Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
This work seeks to explain how institutions of higher education and political science educators within those institutions can develop students into citizens. Understanding the role of each (institution, educator, and student) within American democracy is important and the focus of this research. As the roles of each are demarcated, it becomes clear that higher education institutions and their political science educators have a unique ability to nurture students into citizens with a strong sense of civic purpose and understanding.
The subsequent chapters in this work explore the use of experiential education and other innovative teaching methods to determine if students can be taught to be better citizens. Findings in those chapters suggest that traditional means of measuring engagement (i.e. social capital) may display some change (i.e. political and civic engagement), while other areas remain stagnant (i.e. religious participation, informal social connections, and trust). Also, the inclusion of innovative teaching techniques, like virtual reality, do increase bridging and bonding social capital, as well as empathy. Additionally, student responses to the experiences does yield important results that suggests students do positively evaluate their experiential education experience. This research suggests that political science educators have the ability to impact a student’s development as a citizen, but the educator must be willing to engage the student using methods not typically employed in classroom settings.
Myers, Eric Matthew, "The Idea of a Citizen: The Role of Higher Education Institutions in the Development of Citizens and an Exploration of Innovative Teaching Techniques to Aid in the Process" (2020). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 7763.