There are two presentation format options for the 2020 Teaching and Learning Conference: track panels and workshops. All track papers are presented in a collaborative environment, with materials shared in advance and all participants serving as discussants. Workshops provide participants with hands-on experience in the use of practical instructional methods that they can take with them to their home institutions. All attendees will be asked to select a track when registering and will expected to attend each session in the selected track. Workshop attendance is not determined by track, and these sessions are open to any conference attendee.
- Civic Engagement
This track will consider the foundations of civic engagement education in the classroom. What can political scientists do in the classroom to address issues of civic trust, tolerance, and voting? Topics discussed will include assessing civic learning outcomes, encouraging civic engagement in introductory courses, designing courses to incorporate civic engagement, assessing the long-term impacts of civic engagement education, and comparing methods of civic engagement in the classroom.
Simulations & Games I: Strategy, Game Design, and Constitutions & Treaties
Simulations and games can immerse students in an environment that enables them to experience the decision-making processes of real-world political actors. This Simulations & Games track will examine topics such as creating constitutions and treaties, developing empathy and soft skills, simulations for international relations and American politics, and game design.
- Simulations & Games II: Evidence, Innovation, and Institutions
Simulations and games can immerse students in an environment that enables them to experience the decision-making processes of real-world political actors. This Simulations & Games track will examine topics such as evidence of learning, games to teach political violence, exercises in American institutions, innovative co-curricular experiences, and modeling international politics.
- The Virtual and Technologically Enhanced Classroom
This track will address the challenges and opportunities of both online and technologically-enhanced teaching. Topics will include: innovative online course design and teaching methods, improving student engagement through the use of technology, and incorporating technological and online tools (including podcasts, virtual reality, blogs, synchronous and asynchronous videos, and document sharing) into the classroom. Papers in this track will examine how to maximize the effectiveness of virtual and technological tools for classrooms of all types.
- The Inclusive Classroom
This theme focuses on efforts to increase diversity, equity, access, and awareness in the political science classroom. Topics may include, but are not limited to: high-impact practices that foster students’ understanding of and engagement with people possessing cultural and other identities that are different from their own, the adoption of curricula that are attractive and useful to historically underrepresented groups, and the ways in which content encourages analytical thinking about issues of inclusiveness in governance and politics.
- Teaching Research, Writing, and Information Literacy
Encouraging research, writing, and information literacy skills among our students is a common goal of the political science curriculum. This track will address how political science faculty can effectively teach these skills, increasing knowledge of research design and methods, teaching critical thinking, using data as a teaching tool, and high-impact practices for teaching information literacy.
- General Education & Interdisciplinary Teaching
This track will focus on the role of political science in the general education curriculum and the possibilities for collaborating with other departments to achieve interdisciplinary teaching goals. Participants will also discuss how liberal education promotes free and civil campus discourse and effective ways to teach the liberal arts.
- Community Engagement and Experiential Learning
This track will consider issues related to the extension of civic and community engagement across campus and into the community. It is particularly focused on finding ways to incorporate community engagement and experiential learning into the political science classroom or campus-wide initiatives. Participants will also discuss effective assessment techniques.
- Rethinking the Undergraduate Political Science Major
This track will focus on the issues of structure and curriculum when designing the political science major. The last time the APSA issued recommendations regarding the undergraduate political science major (hereafter, UPSM) was the so-called 1991 “Wahlke Report”. That report promoted a vision of liberal education and the political science major that emphasized the structure and sequencing of courses to better promote the acquisition of critical thinking and other important transferable skills. Although this report was a landmark in the history of the discipline and the APSA, the discipline currently faces many new challenges that did not exist in 1991, including declining enrollments, changes in the demographic composition of incoming students, and demands for the development of “employable skills” at the undergraduate level. However, there are new opportunities as well. The rise in mass political engagement—exemplified by the “Black Lives Matter,” “#MeToo,” and “March for Our Lives” movements—suggests a rising interest in politics. This track focuses on issues related to restructuring the UPSM in the face of these new challenges and opportunities, particularly in terms of curricular structure and course content.