught in the spring, and students are recruited from a course on Civic Engagement and International Relations taught in the fall. While this version is intended as a follow-up course, it need not be conducted in that sequence in all cases. In the fall class, students begin with class readings and discussions about what civic engagement is and its purpose in a democracy, ending with an essay on the subject. The second part of the class explores the United Nations and involves readings and discussions about the issues currently on the UN General Assembly’s agenda, which again ends with an essay. The third part of the class has two components. First, students are required to work on a civic engagement project, a Model United Nations program that I run for the county public school tenth graders, which includes a 3

Authors: McCartney, Alison.
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research project on a subject connected with the internship for presentation at a national,
regional, or local undergraduate research conference. While each of these activities is available
at many universities and colleges, this course provides a potentially unique contribution to the
teaching of political science through the type of combination its proposes and, in particular, its
availability to students of international relations, an area generally lacking in civic engagement-
service learning options.
This paper will discuss pedagogical goals, course structure and operation, its applicability
to non-Research I colleges and universities, and preliminary survey data on its effectiveness.
While the findings of one course at one university can only present a limited picture, I
nonetheless seek to begin what I hope is a worthwhile exploration of the contributions of this
option to political science education.
Course Structure and Pedagogical Goals
This particular course is taught in the spring, and students are recruited from a course on
Civic Engagement and International Relations taught in the fall. While this version is intended
as a follow-up course, it need not be conducted in that sequence in all cases. In the fall class,
students begin with class readings and discussions about what civic engagement is and its
purpose in a democracy, ending with an essay on the subject. The second part of the class
explores the United Nations and involves readings and discussions about the issues currently on
the UN General Assembly’s agenda, which again ends with an essay. The third part of the class
has two components. First, students are required to work on a civic engagement project, a Model
United Nations program that I run for the county public school tenth graders, which includes a
3


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